OLD SPORT LOVED PEANUTS

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
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Two Kittens

Here’s one of my favorite stories, reblogged from my blog!

Freeda Baker Nichols

My kitten named Polly was silky black with white trim about her face. She looked like a tiny panther, which had been sprinkled with honey and then turned loose in a cotton patch. The white patches resembled bits of cotton stuck to the honey on the black, silky fur. Honey was an appropriate way to describe Polly because, as a child, I loved my kitten very much.

Another kitten, called Peter, was my sister’s pet. I suppose that sometime in the first readers, Yvonne and I must have read stories of Peter and Polly, a little boy and girl, because I know that as a child I was not creative enough to think of original names.

As an adult, I found that naming my children was a difficult task. When I gave birth to four babies, I was flabbergasted–not about the four babies–about how to choose suitable names. The babies…

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“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

Cat and Rooster

Cat and Rooster

Cat and Rooster

The Old Black Rooster

The Old Black Rooster

This old black rooster roosts up in a tree.
He struts around the barnyard so carefree.
This kitty cat is always very nice.
She has a kitten that she shields from harm.
The cat is really good at catching mice.
The rooster crows each day out on the farm.
He struts around the barnyard so carefree.
This old black rooster roosts up in a tree.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Respect the Old One

The old cat returned
to the porch once more to sleep
as he used to when snows came
before kittens’ birth.
The young cats have grown and gone–
now there is room for Old One.

Twister, The Old One

The Old One

kittens in Sept 2012 005

Three Kittens

Cats 012

Young cats have grown and gone.

 
 
 
c Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols
 
(The poem is a Sedoka, six lines, syllable counts of 5-7-7-5-7-7)

Two Kittens

Kitten

My kitten named Polly was silky black with white trim about her face. She looked like a tiny panther, which had been sprinkled with honey and then turned loose in a cotton patch. The white patches resembled bits of cotton stuck to the honey on the black, silky fur. Honey was an appropriate way to describe Polly because, as a child, I loved my kitten very much.

Another kitten, called Peter, was my sister’s pet. I suppose that sometime in the first readers, Yvonne and I must have read stories of Peter and Polly, a little boy and girl, because I know that as a child I was not creative enough to think of original names.

As an adult, I found that naming my children was a difficult task. When I gave birth to four babies, I was flabbergasted–not about the four babies–about how to choose suitable names. The babies did not come to me during one delivery time; they were delivered at four different times, spaced quite appropriately, I thought. They were spaced from two years and eight months to five years between them, so that the range of time I had children in the house was a total of thirty years. That makes me sound very old, but I don’t feel old. I must be getting old though because now I’m remembering my childhood and Polly.

Polly was a kitten which I loved with all the love and warmth that a little girl can give to a family pet. My sister and I treated Peter and Polly like real children, feeding them milk, trying to put them on a schedule, making them take a nap. Polly often would nap, but Peter never did. And he was spanked many times for misbehaviour. But spanking Peter made him worse instead of better.

My sister and I tried to feed the kittens three meals a day from one glass of milk. Our “day” might be only half an hour, and often Polly would take her nap and eat again when the milk was offered to her in a short while, which we called lunch time. But Peter thought he should drink the whole glass of milk in one great gulp for breakfast.

I can’t recall what happened to the kittens. I do not think, though, that it’s because I’m older or that my memory has faded. I think the kittens just went away, the way children see things like that go away.

My sister and I are stronger because we held close to our hearts, literally, two little kittens who might have been just as happy without us,
but without them, we would not have grown to love and create as deeply as we do. My sister is now an artist and this story makes me a writer–I think.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols