Here we are, well into November, anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then before you can even get the Christmas decorations put away as well as any  New Year’s decorations if you have any (I think the only New Year’s decoration we have is a battery operated little mouse that does some kind of singing or dancing – the batteries have been dead, for years, and never replaced.

My parents often had a New Year’s eve party that I was never there to  celebrate–as a teenager, it was a good night for babysitting although I was frequently  underpaid.  At my parents home, at midnight everyone had sauer kraut, mashed potatoes and peas and usually some kind of pork cooked with the sauer kraut–Pork and sauer kraut was considered good luck to have on New Year’s eve in my German heritage.

I’ve been thinking – what have I discovered about life this year?  I have discovered that regular squirrels do not inhabit the desert (at least I haven’t seen any in the ten years I’ve been living in the desert).  Those that tormented our dog, Jackie, down in the San Fernando valley are not around up here.  Here, there are some kind of ground squirrels or moles–little creatures that dig up your lawn and eat up the roots of all  your flowers and plants.  Our cat Calvin liked to stake out a spot in the back yard and wait for one of those creatures to show itself.  The critters learned to avoid Calvin at all cost.

I have also learned that life in a town (township?) like Quartz Hill is more easier going than city life–the last time I drove down to the San Fernando Valley was in April–I was making  a trip to Ohio on Southwest Airlines–when I reached the area where the 14 freeway ends, and you have to get over to the left and merge with traffic on the I-5, I was immediately  terrified by the traffic – in the Antelope Valley we have one freeway, the 14, which crosses the Antelope Valley, usually with traffic at a reasonable speed. (well, I do try to plan my  trips in or out of the Antelope Valley when traffic is light).

Getting back to life in Quartz Hill, I never thought about living in a small town but have learned to appreciate it.  I like the friendly familiar faces of shopkeepers

at the dry cleaners,

the automotive shop on 50th (Jiffy Lube)

Our little Post Office on 50th

My Veterinary office, also on 50th

the LANCASTER Library,

the European Deli

My manicurist at Nail Pro; she’s on avenue L and 20th

the pharmacist inside Von’s supermarket

the nursery that only sells plants and trees that will grow in the desert

and many, many others.

Until earlier this year, I bowled with a group of women at the Lancaster bowling lanes which unfortunately, reduced their leagues and hours of operation, so that my  girlfriend Iona and her son and I have recently joined a league that meets on Monday nights in Palmdale.

I’m not sure when it happened….but somewhere along the way, in the past ten  years that I have been living here, despite losing Bob to cancer of the esophagus in 2011, I never thought it would happen….but it did…..I have adapted to Quartz Hill, adapted to desert climate and living, adapted to the wild flowers including the prolific poppies in the spring, adapted to an easier way of living–its a rare occasion when  you hear an airplane and if there’s more than one, you go outside and look around. I lived for many years in the flight path of air traffic heading for Burbank’s Bob Hope airport. Southwest Airlines in Burbank is my #1 choice of traveling–I think I am in their records because the last time I traveled, in April, they had wheelchair  assistance waiting for me everywhere I went.

What I have discovered this year (my ten year anniversary Thanksgiving weekend) is that life may not be a bowl of cherries but I can certainly offer you a bowl of strawberries or maybe a little bowl of pomegranate seeds from my  own pomegranate tree (or strawberry jam or pomegranate jelly.)

I think I saw a quote some years ago–not sure who originally wrote it–but the quote is “grow where you are planted”  I’m working on it.

Sandra Lee Smith

November, 11, 2018


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