As I remember Banner Mountain in the springtime, I think of how the apple blossoms and plum blossoms greeted me as I returned from school. I might not have noticed the fresh blooms in the orchard as I left the house to walk up the trail to the Banner School. But always on my return, the orchard welcomed me back home from a day of “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic” and playing with my friends.
Yvonne & Freeda Baker
Yvonne and I at the homeplace, standing between the daffodils and the lilac bush. With two years difference in our ages, we were inseparable. Mama said that when I started to school that Yvonne was very lonely. She’d go outside and call for our dog, named Rusty. “Here, Rust! Here, Rust!” In a couple of years, though, Yvonne joined me on the walk to school. As time went by, Rust met his fate although I don’t recall when or how he died. Another dog named Fuzzy came into our lives, and he was allowed to go with us to school. He waited around for us until school was out and he hurried along as we headed back home. At the close of school for the summer when certificates were given to those completing the eighth grade, Fuzzy received a certificate, too. I don’t know how much Fuzzy learned but he was well-behaved and friendly to all.
The lilacs, the daffodils, and the orchard’s pink and white blooms were such a pleasant sight–the memory of which I still cherish from long-ago spring-times on Banner Mountain. ~~Freeda Baker Nichols
With each yank the duck squawked
but Mama kept pulling out feathers.
She needed the down to replace old,
flat pillows in faded striped ticking
Seven children slept on the pillows.
Brothers pillow-fought as peals of
laughter raised the roof of the
weathered house–a home that lasted
and bonded us with the best glue.
Love brand. They don’t make glue like
that anymore. At least, they don’t carry
it at Wal-Mart. But they carry pillows.
And milk. Cold, from the refrigerated
bin. Milk we drank started out warm,
hand-squeezed from the Jersey cow
into a tin lard pail, then poured into a
glass molasses jug with a metal bail.
We tied a cord to the bail and put the
jug of milk into a well of cool water.
At supper, the milk tasted good with
cornbread and chopped onion soaked
in it, Daddy’s favorite treat, served
with sugar-cured, smokehouse ham.
After our meal, we took a ride in our
new but used Model T. Watched dust
clouds behind us on Silver Rock, the
911 name of a road that had no name,
back then. And no traffic jams–like
Wal-Mart’s parking lot on Saturdays.