His Favorite Daughter

Pocket watch, savonette-type. Italiano: Orolog...

Three Girls Colorized Circa 1915

Three Girls Colorized Circa 1915 (Photo credit: linkerjpatrick)

There once was a huntsman, John Dee– his name
who lived in the great Ozark hills
and he had three daughters, sweet daughters–all three.
He told each one she was his favorite–
his favorite was she.
Each girl admired her kind-hearted father
and smiled to herself thinking she
was his favorite daughter–
most favored of the beautiful three.
Now Sadie, the eldest, was certain that she
would inherit the watch that he wore
but Carly could tell by the glint in his eye
it was she he would leave it for
and Julie just knew she would get it–for sure–
the pocket watch trimmed in gold.
When each little girl had begun toddling around,
John held the watch close to her ear.
The little girls loved its tick and its tock–
the pocket watch trimmed in gold.
They lived on the hillside by rocks and rills
in the awesome and beautiful Ozark hills.

© 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

Joseph Comes Home

The news spread like discovering diamonds–
Tab and Sue’s boy was coming home!
He stayed in the South Pacific when the war
ended — that great war — the war that took the
Ellington’s other sons before the bomb dropped.
Their boys grew up on the farm, all five of them,
and they were tough as timber rattlers.  Uncle Sam
was proud to get them when all but the youngest
joined up.  Not quite eighteen, Joseph worked
on the farm. Ed, the oldest, died saving his squad
leader. James died at Normandy. Later, the
black-edged letters told the fate of Al and Silas.
Joe joined the Navy. His folks gave up the farm and
moved into town. When the war ended, they longed
to see their one remaining son. He didn’t return.

The gray in Sue’s hair made her old. Yes, it was
the gray that made her old — it was not her grieving
for her sons because . . . they still played at her feet.  Tab
spent most of his time outside, feeding the birds.  His
shoulders stooped. He heard the good news. His son
was coming home. Why should that matter now?  Then
Tab saw him on the walk, a woman with slanted eyes
beside him, a baby in her arms. Four small boys behind
them. Joseph bear-hugged his father and asked, “Where’s
Mom?” Sue came running, and Joseph took her hand,
“Mom, meet my wife and your grandsons. This one’s Ed
and here’s James, Al and Silas. That’s Joseph.” Sue’s eyes
shone. She touched the hands that held the baby, and
smiling, said, “Welcome home.”

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Daddy’s Felt Hat

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. 

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

This Shakespearean sonnet is one of my favorites.