September 1980 —The September breeze touches the hickory leaves gently. Buzzing insects twitter across the dry, dusty lawn. Although the rain from last evening helped the grass to turn green again, more rain is desperately needed across the state.—Freeda Baker Nichols
The Kitchen is my Favorite Room
Some writers say their favorite room is their writing room. I write in my office but it’s not my favorite room. I go there to write or to be alone. I can be sure I won’t be disturbed because I’ve had only one visitor in the several years I’ve been writing. One day, time slipped by as I worked on an article and my husband came in to ask what time dinner would be served. I no longer spend a lot of time in my kitchen — and my husband might not believe this — but my kitchen is my favorite room.
African Violets bloom from my kitchen window which faces east, and that pleases me because they are supposed to thrive only in light from the north, and I don’t have a north window for violets. My kitchen window not only provides a shelf for potted plants, it also allows me to see the driveway which brings friends to my door.
Friends and family are important to me — like good books — and in my kitchen I like preparing foods and beverages for people. Their compliments are more rewarding than I deserve but it’s part of the reason why I like my kitchen. I don’t like to clean my kitchen floor, but I like a spotless floor and when the floor is sparkling, I like my kitchen even better.
In the near future, I plan to remodel my kitchen. In its present state, it’s far from a picture model in Better Homes and Gardens. My husband is either lucky or unlucky that I have a sense of humor, because without it I would not have survived the many years of preparing meals from this kitchen. Without my sense of humor, my husband and I might have parted with this kitchen, or I might have parted with my husband, one of the two.
I realized I had a sense of humor when my son got married. Following tradition, I invited my son’s fiancé and her parents for dinner. Her mother stood in my kitchen talking about the wedding shower which was given in her hometown for the newlyweds-to-be.
“They received everything. Just everything,” she said, “except fine china.”
Oh, I thought, fine china. They must have fine china. As I opened my cabinet to get a pan, every piece of Tupperware I own came crashing out and spilled onto the floor. That’s when I laughed. Laughter costs a lot less than tears and I’m an economical person.
Today I changed two light bulbs in my kitchen. My husband would have changed them but it’s so easy to ask him to do that, I decided that changing the bulbs was more of a challenge than asking him, so I changed them. I hope this doesn’t prove I can get along without my husband, because I can’t. I need him, not only to compliment my cooking but also to proofread my novel.
It’s a romance and an exciting adventure for me. I hope it’s a best seller, but if not, I’ll try another category. From my favorite room, I’ll share a secret or two. Good cookbooks are always in demand.
~© Freeda Baker Nichols
I live in the ocean
in a far away land.
One day I was swept
onto the dry sand.
A sweet girl picked me up
by one of my arms
and I was impressed
by her human charms.
Somehow, she knew
that I longed to be free.
She gently carried me back
home to the sea.
~~© Freeda Baker Nichols
From my journal . . . dated 1980 . . . random thoughts
Days that come as bright as the golden sun filtering from a blue sky. Sun that filters from a blue sky. Sparkles of sun that sifts down in lines that eaglets follow. Birds opening their beaks, reaching for food. Worms. Food for birds. Birds singing. Happy birds. Birds have problems, too. Keep the cat away. Keep the people away from the nest of eggs or baby birds. Many kinds of birds. They sing with different melodies. They are beautiful. They are of many colors. Yellow, black, orange, red, blue, purple.
A million blackbirds flew over the house. They made a huge shadow when they were in the sunlight. They alighted on the bare limbs of the gigantic oak tree. They looked like big leaves on the tree. They all flew to the ground. They looked like a big black carpet.
© Freeda Baker Nichols
a sky of blue
clouds fluffy and white–
a day in July
© Freeda Baker Nichols
I wandered far from Banner Mountain . . . far from the place where I was born.
. . . But never have I forgotten where I am from.
My folks were one of the families of the Banner Mountain community whose houses nestled along a road that still is hard dirt, clay and rocks. Our address once was Route 2 and we had a mailbox number, which does not immediately come to my mind.
A few years ago, when 911 maps were introduced, the road by my homeplace was named Silver Rock.
My grandparents lived along this road in a house with a breezeway. After my grandpa died, my folks with five children moved into the house with Grandma and my aunt. My grandma’s house with a breezeway is the place of my birth.
The breezeway was converted into more rooms and though no one lives in the house today, it still exists as the homestead of my grandparents.
While my parents were living with Grandma, my dad built our homeplace nearby. When I was about one year old, the family moved into our new frame house. So the house Daddy built became home to me and I never left until I married at age nineteen.
With my husband I moved far, far away from Banner Mountain . . . I followed my husband in his travels with the Air Force . . . but never have I forgotten where I am from.
© Freeda Baker Nichols
a painting of my homeplace by my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall. © copyright, Yvonne Hall.
Our schoolhouse at Banner Mountain was a white building with two rooms. In one room a teacher taught first grade through fourth grade. In the other room, another teacher taught fifth through the eighth grade.
Four of my older siblings are shown in this picture which was taken before I started to school. This photo is the only one I have of the Banner School.
(Banner School, about 1937. Mrs. Ola Griggs
the teacher, seated at end of second row.
In front row is my brother, Billy, 4th from
left. Another brother, Aaron is seated in 3rd row
behind the teacher and to her right. My sister,
Merle, is in the 4th row, the 4th person from the right.
My brother, Dean, is the dark haired boy in the
back row, 5th from the right.)
My siblings and I walked about a quarter mile to school. We walked along a trail through the woods, carrying our lard-pail lunch buckets. What am I saying? There was no such word as lunch back then. Not in my vocabulary. The lard buckets with handy little bails were dinner buckets. At night, our mealtime was called supper.
The bucket at left is the container my mother used to pick blackberries. I still have this bucket along with the 8-pound lard tin that was also my mother’s. Our lunch pails were only half that size. My lunch always tasted good, especially the fried chocolate pies.~~Freeda Baker Nichols