GOING HOME

GOING HOME

My plane is airborne, headed south.

Memories march in and out of my mind–

like dogface soldiers.

I’d said goodbye to Mama, then Daddy,

who bent to hug my three year old son

not very long ago.

Emotion struck Daddy like blows.

He straightened, then turned too late

to hide moist eyes.  His blue eyes had

laughed when I was my son’s age.

Youth disappears like the dandelion fuzz

on the face of the wind.

Adams Field is windy . . . but the

planes’ wheels touch the runway

in a smooth landing.

“No, son, Papa’s not here . . .

to meet us.”

Uncle Jim’s brown pickup needs washing.

“Your mama’s taking it bad, ” he tells me.

“Is the wake at the house?” I ask.

He nods. “Like your daddy wanted.”

At the doorway, someone takes my

little boy by the hand.

“The casket’s gray. I never saw Daddy

in a coat and tie before. He’s so cold-looking.

Mama? Mama!”

Her warm arms engulf me.

© 2017 Freeda Baker Nichols

Daddy

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 18-a visit to the Emerson Inn by the Sea

As a child, growing up on Banner Mountain, I began writing poetry and continued writing it in high school. I loved reading poetry and hearing my teachers discuss poets and their work. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a poet. And I certainly never thought that one day I would spend a night at the same Inn by the Sea where Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) had visited, where he had been inspired to write some of his masterpieces.

ralphwaldoemerson1

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This lovely bed and breakfast–the Emerson Inn by the Sea–is where Ralph Waldo Emerson sometimes vacationed.  The Inn has been renovated and the renovation left a portion of the original rooms where Emerson had stayed with his family. It was renamed Ralph Waldo Emerson after their most celebrated guest. Much of his inspiration, it is said, came from visiting this rocky coastline of Rockport, Massachusetts.

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Rockport -- A Place Beside the Sea

Rockport — A Place Beside the Sea

I visited this romantic place and stayed at this unique Emerson Inn by the Sea with my husband and part of our family a few years ago when we returned to New England to show our children where we had lived. My husband was stationed at Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for three years. We lived in Kittery, Maine when our third child was born. What a treasure to revisit New England, see old friends, begin a new poem, and to set foot on the rocky coast where Emerson once found inspiration to write!

© Freeda Baker Nichols

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 10

Banner MountainBanner Mountain Girl # 10

Sometimes when snow fell at Banner Mountain, my mother would look out at the big, white snowflakes peppering down and she would tell us kids, “The old goose is losing her feathers.”
            That expression coming from Mama was a pleasant thought but of course we kids were old enough to know it was a game Mama played – a game of make-believe. Why not just say, “Oh look! It’s snowing!”

            Too dull-sounding.

             A sky full of feathers falling off a goose nudged my imagination and gave me a reason to dream. That image was far more motivational than “Look at the big snowflakes.”
            Perhaps Mama’s way of entertaining us was the beginning of my desire to become a writer. Mama herself was inspirational to me. She always said I was happy with a pencil in my hand and a tablet to write on.
            My love for my mama and her love for me is the reason my first poem was written to her and about her.  I wrote it at school in cursive on a page in my Big Chief tablet when I was nine years old. And then I shared it with Mama.
            While I was not certain my little rhyming poem was as clear to Mama as it was to me, I’m thankful she was the first person, besides my teacher, to read my very first creative writing. At that time, there was no fridge in our house on which to pin up the poem, like parents can do today.
          But Mama kept it for me, and I still have it somewhere in my files.

© 2017 Freeda Baker Nichols

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL-Part Four

Banner Mountain Girl—Part Four
The Egg and I
I have a special memory of walking barefoot in the dust on Banner Mountain–a remembrance of carefree childhood days. No time was more exciting than when the peddler came. Sometimes, the egg in my hand was still warm when I took it from the hen’s nest and ran and skipped down the road to where the peddler was. I traded the egg to him for bubble gum. Sweet. Juicy. Bubble gum.
The peddler was a man by the name of Sampson Hooten. I have been told that he had a yellow mare with a white star in her forehead. Many years later, his son told me this. I don’t claim ever knowing the peddler’s name and I don’t recall what he looked like. The only thing I remember about that experience is the warm egg and the taste of bubble gum. From that memory, I wrote this poem after I became a full-fledged poet. (Note: The peddler’s name in the poem is changed to match the rhyme)
Eggs for Bubble Gum
I traded eggs still warm for bubble gum
and always gave my baby sister some.
We blew big bubbles, like balloons of pink,
until they burst and stuck upon our cheeks.
We both blew bubbles quickly as a blink.
I liked the gum I got from Peddler Weeks
and always gave my baby sister some.
I traded eggs still warm for bubble gum.

This is a Lil-Ann Form. It’s published in “Poems by Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas.”
. . . . .
From my journal, dated 28 November 1977 – The rain falls friendly but cold upon the roof in this November nighttime. Steadily, gently, it falls to an unwelcoming earth, already saturated with moisture. Oak trees with brown leaves stand unmoving, unreal, symbols of fall, an announcement of winter.
© 2016 Freeda Baker Nichols