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As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Call of the Whip-Poor-Will...

My grandparents and me...

A few days ago, I was excited to hear our first whip-poor-will of the season.  If I should make a list of all the things I love about spring, the list would be long, but at the very top, undoubtedly, would be the call of the whip-poor-will.  Every year at this time I feel just like having a party... a party like we once had long ago, when my grandmother made my favorite candy and placed it in a pretty dish on the dining table.  Then, in a flash, almost before my very eyes, it was gone!  My grandpa said the whip-poor-wills had taken it.  But, he quickly laughed, for he was only having a little fun with me.  Just as quickly as it disappeared, the candy was back on the table.   And, all the while the whip-poor-wills were singing a chorus just outside the windows, both near and far.  It was a magical time that I will never forget.

 And, maybe we will do just that this year ~ have a party!  We will pack our dinner and head to the Little Piney, which is near my grandparents' old home place.  There we will sit at water's edge and wait on the dusk...and the call of the whip-poor-will.


  1. Wow! I loved this! Your grandmother looks so pretty; small waist in her beautiful dress.

  2. Reminds me of the time I lived with my grandparents when my mother was being treated for polio in the "big city hospital". My grandfather kept wintergreen Canada mints in a cupboard in the kitchen. He gave me one after dinner each evening. Childhood memories seem to be more cherished as we grow older I think, at least for me.

  3. Sooooo lovely photo, of your grandparents and you. Just soooooo lovely...

    And what a sweet memory. -happy sigh-

    Oh yes, do that! Pack your lunch, go near their old home area, and enjoy waiting for the whip-poor-will's call. Such a beautiful mind-picture, that is.

    Luna Crone

  4. "There we will sit at water's edge and wait on the dusk..."

    "Wait on the dusk"..... I love that turn of phrase. Love it. Love it.

  5. What a lovely post! Your words were so perfect I could just imagine the scene.
    Love the photo of you and your grandparents.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sweet photo and such wonderful memories!

  7. It's heart warming to look back on our childhood adventures with our family. Time goes by so fast and when those moments of cherished memories pop in my heads, I now take a bit longer and savor them. Ahh