Old Sport Loved Peanuts

The peanuts grew on the bank of a stream that gurgled through the south pasture of our farm at Tame Valley.  My siblings and I had to help pick the peanuts when it was harvest time. I hated pulling the vines from the clinging, dark soil. I didn’t like shaking the dirt from the plants.  So I complained a lot. Didn’t do any good. I still had to help.

I preferred playing with our dogs, Old Sport and little Brownie. But I couldn’t play until all the peanuts were harvested.  Mama told me not to let Sport eat the peanuts.  He liked peanuts. But I knew Mama thought our big family would need them for snacks. So I obeyed.

Later, that winter our family gathered in the living room when snow fell like goose feathers flying through the air.  Mama parched peanuts in a tin pan on the wood stove.  The peanuts tasted so good, warm and salted.  When Mama wasn’t looking, I was tempted to drop some peanuts on the floor for Sport.  But I didn’t.

And I regretted it because Sport died the next spring before planting time. When I got older, I knew that if Mama had known Sport would die, she would have given him her share of the peanuts.  And I would have given him mine also. © Freeda Baker Nichols

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 56 My Arkansas Heritage

In Arkansas the Ozarks Mountains rise
in rugged rows of hills, tree-lined and steep
where redbirds flit beneath crisp autumn skies,
and sugar maples’ roots run dense and deep.

And here, we mountaineers are always free
to pass our heritage to every child.
Black bear and white-tailed deer near post oak tree
are sights that welcome me from forest wild.


Fog fingers hide green valleys on wet days
when Arkansas awaits the sun to shine–
my home–a rustic cabin wrapped in leis
of pink azaleas sparkling like grape wine.

A welcome sound–Abe’s banjo by the stream
on nights when hounds forsake the mountain trails
and sleep stretched out in bravo just to dream
the hot pursuit of foxes with red tails.


I’m glad I married Abe and settled down
to raise our blue-eyed, little family
on banks of this Red River town
where Arkansas forever calls to me!

© Freeda Baker Nicholscardinal on post


BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 55 Grandma’s Gift

White Horse and DonkeyGRANDMA’S GIFT

Baby snuggles beneath the warmth

of a quilt that Grandma made

with pattern from a color book–

animals in a parade.

Some of them bark, some bite, some dance–

their colors are very bright

and baby loves to sing to them

when he goes to bed at night.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Published: Butterfly Quilt Patterns

A shop at Mt. View




Ruger takes a nap, too.

Free Verse


Paisley moon shadows–
a canopy above pine trees
near a marsh
where dogs bay in hunt
for the buck trapped there.
Young dogs not smart enough
to catch the deer, and old ones
not able to rush him. A steed whinnies
and its hooves jar the ground,
alerting the fish in Cade Hollow Creek
which runs catty-corner across Nimrod Park.


The buck flees, the dogs circle,
and the game warden smiles
while on the hill a hunter
holsters his rifle.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

“His Name Was Nobody” by Freeda Baker Nichols

English: American Pit Bull Terrier

English: American Pit Bull Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Henhouse near Ganthorpe

English: Henhouse near Ganthorpe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John had named the pup Nobody. He was half Pit Bull and half Catahoula.  He was out of Three Toes, a Pit Bull and Gracious Lady, the Catahoula that shepherded the Angus cattle on the Big Creek Cattle Farm. He acquired his name because he was so mean that nobody would mess with him.

John needed to find a home for Nobody because he had started chasing the neighbor’s chickens.  Mr. Singleton had said he would shoot the overgrown pup if John did not keep him away from the chicken house.

“How can a neighbor say such a thing to a young boy?” John’s mother wondered.  She rarely ever faced life with any sense of reality.  She lived in a dream world where only love, happiness, and good will existed and she tried hard to steer her two sons, John and Brady, away from conflict and violence.

“Hey, Mom,” John called, that morning as his mother was making pancakes for breakfast.  “I’ve found somebody who wants Nobody!”

“Oh, I’m glad, John.  It really is best to give the dog away.  We can’t have him chasing the neighbor’s chickens.”

“”No! No! I don’t want to give Nobody away,” Brady cried.

“He will have a good home, Brady.” John turned to his little brother.  “He’s going with a rancher who lives down by the river.  He has lots of fields and woods and no chickens.”

“Can we go see him again?” Brady asked.

John looked at his mother.  She took Brady by the hand, and she placed her other hand on John’s shoulder. “You boys are growing up,” she said.  “I’m proud of you and just look at Nobody.  I’m proud of him, too.  He will make a very good watch dog for the rancher.”

“I’m glad we found somebody to like Nobody,” John said.
“I always liked Nobody,” Brady said.  John and Mother smiled.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols