THAT BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL’S DESTINY

Tonight, it seems that I should write and yet I find I’ve nothing much to say. But I will begin with this paragraph in hopes tomorrow the words will flow, or perhaps the day after tomorrow . . .

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And so, this is tomorrow . . . “Call of the Cadron” is my first novel, published in 2012. The picture at right shows my well-worn, underlined copy of “The Basic Patterns of Plot” by Foster Harris.  It’s the book I studied through the University of Oklahoma’s Journalism Correspondence Course, some years ago. It was my guideline for plotting my first novel, and it’s still my guide as I pursue my writing goals.

Successful writing is many things–winning a poetry or writing contest, being published by magazines or newspapers, self-publishing, having your work accepted by a publisher or sharing your masterpieces on social media. And when a reader compliments your stories by saying, “When are you writing something else for the paper?” and then she continues to say that she clips your stories and saves them, that’s when you know beyond a doubt that writing is your destiny–and that’s all that matters.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Banner Mountain Girl # 67 from my journal . . .

from my journal . . .

Dark clouds were forming in the west but Kimberly still sat quietly in the sand. As the waves rushed toward the shore, touched it, spraying a fine mist over her, she dug her toes into the warm grains of sand, recalling Whitman’s words the night they met.

“Look, Kimberly. Over there, above the shimmering sea.”

She followed the direction that he pointed and she saw the harvest moon, silver and bright, and she thrilled to the rich tone of Whitman’s voice as he said, “I’ll give you that moon.”

She wanted to laugh with him, but she couldn’t. Something prevented her from feeling the joy that was so much a part of Whitman. He was a penniless poet and yet he seemed to be happier than she and Tony.

She was engaged to Tony. He offered her love, security, and wealth.

“I’m sorry, Whitman,” she had replied that night. “I can’t accept the moon. I’m engaged to Tony.”

“Ah, yes,” Whitman said.

She had laughed and he had laughed and the joy she felt was much greater than any feeling she had shared with Tony.

She ended her engagement with Tony and after time went by, he met and married Sarah.

Kimberly saw Whitman almost every day and she expected him to propose to her but there was no mention of marriage although he claimed to love her dearly.

So dearly that he gave her the stars along with the moon and that made her happy in a way that Tony never had.

Time passed and Tony and Sarah had a child, a little girl and people said that Tony adored the baby and that they were a happy family.

Whitman wrote poetry and he continued to be penniless but his poetry spoke of love and laughter, the moon, the stars and the sea.

Kimberly waited and she cried when Whitman wasn’t with her.

One day he said, “It’s over.” And he kissed her gently and said goodbye. He left and her heart felt like crushed velvet in an old-time dime store.

“Don’t go! It’s soon!” Kimberly cried.

The dark clouds hovered closer. And herpexels-photo-556666.jpeg heart declared, “The pain that’s in goodbye cries, ‘Look up, Whitman, see the dark and brooding sky? Where, Whitman, where is the silver moon?'”

© Freeda Baker Nichols

 

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 44 (from my files)

As I shred old copies of my writing, I sometimes come across a note that makes me stop and think. Like this note within a folder, marked CADRON– “Writing is no longer fun. I work at it but I do not enjoy it. I seem to have lost something in the shuffle of life.
Today I must start the novel. First, I will give it a name. ALONG THE CADRON
THE CADRON CREEK
AS THE CADRON DRIFTS
THE CADRON DRIFTS EASTWARD
EASTWARD FLOWS THE CADRON
EASTWARD DRIFTS THE CADRON

The Cadron Drifts Eastward

Westward

The Cadron drifts westward
with its secret and song.
Two hearts wait patiently
yet ever so long.
One will claim ownership,
the other must leave
desolate and destined
forever to grieve.”

Years later, here’s the book in published form.    CALL of the CADRON

 

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL # 43 Two Kittens

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.

© Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Yvonne & Freeda                     Nella                   Freeda & Yvonne

 

Banner Mountain Girl#39–from my files–an instance of regret

I noticed him as he sat on the motorized shopping cart and guided a half-filled grocery cart firmly with his left hand. He turned into the aisle by the dairy products. He picked up a gallon of 1% Milk. His cart already contained a case of Gatorade and a carton of Mountain Dew underneath the boxes of oatmeal, Oreo cookies, and a bag of Fuji apples. He also had bananas, grapes, a honeydew melon and tomatoes. There were frozen Stouffer’s TV dinners and several boxes of pot pies. He stopped briefly at the cigarette counter, then went on without choosing any. He reached for a bottle of Aleve and a can of shaving cream. He passed by the meat bin, without stopping. He raised his eyes to look at me as he maneuvered past my overflowing cart. His eyes were pale gray, so washed out–hardly any sparkle to them. His hair was neatly trimmed and short, showing beneath the cap he wore.  Even now, he was a handsome man.

He was a veteran.

I know because he was shopping in a military commissary, the day after Memorial Day.

I wish I had at least said hello to him. I wish I had thanked him for serving our country. © Freeda Baker Nichols

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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