Fireflies and Memories

When lightning bugs turn on their blinking lights
that signal sweaty, little hands to try
to catch them on the muggy, summer nights,
my memories slip in to make me cry.

I squeeze my eyelids tight to stop
the moisture forming there.

The fireflies take me back to childhood, free
as hummingbirds that sipped pink four o’clocks,
and apple blossoms from the twisted tree
that Mama planted deep beside the rocks.

As whippoorwills called to each other
and June bugs buzzed by the lilacs,

my mama, dad, and all the children sat
on edge of porch to watch the daylight fade.
We laughed and played. What fun it was to chat,
with voices joining evening serenade,

and splash our feet with cold water
from an old enamel pan!

My tears are falling freely now in spurts.
That last reflection is the one that hurts.

© Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols

Baker Family (Scan0040)-2

Freeda, Bill, Yvonne, Walter, Sephrona, Dean, Emma Jean, Aaron and Merle



Banner Mountain Girl #11

On Banner Mountain, I stand looking at the house, now empty, with brush around it, deserted, falling down. I see the well still covered. I listen for sounds of laughter. Echoing from the past, the sounds ring in my heart. In a flash of memory, someone’s drawing water from the well—and as I look at the house, I wish I could be a child again and put my bare feet into a creek. I wish that I could feel the sun upon my back as I walk barefoot down a dusty road. That I could touch velvety moss in the woods and hear dry leaves crackling.

And draw water from the well.

I wish that I could hear the whippoorwills across the hollow on a warm night. And that I could sit on the front porch again with Mama, Daddy, my sister Yvonne and my brother Bill. Just sit there, not talking much. Then wander into the yard, trying to stay cool. Wash my feet in a pan of cold water and go into the house and go to bed. And see again the morning sun on the tall, thick yard grass, and look at hollyhocks that Mama planted beside the fence.

Draw water from the well.

Watch Mama milk Old Jerse, and later help Mama churn butter in an old-fashioned churn with a dash. Watch Daddy plow the fields. I wish I could once again trade a warm egg to the peddler for bubble gum. Meet Piggy, the mailman, at the mailbox to see what delightful cards, catalogs and letters he would bring. Read again the letters from my best friend, Inez, that Piggy delivered the same day by hand-canceling the three-cent stamp. See Mama sitting in the shade of the peach tree, shelling beans, then stopping to read a letter from my brother when he was overseas during the war.

I remember growing up, and, with Inez, Doris, and Lois Jean, watching for the boys to go by. I remember pie suppers and boys collecting money to buy the cake for the prettiest girl. I recall dinners on the ground, the taste of coconut pies. People visiting. Children playing and laughing. Time unhurried. I cannot be a child again, but I’m thankful for Banner Mountain – whippoorwills, picking cotton and drawing water from the well.

~© Freeda Baker Nichols


Only Memories Remain – Terza Rima Day 11 NaPoWriMo

Only Memories Remain Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols

Only Memories Remain
Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols

Two windows, two front doors at this old frame
house where once a family lived long ago.
I listen; it seems I hear children’s names
called by their mother dressed in calico.
Today, the pear tree’s blooms are softest white
and ripple when the springtime breezes blow.
The old house comes alive again at night
in dreams of olden days that hastened by.
The time went quickly like swift birds in flight.
An old crow sits there now on limb up high
in yard where trees still stand so proud and tall.
I brush aside a tear, I will not cry.
Instead, I’ll help my memory recall
the sound of Mama’s voice when she would call.

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Holding Memories

Beside the sea she knelt on dampened sand
at water’s edge where jumbled seaweeds sway
close by the spot she last held Cindy’s hand
before tsunami took control that day.
The heap of tangled heartache has no end.
Please let it stop, she prayed, then saw the sky
was red as flames–a warning to extend
to sailors. Please keep him safe. He must not die!
Oh, calm the waters on the raging sea.
Protect his boat as waves rise high and fall.
Give him God Speed and bring him back to me.
Her voice grew dim in roar of summer squall.
Request denied, she wandered on the beach,
her loved ones close in heart–but out of reach.

Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols