GOING HOME

GOING HOME

My plane is airborne, headed south.

Memories march in and out of my mind–

like dogface soldiers.

I’d said goodbye to Mama, then Daddy,

who bent to hug my three year old son

not very long ago.

Emotion struck Daddy like blows.

He straightened, then turned too late

to hide moist eyes.  His blue eyes had

laughed when I was my son’s age.

Youth disappears like the dandelion fuzz

on the face of the wind.

Adams Field is windy . . . but the

planes’ wheels touch the runway

in a smooth landing.

“No, son, Papa’s not here . . .

to meet us.”

Uncle Jim’s brown pickup needs washing.

“Your mama’s taking it bad, ” he tells me.

“Is the wake at the house?” I ask.

He nods. “Like your daddy wanted.”

At the doorway, someone takes my

little boy by the hand.

“The casket’s gray. I never saw Daddy

in a coat and tie before. He’s so cold-looking.

Mama? Mama!”

Her warm arms engulf me.

© 2017 Freeda Baker Nichols

Daddy

A Summer Night

Whip–poor–will!  Whip–poor–will! A voice declares. It reaches across time and my remembering stops with the sound as it peacefully echoes back from a silent night of long ago. The summers of my childhood come alive with color as a cup of fiery memories overflows.

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

After supper, our family sat on the front porch of our home on Banner Mountain in the Ozark Foothills until time to go to bed.

cropped-cropped-cropped-homeplace.jpg

Dusk appeared just as the whippoorwills began to sing.  Fireflies flitted about the yard and some of them had the misfortune of getting stuck inside a jar, held by small, sweaty hands.  Jarflies were so noisy that adult voices had to stop sometimes, but the children’s laughter continued and mingled with the noise of the approaching nighttime.

Daddy never said how tired he was or how hard he had worked or how aggravated he had been.  It seemed as though he loved everybody he had ever met, and felt no ill will toward anyone.

And Mama was always unruffled, unhurried, and able to relax as she went about her household duties. The apron she wore has no replicas.

The modern day housewife seldom wears an apron. But her children need to feel the security that I felt on those summer evenings when my family gathered to wait for bedtime –when the dogs lay lazily in a corner of the yard, and chickens were on the roost, the door to the henhouse closed and locked.  Once again the chickens had escaped the whistling hawk that sailed the clear skies overhead. Tomorrow would be another day.  Whip–poor–will!

DSC_0510OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

© Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols, all rights reserved.

 

 

Daddy’s Felt Hat

Walter Baker

Walter Baker

The hat of felt my daddy wore was bent
around the edges of its sweat-soaked brim;
my daddy wore it everywhere he went.
I keep it now in memory of him.
Inside a box it sits on closet shelf.
I often think I should discard it now,
and yet I simply cannot bring myself
to throw away the hat he wore to plow.
My daddy’s strength, his heart, his steel-blue eyes
made straight my path and edged my walk with pride
and gave me hope beneath bright sun-filled skies,
gray-dimmed and damp the day my daddy died.
The hat of rich worn felt looks out-of-place
away from daddy’s deep-lined, humble face.

Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

NaBloPoMo# 26 Grand-Daddy Graybeard

Flowering Ash (Fraxinus ornus) - Habit: Prunel...

GRAND-DADDY GRAYBEARD

The grand-daddy gray beard’s blooms,

snow-white against a green-leafed pad,

each year made lacy white bouquets

and caused me to remember Dad.

How he had found the small ash tree

and Mama spoke as to kid,

“You can’t transplant when in full bloom,”

but that’s just what my daddy did.

And then the bush thrived years to bloom

each spring when all things new

burst forth as red, red robins sang

when skies shone rain-washed blue.

The gray-beard weathered winter ice

the day my daddy died,

then bloomed with cold and tender buds                                                                                                                                                                               DSC_0561 -1

because my mama cried.

Then in the spring she, too, took sick

and soon she went away

and as they closed the casket lid,

it seemed I heard her say.

“You can’t transplant when in full bloom.”

But that is what was done

and now the flowers in God’s Bouquet

out-number the rays of the sun.

  Photo credit: Wikipedia (Zemanta)

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo

   Photo credit: Flowering ash tree Wikipedia (Zemanta)

A Special Brand of Love by Freeda Baker Nichols

Brown Ducks

Brown Ducks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ole Jerse

Ole Jerse

With each yank the duck squawked
but Mama kept pulling out feathers.
She needed the down to replace old,
flat pillows in faded striped ticking
Seven children slept on the pillows.
Brothers pillow-fought as peals of
laughter raised the roof of the
weathered house–a home that lasted
and bonded us with the best glue.
Love brand.  They don’t make glue like
that anymore.  At least, they don’t carry
it at Wal-Mart.  But they carry pillows.
And milk.  Cold, from the refrigerated
bin.  Milk we drank started out warm,
hand-squeezed from the Jersey cow
into a tin lard pail, then poured into a
glass molasses jug with a metal bail.
We tied a cord to the bail and put the
jug of milk into a well of cool water.
At supper, the milk tasted good with
cornbread and chopped onion soaked
in it, Daddy’s favorite treat, served
with sugar-cured, smokehouse ham.
After our meal, we took a ride in our
new but used Model T.  Watched dust
clouds behind us on Silver Rock, the
911 name of a road that had no name,
back then.  And no traffic jams–like
Wal-Mart’s parking lot on Saturdays.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

My Daddy — Keeper of the Reins ———— Day 29 napowrimo

The brim on the gray felt hat
that shaded his face
in hot summertime
was soaked with perspiration
but no sun could erase or
lessen the deep blue
of his eyes because
my daddy’s heart controlled them.

© Copyright,2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

A SUMMER NIGHT ON BANNER MOUNTAIN

Whip-poor-will!  Whip-poor-will!  A voice declares.  It reaches  across time and my remembering stops with the sound as it peacefully echoes back from a silent night of long ago.  The summers of my childhood come alive with color as a cup of fiery memories overflows.
After supper, our family sat on the front porch of our home on Banner Mountain  until time to go to bed.  Dusk appeared just as  whippoorwills began to sing.  Fireflies flitted about the yard and some of them had the misfortune of getting stuck inside a jar, held by small, sweaty hands.  Jarflies were so noisy that adult voices had to stop sometimes, but the children’s laughter continued and mingled with the noise of the approaching night-time.
Daddy never said how tired he was or how hard he had worked or how aggravated he had been.  It seemed as though he loved everybody he had ever met, and he felt no ill will toward anyone.
And Mama was always unruffled, unhurried and able to relax as she went about her household duties.  The apron she wore has no replicas.
The modern-day housewife seldom wears an apron.  But her children need to feel the security that I felt on those summer evenings when my family gathered to wait for bedtime–when the dogs lay lazily in a corner of the yard, and chickens were on the roost, the door to the hen-house closed and locked. Once again the chickens had escaped the whistling hawk that sailed the clear skies overhead.  Tomorrow would be another day.  Whip-poor-will!

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols