THERE MAY BE DAYS

There may  be days

when you get up in the morning,

and things aren’t the way

you had hoped they would be;

That’s when you have to

tell yourself that things will get better.

 

There may be times when people

disappoint you and let you down,

but those are the times

when you must remind yourself

to trust your judgements and opinions,

and to keep your life focused on believing in yourself

and all that you are capable of accomplishing;

 

There will be challenges to face

and changes to make in your life,

and it is up to you to accept them;

Constantly keep yourself headed

in the right direction for you.

It may not be easy at times,

but in those times of struggle,

you will find a stronger sense of who you are,

and you will also see yourself

developing into the  person

you have always wanted to be.

Life is a  journey through time,

filled with many choices;

each of us will experience life

in his or her own personal way.

so when the days come that are filled

with frustration and unexpected responsibilities,

remember to believe in yourself

and all you want your life to be

because the challenges and changes

will only help you to find the dreams

that you know are meant to come true for you.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted, January, 2010,

Updated October 26, 2018

 

 

WHEN MAMA’S MAKING BISCUITS AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD, #10

When mama’s making biscuits

it’s quite a sight to see,

As she mixes flour and some salt,

and soda, then you see,

she works in lard with both her hands

in her biggest yellow bowl,

From the icebox she takes buttermilk

and then begins to fold

the batter in and round and out,

until its mixed up fine,

And then the  dough starts gatherin’ up

before you count to nine,

She kneads the dough a dozen times

and pats it out  just so,

then cuts out biscuits with a ring

Pa made for biscuit dough,

And while the oven’s getting hot

she lays biscuits in the pan,

and she tells me to get out

buter and the jam,

Sometimes its all we have to eat,

biscuits, jam and butter,

but nothing ever tastes so grand

as biscuits from that cutter.

Years later when I’m old and  gray,

eating ready-biscuits from a can,

I think of all the times we had

the best biscuits in the land.

TO MAKE MAMA’S BISCUITS

(This is actually a baking powder biscuit rather than one made with baking soda)

2 cups all purpose flour

5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP butter or vegetable shortening. mama would have used lard

3/4-1 cup cold milk (mama would have used buttermilk

Preheat oven 450 degrees. sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl. work the butter (or shortening i.e. Crisco) into the flour mixture   with your fingers or a pastry blender. gradually add the milk until just blended. Turn onto a floured board and roll out to 1/2″ thickness. cut biscuits with a round biscuit cutter or a jelly glass and place on a greased baking sheet. bake until light brown, 12-15 minutes* Makes 16 biscuits.

  • Sandy’s cooknote: I think 12-15 at 450 is very hot; check the oven a  few times as the biscuits bake–I have a very old 1940 vintage oven and hardly ever bake anything over 350 degrees. just saying.

 

 

FINDING MY PLACE IN THE WORLD

“Be patient  toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the   questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in  a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer–“Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet

In my 72nd year of life (I am now embarking on my 78th birthday this month) I am discovering that I really don’t know who I am or where I belong. Oh, yes, I have some inklings  of myself–like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that is yet to be put together.

As a child my singular ambition was to become a writer.  When I was in the third grade (and barely literate) I sent a story to My Weekly Reader (written in pencil on lined school paper). It was my first rejection slip; my  father opened the piece of mail addressed to me–my father opened all the mail–and put the story, which had been returned–back into the envelope. He never said a word about it. To this day, I have no idea if either of my parents thought (or suspected) that I might have some writing talent. (When I sold my first poem to a religious magazine, I DID call my mother to tell her about the legitimate sale; I sold another poem to the same magazine about a month later. I really thought I was off and running…..I wasn’t.

I think I as about ten or eleven when my father bought an upright (non electric) Royal or Underwood typewriter, saying it was for my brother, Jim, and me to use doing our homework.  I don’t recall my brother ever using the typewriter. It quickly became mine and I mastered two-finger typing which served me well until I took typing classes in high school and had to unlearn two-finger typing. I wrote many single spaced “stories” with that typewriter.  I became proficient using the electric typewriters we had in school, and my teacher Mrs. Gusweiler, who was also a lawyer and worked downtown, encouraged my writing and sometimes read the stories.  Another girl, Carol, and I could do as we pleased in that class as long as we turned in all of the typing assignments on Fridays. We did all of our assignments on Fridays. I would work on my stories the rest of the time.  I know now how amateur my stories were because I kept them.

My American History teacher,  Miss Schwach, also read some of my stories and encouraged me to write. By now, one supposes, if I had enough talent, I would have written a book by now.  Instead y 3-ring-binders are packed with poetry and essays and most of my writing is on a blog.  I could use the excuse that I was married to a man (for 26 years!) who thought I had no talent (even though he never read anything I had written) and constantly discouraged and disparaged anything I wrote. When we divorced, I bought a computer and told myself NOW I AM GOING TO WRITE – and write I did even though none of what I envisioned for myself materialized.

I was “discovered” by a woman who published a newsletter for cookbook and recipe people, called Cookbook Collectors Exchange  and was given carte blanche to write whatever I felt like writing.  I took to heart the saying “write what you know best” –I knew cookbooks and recipes and found myself apt at producing articles about things such as white House Recipes, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (who gained her most success writing what SHE knew best–a place at Cross Creek Florida, for which she became famous writing THE YEARLING, CROSS CREEK and CROSS CREEK COOKERY. I wish I had known her.

I wrote about American P:ioneers crossing the wilderness of our country and what they cooked and ate–and called it Kitchens West. I wrote about the religious groups that formed in the 1800s and how their growing crops and making furniture and what they cooked–made an impact on this young country. I began writing about the cookbook authors I most admired.  I did this kind of writing for ten years when it folded.

I was discovered by a woman who wrote a newsletter for women and seniors–and began writing pieces about the kitchen.  Then the editor of Inky trail News, the newsletter for seniors, set up a blog for me so that all I had to do was start writing; I wrote over 500 articles on my sandy chatter blog–mostly cookbook reviews–then became unable to access that blog –so I set up another one that is all about poetry.  I have over 500 of my poems on sandyscookbookchatter.com.

what thrills me most is that gradually, over time, I have received messages on my blog from people who were related top or friends of the cookbook authors I have been writing about.  There is a wonderful validation in this.

So, is this how I am finding my place in the world? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe I have not yet found my real place in the world. How old was Grandma Moses when she became famous? How old was my Aunt Dolly (writing under Evelyn Neumeister) when she began to paint?  How old was my other, Aunt Annie, when she found a career midlife on the subject of graphology? Might I not say–I am only 77–I have only just begun.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates, – Thomas SZASZ.

*Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961), known by her nickname Grandma Moses, was an American folk artist. She began painting in earnest at the age of 78 and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age.

 This is encouraging! I am turning 78 in a couple of weeks!  – sls

 

 

 

IMAGINATION

Here’s the thing about imagination,

You think you are making up a story

or a poem

entirely in your mind –

But is it really?

Are you absolutely positive

Some kernel of that story

or poem

wasn’t germinated long ago

in a book  you read?

Or a movie you saw?

When you find yourself writing a

poem or a story

about pioneers long ago–

did you read about  it once upon a time?

Or (more tantalizing thought) is it a

fragment left over

from a previous life?

Who’s to say for sure?

Fact or Fiction?

Real or Imaginary?

Perhaps nothing is entirely

imaginary —

Perhaps every word we sing or write

has its roots

somewhere in the far off past

of long ago.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted May 27, 2010

Updated September 3, 2018

Sandy’s Footnote: I don’t profess to know the answer to this one.  would appreciate any feedback.

 

BEGINNER’S LUCK

I went to Las Vegas,

To have a good time,

I had a hundred in quarters.

To cast out a line;

I’d saved all that money

From waiting on tables,

I headed for Vegas

When I was able;

I began feeding quarters

Into the slots,

As fast as you feed it,

It takes what you’ve got,

But sure enough,

I knew I would win,

Then I hit the jackpot,

And the money poured in;

Beginner’s luck!” an ancient old crone

Next to me began to bellow and moan,

Disregarding my luck,

and wanting her own!

I scooped up my money

and loving my winnings,

I got up and left and

that old crone grabbed my slot machine!

 

Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted January, 2012

Updated August 26, 2018

A NEW BEGINNING, JANUARY 2012

How often have you wondered

when you took a different path

that it was a new beginning?

The thought might make you laugh–

When you started school, or left it,

Or got married, still a teen,

Or were hired by a company,

And were the best they’d ever seen?

But you left it to have babies,

Or moved so far from home,

Never thinking that someday you might

find yourself alone?

There’ve been a hundred different

New Beginnings  along the way,

and maybe you were unaware

of them, day by day;

As you lived your life and faced them,

an innocent, unaware,

That all were new beginnings–

Had you known that, would you care?

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted January 2 2012

Updated August 25, 2018

RENAISSANCE WOMEN

For Doreen and Sharon –

We are three Renaissance women,

Skilled and well-versed in many fields of knowledge–

Poetry and prose, photography and gardening,

Our fields of expertise are unlimited,

Traveling hither and yon, beyond our borders

and Within,

Never very far from a pen and paper,

Preferably a laptop but always willing

to make do with a pen or pencil,

Or a scrap of paper,

Whenever and wherever it appears.

A digital camera will do nicely,

thank you very much.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted February 28, 2015

Updated August 16, 2018