Her name was Laura Sephrona. She was my mama. I am the sixth of her seven children. Four girls and three boys. Her grandchildren called her Granny.
She braided her black silken hair and wound it around and around her head. Her eyes were blue-bonnet gray. She was short and plumpish when I knew her. In a photo, on a yellowed postcard with crinkled corners, she was dressed in a white blouse, trimmed with tatted lace and a long, black cotton skirt with a small waistband. She wore high top lace-up leather shoes.
She fell in love with daddy the first time she looked into his blue eyes.
In spring, she tended to corn, okra, and other vegetables in the meadow garden. She stored fresh red, round tomatoes in a lard bucket and hung it on a prong of the cedar post that cornered the back porch. The tomatoes were juicy and good, she said, sprinkled with salt.
Her tanned, wrinkled fingers once picked soft gray-white feathers from ducks squawking in rhythm to each yank of snowy down. The feathers made their way into the pillows that we slept on at night.
Mama milked “Ole Jerse” and placed the fluffy foam on pink tongues of orphaned kittens.

Ole Jerse

Sometimes she doctored me and my siblings with castor oil and she said, “Swallow this. It tastes good with sugar on it.”
I said nothing to disagree with her opinion because the weathered oak bench we were sitting on was beneath Mama’s blooming peach tree.
Mama quilted the quilts for our beds with fingers tender from being stuck by the sharp needles.
She built a fire in the wood stove to cook our meals. She wore an apron made from flour sacks. She wrung the necks of chickens to prepare our Sunday dinners. Sometimes the preacher came for dinner and she always served fried chicken.
She taught her daughters how to become keepers of our homes. By following her example and with the grace of God, the four of us maintained stable homes.
She showed us the milky way and taught us nursery rhymes about starlight.

“Wish I may, wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight.”

She wrote in my diary that “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Beside that, she added the Golden Rule. “Always do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
She taught us the Bible in many ways. By example and by a game she played with us by  asking what our dreams were and then opening up the worn leather cover of our family Bible to find these words “and it came to pass.”

And my dreams did “Come to pass.”

I became a writer, a wife, mother, grandmother and now a great grandmother.

My mama was the very best!  I loved her with all my heart and I cherish her memory!

NaBloPoMo# 21To Keep Love Blooming

English: Cemetery gate, Tarbat Old Church

Gateway to the garden

To Keep Love Blooming

Beside the gate, the yellow roses bloom.
She planted them when she became a bride.
He gave the bush to her when they were young.
He loosened up the soil with rake and hoe.
Despite the snow and ice and floods, the rose
bush grew and blossomed every year in bright,
silk buds. The petals disregarded sun,
and children’s hands that picked them for bouquets.
His hands last picked them for St. Valentine’s.
When tears like crystal glistened on green leaves,
she took a root to plant next to a mound.
Now, roses bloom inside another gate.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Photo credit: Photos provided by Zemanta through WordPress

Grand Champion Prize -Day 19- NaPoWriMo

wedding ring quilt

wedding ring quilt (Photo credit: pinprick)

English: Wedding rings Português: Anéis de Noi...

I quilted a quilt for the fair
made every stitch by hand
but I didn’t win a blue ribbon
as I had so carefully planned.

They placed a white ribbon on it
and called it a third place prize.
The pattern was a wedding ring
of many colors in king size.

“Beautiful,” my granddaughter said.
“I’ll save it for my wedding day.”
She pinned a blue ribbon upon it
and carefully packed it away.

Last week at her garden wedding,
a hot sun caused roses to wilt.
But hanging there by the roses
was my king size, blue-ribbon quilt!

Copyright 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols