Her name was Laura Sephrona. She was my mama. I am the sixth of her seven children. Four girls and three boys. Her grandchildren called her Granny.
She braided her black silken hair and wound it around and around her head. Her eyes were blue-bonnet gray. She was short and plumpish when I knew her. In a photo, on a yellowed postcard with crinkled corners, she was dressed in a white blouse, trimmed with tatted lace and a long, black cotton skirt with a small waistband. She wore high top lace-up leather shoes.
She fell in love with daddy the first time she looked into his blue eyes.
In spring, she tended to corn, okra, and other vegetables in the meadow garden. She stored fresh red, round tomatoes in a lard bucket and hung it on a prong of the cedar post that cornered the back porch. The tomatoes were juicy and good, she said, sprinkled with salt.
Her tanned, wrinkled fingers once picked soft gray-white feathers from ducks squawking in rhythm to each yank of snowy down. The feathers made their way into the pillows that we slept on at night.
Mama milked “Ole Jerse” and placed the fluffy foam on pink tongues of orphaned kittens.

Ole Jerse

Sometimes she doctored me and my siblings with castor oil and she said, “Swallow this. It tastes good with sugar on it.”
I said nothing to disagree with her opinion because the weathered oak bench we were sitting on was beneath Mama’s blooming peach tree.
Mama quilted the quilts for our beds with fingers tender from being stuck by the sharp needles.
She built a fire in the wood stove to cook our meals. She wore an apron made from flour sacks. She wrung the necks of chickens to prepare our Sunday dinners. Sometimes the preacher came for dinner and she always served fried chicken.
She taught her daughters how to become keepers of our homes. By following her example and with the grace of God, the four of us maintained stable homes.
She showed us the milky way and taught us nursery rhymes about starlight.

“Wish I may, wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight.”

She wrote in my diary that “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Beside that, she added the Golden Rule. “Always do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
She taught us the Bible in many ways. By example and by a game she played with us by  asking what our dreams were and then opening up the worn leather cover of our family Bible to find these words “and it came to pass.”

And my dreams did “Come to pass.”

I became a writer, a wife, mother, grandmother and now a great grandmother.

My mama was the very best!  I loved her with all my heart and I cherish her memory!

Daffodils, now, and in Wordsworth’s Day

In honor of National Poetry Month, which is the month of April, I’ve chosen to add the first stanza of Wordsworth’s familiar poem about daffodils.

“Daffodils – a poem by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”














NaBloPoMo#14 The Air Force and Daffodils

An USAF C-54 Skymaster

An USAF C-54 Skymaster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Royal portable typewriter

Royal portable typewriter (Photo credit: alexkerhead)

My first story was written  by hand and then typed on a small, Royal portable typewriter.  I lived in Spain at that time, in an apartment  just outside the gate of Torrejon Air Base. My husband was in the U.S. Air Force and with our children we lived in a three-bedroom, second-floor apartment. My story was based on my experience of living the nomadic military life and my concern about its effect on our children. At that time, we had a son and a daughter; later we had another son and another daughter.

My first title to that story written in Spain, was “A Home for Jimmy.”  It has not been published. Markets for that type of story changed before I had a chance to offer it for publication.  When I entered it in a contest, I titled it “The Air Force and Daffodils.”

Still in my files, this story has a home somewhere — perhaps it will help fill the pages
of a collection of Short Stories by Freeda Baker Nichols.   That’s my aim. 🙂

Red Daylilies

The house is empty now
and no one tends
the flowers, growing still,
along the walk where once
I strolled with Mama.
My hand in hers, she walked
with me and talked about
the blue hydrangeas,
phlox of pink,
daylilies red, and
golden daffodils
dazzling at their peak
of color in the sun.

I  walk along the
silent footpath now,
where only shadows move.
I miss Mama.

cCopyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols