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

Flag of the U.S.A.

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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

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

Banner Mountain Girl—Post # 8
From my journal . . .
5 October 1978–Today, it came – my first acceptance by a publication—a letter from “Home Life” says they are accepting my manuscript entitled, “We’re home!” With tears, I bowed my head and thanked God for making all things possible. None of my family knows that I’ve had this manuscript sent off, and I want to wait until we are all together this week-end to tell them. The story I wrote began thirteen years ago, in Michigan. I re-worked it recently. It seems to me, although I’m not sure and can’t remember for certain, that it was rejected by “Home Life” a few years ago. My creative writing classes have helped me immensely. It has been a long time and I have been discouraged many times but I hope with all my heart that I can open my heart and share, through my writing the way I feel about life, the precious gift from God to all of us.
30 October 1978—I received a check in the amount of $33.00 for my story, “We’re Home.” It will be in the August/79 issue of Home Life.
(Note: The editor changed the title to a more appropriate one, “A Family Bivouac.” It can be read on my blog by searching for “A Family Bivouac” in the Search window.  Or click on this link https://freedanichols.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/a-family-bivouac–
Until next time . . .
Thanks for reading,
Freeda Baker Nichols

BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL–Post#7

Banner Mountain Girl—Post # 7
September 12, 1980: “I remember shyly waiting to see Mrs. Vacin, my high school English teacher to show her my poems. She was never available and so I forgot about trying to talk to her. I mentioned to one of my classmates that I liked to write, after I found out he had written articles. He had moved to my school from the city, and I was interested in his ability to write, so I spoke to him about it. He said he thought I looked like a movie star and he named her. He moved away and I never heard from him again.”
But he was the first person with whom I shared my passion for writing. My desire to write was becoming real, like the Velveteen Rabbit. I was happy.
However: “The writer within me seems to be like a bird that flits in and out, appearing now and again in my life. Comes and goes. Comes and goes. I have worked more steadily and persistently with my writing the past five years than I ever worked in my life. I thought it would be easy, that ideas would flow and that I would soon find success. Not only is it hard to get the words written, there are numerous hours of revision, packaging and mailing and waiting for the reply. Then being discouraged when my manuscript is returned and getting over that so I can try again. Is it worth it? No. But I must continue! The drive within me was placed there as a natural part of me. I have to go forward to meet its demands.”
“The day is a peaceful, autumn day with breezes strong. Leaves and acorns falling from the oak trees, the sun appearing and disappearing, playing hide and seek with the breeze. The autumn is my favorite time of year. I wish it would last about six months and that I could work with my writing every day.”
#becoming a writer . . .

© Freeda Baker Nichols