Early spring mornings are memory makers. From the first chill of cool, fresh air as I step down the lane to the mailbox, I am excited and looking forward to opening the box. And no, there’s not anything of interest in there. A couple of bills and a magazine. No checks or letters from editors, today. No cards or letters from friends.
Actually, texting, messaging, phone and Facebook are the means of communication nowadays. My memory is beginning to fade about how wonderful it was to open an envelope, unfold a letter to find the ink-written or pencil-written words from a dear friend. I hope I never forget the immeasurable joy of having had that experience.
Communication still happens, perhaps stronger than ever, judging by the many cell phones turned on in public places at any given time. Mine included.
–Freeda Baker Nichols
Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! A voice declares. It reaches across time and my remembering stops with the sound as it peacefully echoes back from a silent night of long ago. The summers of my childhood come alive with color as a cup of fiery memories overflows.
After supper, our family sat on the front porch of our home on Banner Mountain until time to go to bed. Dusk appeared just as whippoorwills began to sing. Fireflies flitted about the yard and some of them had the misfortune of getting stuck inside a jar, held by small, sweaty hands. Jarflies were so noisy that adult voices had to stop sometimes, but the children’s laughter continued and mingled with the noise of the approaching night-time.
Daddy never said how tired he was or how hard he had worked or how aggravated he had been. It seemed as though he loved everybody he had ever met, and he felt no ill will toward anyone.
And Mama was always unruffled, unhurried and able to relax as she went about her household duties. The apron she wore has no replicas.
The modern-day housewife seldom wears an apron. But her children need to feel the security that I felt on those summer evenings when my family gathered to wait for bedtime–when the dogs lay lazily in a corner of the yard, and chickens were on the roost, the door to the hen-house closed and locked. Once again the chickens had escaped the whistling hawk that sailed the clear skies overhead. Tomorrow would be another day. Whip-poor-will!
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.