In the far corner of the back yard in Arleta,

there stood a huge avocado tree

that had long since given up

producing any avocados.

Then one year,  the guys (Bob & Kelly) discovered

that a huge branch of the tree was rotting away

and in danger of coming down on the metal shed

we had put up after the guys  had torn down

a rotten old wooden shed that us to be on that spot.

They moved the metal shed to one side

and Kelly climbed up into the tree

and sitting on the trunk of the tree,

just slightly out on the big branch,

he began to saw on the dead branch;

it was so heavy that

when it fell

it shook the house

and Kelly reported

it shook him up too–

he knew, logically, that HE wasnt

going to fall but the impact

of the branch was enough to

shake the ground.

It took Bob a long time to cut up

all of that wood

but the most remarkable thing about this story is

that early the following spring,

avocados began to appear on the tree–

not just a few avocados–but hundreds

and I counted two hundred and fifty avocados

from which I made the biggest batch of guacamole

you have ever seen;  I packed it into zip lock bags

and laid the bags flat in the freezer.

We had guacamole for about a year

or maybe two.

That tree was home to many of our feathered friends

and I had photographed an owl and a red-tailed hawk

along with the other birds

that rested there from  time to time.

It was a beautiful tree;

I was happy to make its acquaintance.


Sandra Lee Smith

July 11, 2010

Updated September 6, 2018


I long for a place,

a place in the sun,

Where a body can rest,

and watch everyone

As they go by,

While restful I lie,

Back in a chair

without worry or care;

Give me a place,

A place in the sun,

Where I can plant,

Daisies and some,

herbs and light greens,

tomatoes and carrots

and lots of green beans;

Give me a place,

A place in the sun,

Where I can see,

kids as they run,

shouting and laughing,

joyful at play,

Give me that place,

any,time any day

for now I labor,

Hard ‘neath the sun,

my body grows weak,

My work still undone;

I look to the skies

and tearful I say,

Give me that place, Lord,

Give it today.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted March 28, 2010


It came about  one winter day

we thought that we would paint,

I chose some lovely shades of green

that wouldn’t make friends faint;

Out came plastic sheets to cover floors,

down came the pictures on the walls,

to the hardware store for brushes,

in came ladders to avoid some falls,

Then it took more than a day–

I think it took some weeks,

While wintry rain kept everything damp,

and my patience turned dour and bleak;

At long last all the paint was dry

and rooms put back together;

Then the landlord said you’ll have to move–

(so much for winter weather)

We’d done a swell job renovating,

I swear, my ears were bent,

when the owner said well gee,

now we can get a lot more rent!

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted January, 2015

updated July 14, 2018


Sandy’s note:  You may have suspected by now that many of my poems

have a thread of truth running through them (thread? Bob would say it was

a freight train)  so yes, this is one of those based on fact, not fiction. sls



I’m forever losing car keys or

misplacing my cell phone,

I can never figure out where

the TV remote has gone;

I often misplace sunglasses

and the ones I need to read;

I wonder where I left my book,

Or the garden tools to weed.

O try all those little tricks

Like putting things where they should go

Or returning keys into my purse–

Where THAT is, I often don’t know.

I call upon Saint Anthony

“Tony, Tony, come around”

I pray as I am searching,

“Something’s lost and can’t be found”

I search for all the missing things

Until I’m going half-blind

And hope the thing I never lose

Will ever be my mind.


Sandra Lee Smith

March 2009/updated June 29, 2018 (today would have

been my parents’ wedding anniversary. I took note of

this as I was  writing–my mother often prayed to St Anthony

to help her find a missing object. My younger sister

didn’t learn until years later that the “Tony, Tony” mom

was talking to was a saint, not my mother’s older brother. – sls



When I brought a newborn baby home  from the hospital,

and placed him in a bassinet, held him in a rocking chair, and fed

him at my breast, I thought to myself that this is surely the greatest thing

About being a mother, having a newborn baby.

When my  child became a toddler, crawling, then walking, exploring his world around him, tasting new foods, playing with little wooden blocks and toy cars, learning new words every day  , I thought to myself that surely the greatest thing about being a mother was having a toddler.

When my child started school and learned to ride a tricycle, and began to  learn his ABCs, and we could go to bookstores together, I thought to myself that surely the greatest thing about being a mother was having a five year old;

When  my child grew a little older and learned to play Scrabble, and we began taking our sons camping and I taught them how to mix and bake cookies, and we’d make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, I thought to my self that surely the greatest thing about being a mother was having  sons to do these things with.

And then my sons became teenagers who became  young men in the blink of an eye, and as they  brought home friends (and  often runaways and strays) I thought to myself that surely the greatest thing about being a mother was having teenagers who had turned out to be kind and considerate human being, but now  they are men who have children of their own; I thought to myself that surely the greatest  thing about being a mother is having sons who care about you, who call frequently to see how you are who bring their children to you so that they can learn how tomake cookies and gingerbread houses, too, just as they used to do.

their lives are played out in stages, that began as newborn babies and every step of the way , I thought to myself that this was surely the greatest thing about being a mother.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally composed February 13, 2010/Updated June 22, 2018

Sandy’s chatter note:  I raised four sons ( no girls until granddaughters came along) but this poem is really a composite of bringing four sons into this world. And I really did believe that each stage was the greatest.


I have few regrets

For what might have been

Although in my heart I am sure–

If we had been

Together back then,

Our love would have been strong and pure.

I think we’d have been

a pair who’d have conquered,

Who’d have taken the world

by a storm,

I think of the power

of two minds together.

And these are the thoughts

I may mourn…

But here we are,

I’m standing before you,

Our lives a bit weary

and torn;

The past lies behind us,

With bits of dreams scattered,

And hearts somewhat mended and worn;

Regrets, if I have them,

Are trifle and fleeting–

What counts most is us,

Here and now,

The future before us,

Beckons, implores us

to take all that fate

will allow.


Sandra Lee Smith

Written 1985/updated June 29 2018


there is so much I must remember

As I am walking out the door,

I need a list for reference,

Who can remember all and more?

I need my keys – for house and car,

I need my old sunglasses,

I need my vision glasses too,

I have my cell phone in my purse,

money and my checkbook,

I take along a water bottle

and my travel mug of Folgers.

Here’s the book I’m reading – just in case

I find myself in  a long line, waiting;

Here’s the stub to retrieve Bob’s shirt

at the local Quartz Hill c leaners;

I take along a pad and pen

the mail for the post office;

I put some tote bags in the trunk

to help out the environment,

I’ll use my own instead of plastic.

At last I’ve got it all together

And I’m opening up the door…

To see that it’s pouring down rain today;

I think that I’ll stay home.


Sandra Lee Smith

August, 2009