When we had live chickens, I began to collect

little sets of china chickens. Before long I had

acquired quite of chickens–most of which got

destroyed in the 1971 earthquake.

Then I began collecting kangaroos–because I

had a penpal in Australia. I still have some

of those kangaroos (non-breakable ones) but

over time and another earthquake or two,

many of the kangaroos got broken.

Back in 1965, I began to collect cookbooks,

never imagining how much this collection

would grow–and perhaps twenty years ago

I began collecting recipe boxes as well until

now there are over two hundred of the

recipe boxes and no one knows how many

cookbooks…well, years ago–I’m not sure

exactly when, I began collecting cookie

jars–(I can claim I never started this collection–

my friend Neva started it for me when she

went to Placerville once a year to visit

mutual friends and would  return with a

cookie jar for me).  Now, cookie jars do

take up a lot of space–I know there are

over two hundred cookie jars and have

told friends and family members NOT to

give me any more cookie jars–that

being said, one of my nieces found

an adorable cookie jar that is shaped

like a bird house, with a cardinal on

top of the jar….well, I didn’t set out

to collect cardinals either–that

started out with my sister Becky

years ago–and most of the cardinals

are to be hung on Christmas trees–

and there is a story behind the cardinals

as well.  My older sister, Becky, died from cancer in

2004.  Six months later, I was washing

dishes and looking out our back window

when I saw a cardinal land in the bird

feeder –I quickly got out my camera

but was afraid to open the back door

so I photographed the cardinal from

my louvre windows.  this despite

claims from various friends that we don’t

have cardinals in southern California.

True and I had never seen one before

nor ever since….I was sure it was a

message from my sister Becky

letting me know she was ok – and

now she can fly.

Sandy’s note: my sister Becky always wanted to fly

and took flying lessons until she had a private

pilots license.

Consequently….my cardinal collection keeps growing.

So, after last Christmas I went out and stocked up

on new artificial Christmas trees–in particular,

a white artificial tree on which I plan to hang all

the cardinal ornaments, red ornaments and red

bows I have collected over the years.

Do I collect anything else?

Does my poetry count?


Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted March, 2015,

updated July 26, 2018

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