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
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