THIS IS THE PLACE

“This is the place,”  the prophet said,

And gave a wave at the land ahead,

While his weary flock stared numb, in dread,

At the bleak and barren vale, instead’

 

“This is the place? Some asked each other,

Quietly, not to challenge their Brother,

For if he said this is the place,

To disagree would be a disgrace.

 

Before them lay a fallow land

But soon they would come to understand,

The prophet chose what no one would covet,

They’d build up this land and learn to love it.

 

And so a mighty empire grew,

And the prophet’s words today ring true,

By dint of work and God’s good grace,

They came to know that this was their place.

 

Sandra Lee Smith,

Originally written in 2010,

Updated October, 26, 2018

 

 

 

Sandra Lee Smith

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

 

 

THE LAST GOODBYE

Girlfriends, boyfriends,–

no one expects a fleeting goodbye to be the last one;

and often, one hears somebody say

“I never really got to say goodbye”.

As we grow older,

and loved ones pass over, leaving us behind

to wonder where they have really gone,

that final goodbye takes on an entirely

different meaning;

Goodbye, farewell, adieu,

Adios, arrivederci, Ciao,

Auf Wiedersehen

Sayonara, Salam, Au Revoir,

Aloha, Hasta la Vista,

in any language, “goodbye” leaves an aching place

in  your heart.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted February, 2009

Updated October 21, 2018

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them” – Albert Einstein

MY DICTIONARY

ROGET’S THESAURUS

A BIBLE

ALL BOOKS

THE LIBRARY

THIS COMPUTER

TELEVISION

MY RADIO

THE NEWSPAPER

MY MONTHLY MAGAZINES

EVERYTHING THAT CROSSES MY PATH THAT MAKES ME THINK “FOOD FOR THOUGHT ALL OF IT NOURISHES AND ENCOURAGES ME”

 

THE BOOT WAS….

The boot was made of very fine leather,

Tooled by an ancient Italian craftsman,

who had learned bootmaking from his father,

and his father before him,

generations of Italian bootmakers

who purchased the best leather

and refused to bend to accommodate the times.

A pair of boots might take six months to make

from start to finish,

With intricate carvings worked into the leather.

I was that boot, made of fine brown leather;

with a very dark wooden heel

and a great deal of design carved into the leather;

First I was worn by an Italian clothing designer,

a man quite fussy with his appearance,

Gay, you might say, but he took good care of me,

and I was cleaned and polished once a week

by his manservant.

When the designer changed his “look” I was

discarded but the manservant rescued me and

sold me, and my twin,

to a used clothing store

where a cowboy discovered us

and took us to America;

There I lived on a cattle ranch

and was often scuffed and dirty,

but it was an exciting life and I didn’t mind

the grit and soil.  When my cowboy removed

us from his feet at night, we all sighed with relief.

For a while we could breathe.

Eventually, the cowboy had worn down my heel

and there was a hole in my sole,

that no amount of cardboard could remedy,

the cowboy tossed me and my twin

into a dumpster, where we languished

for a time.

and then–a gardener found me and pulled me

out of the trash;

I do not know what happened to my twin.

The gardener took me to his home

and filled me up with dirt

and then added cacti;

I had a new life;

I was a planter,

willing to stand in the rain

or the sun

protecting the cactus that

happily grew out of the top.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 5, 2009

Updated October 20, 2018

THE UGLIEST BUILDING IN TOWN

I thought it was easily the ugliest building

That I had ever seen,

And when Mr. Frapp, the lawyer, told me it was

Mine

I wanted to lay my head down on his pristine

Desktop and cry.

Of course, I couldn’t do that.

“You should be happy!” Attorney Frapp scolded me

As he noted the distress on my face.

“Of course it needs a little work,” he said. “But

What a wonderful inheritance from your

Great Aunt Gertrude!”

I didn’t even like Great-Aunt Gertrude and

I’m sure she knew it. How like her to bequeath

This ancient old falling-down building to me,

Where she had lived in solitary splendor

On the top floor.

My mother, may she rest in peace, took me

To see Great-Aunt Gertrude once when I was a

Little girl; there was absolutely nothing to

do but sit on a chair and sip tea and eat

Stale cookies that Auntie referred to as “biscotti”.

The apartment building should have gone

To my mother. How very like mama to die first

And leave me to deal with this disgusting inheritance.

Finally, Mr. Frapp, who had been tapping his pen

Against a sheet of paper on his desk, mildly suggested,

“You could always sell, I suppose – I might even

Have someone interested in buying the building

From you.”

SELL? My ears perked up and I sat up straighter/

I hadn’t given a thought about selling!

“How much do you think I can get for it?”

I eagerly asked Attorney Frapp.

Sandra Lee Smith

ORIGINALLY POSTED April, 2009

UPDATED OCTOBER 20, 2018

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE LIGHTHOUSE

We always lived in the lighthouse.

Where my daddy was the lighthouse keeper,

And though times were tough

And we didn’t have any close-by neighbors,

There was always enough to eat,

For daddy was a fisherman too,

And could catch something for mama to fry

For supper,

To go with cornbread muffins.

We had clams and shrimp and oysters,

And even lobster a-plenty

And even had seafood for breakfast.

It was daddy’s job to light the lanterns

At the top of the lighthouse,

Where the Fresnel lens reflected the lantern light,

And made it brighter and stronger,

Able to reach far out on the ocean;

My daddy took this job seriously,

And we were a happy little family,

Living in the little house alongside

The lighthouse.

Until one day someone

From the coast guard came to visit daddy

And said they no longer would need

A lighthouse keeper,

Because the lighthouses were “going electric”.

**

We didn’t quite know what this meant, “going electric”,

But we understood that daddy no longer had a job,

Mama cried, and I cried, and baby brother cried too,

But baby didn’t know why, he just cried because

We were crying.

Daddy said now, mama, don’t you fret,

I’ll think of something,

But you know, times were bad

And jobs were hard to come by,

Eventually, mama took baby and me

And we got on a bus that took us a long ways away,

To a farm in a town in Missouri,

Where my grammy and grandpa lived

And where mama came from,

And sometimes said she never planned to go back to,

But here was plenty to eat and milk to drink from the cow,

So baby and I never went hungry,

But you know, they never

Had clams or shrimp or oysters or lobster,

Out here in Missouri,

Only beef and pork.

I never did learn if daddy

Had thought of something.

We never saw him again.

**

For Becky, because we loved lighthouses.—Sandra Lee Smith

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted April 19, 2009

Updated October 20, 2018

SAYING THE UNSAYABLE

How many times did he say the unsayable,

Before I finally got it?

“I’ve met the most wonderful woman

in the world” he said.

“I don’t love you” he said.

“I want to be single and free”,

saying the unsayable.

 

And the time came

When I said the unsayable.

“Fly and be free” I said.

“I am getting a divorce”.

“Oh, you say that now”

he said,

“tomorrow you will change your mind”.

But I found myself

After twenty six years

Saying the unsayable.

“I have to get on with my life”

I said

“and you aren’t gong to be a part of it”.

And now, when I reflect on those events

Which took place so many years ago,

And ponder on how much my life has changed

Because in the end

I was able to say the unsayable.

“I don’t love you anymore”.

And I knew it was true.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally written

January 23, 2009

UPDATED October 20, 2018

 

 

 

LETTING GO; AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD #26/FINALE

 

It was the youngest son, Luke, who finally returned to the homestead, on a clear March day, when winter is still present on the plains and everything is bleak and down trodden in the way that only a bitter winter can induce. There was not the least sign of a bud or blade of grass.

He had gone to the bank to see Mr. Hodfstader, the man who had handled all of his father’s affairs, and was given an envelope with Luke’s name on the front, and inside a skeleton key. The farm was still in the family; pa had been reluctant to ever consider selling it; Luke’s mother had been buried on a hillside not far from the house, where a cherry tree had grown for years to the delight of his mother who knew that cherries did not grow willingly in this region. But Luke’s mother could make anything grow, to the amazement of those who witnessed the vegetables and fruits and that mama could produce. Mama would say it was the coffee grounds she spread under the trees but no one else could make their coffee grounds perform miracles. Mama spread coffee grounds under her rose plants, too, and had the finest roses in all of Iowa. Mama really had a green thumb.

The house was shabby and bleak-looking as well. The windows had been boarded up after some mischievous boys had taken slingshots at them, breaking two of mama’s precious windows. Luke opened the front door with the skeleton key; it was dark and dusty inside, the only light filtering through the open door.

In the kitchen, it was—Luke thought—like a time capsule. There was mama’s range on which she cooked stews and soups and delicious chicken and dumplings, there was the oven in which she baked breads and sweet rolls and a strudel that she learned to make from a German neighbor who lived not far away from them. On the wooden table was mama’s big yellow bowl with a wooden spoon resting inside. Everything was dusty from the dirt blowing in through cracks and crevices. Luke looked around suddenly – seeing movement to one side of the kitchen – and then – it was as though time split – for there was mama taking a pie out of the oven, turning to him, smiling, over a cherry pie.

Mama?” he was incredulous. It wasn’t a ghostly image, she was solid.

I made a pie just for you,” mama said, setting it on the wooden table. “I knew you were coming.”

Luke’s head spun. He could smell the cherry pie, he could see it, and he could see his mother, smiling broadly.

How….how did you get here? He finally asked, standing frozen afraid to move, afraid she would disappear.

It was not easy,” she replied. “I have been saving up for this moment. All of my energy has gone into it. I knew you were coming, eventually. Seems like only a day but I know it had to be a long time. I   died….” She faltered, a long time ago. I could not bring papa with me. He did not want to come.

Luke stood, staring. Finally he asked the question uppermost in his mind.

Mama, what should I do? Should I keep the farm or sell it? Some big farmer wants the property—I could have your remains moved to another place, to a cemetery…” he stopped, hardly able to breathe. He was talking to his mother about her remains.

His mother pshhhed in a way that only mama could do when she thought something unworthy of discussion.

Bones,” she said, “do not mean anything where I am. I only came, Luke, to tell you to let go. You don’t have to keep this farm. Let it all go and get on with your life. I see you sometimes. I know there is a woman you want to marry. Let go of the past, son. Only your future matters. You can let all of this go…” and suddenly, without any warning, mama disappeared. Luke turned around, looking intently. He placed his hand on top of mama’s stove. It felt warm to his touch. And there, on top of the old wooden table….was a cherry pie, still steaming hot.

How did she do that? He wondered.

Then, another thought – was it real? He took the wooden spoon out of the bowl and dug into the pie with it. It was real. It was mama’s cherry pie. He tasted it, almost burning his tongue.

I’d sure like to know how you did that,” he said aloud. Then he took a fork out of the kitchen drawer and sat down to eat cherry pie, right out of the pie plate.

When he had eaten, he said—again aloud—“You’re right, mama. I’ll sell the property. There’s an interested buyer. Maybe you can tell papa. I’m letting go. It’s time to get on with my life…. I love you, mama…”

Somewhere, far off, there was a little tinkle of bells, something like a wind chime.

Luke washed the pie plate and the wooden spoon and his fork. Mama would have felt disgraced if he didn’t clean up after himself.

When he left, he took mama’s big yellow bowl with him, along with the wooden spoon. He didn’t look back as he got into his car and drove away.

He was letting go.

–Sandra Lee Smith

Originally Posted July 25, 2012

Updated October 19, 2018

Sandra’s Footnote: I have been saving the above as a finale to the American Childhood series. I hope you all have enjoyed reading it,, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. 😊

CELEBRATING PAGAN FEAST DAYS

We call ourselves a Christian nation but isn’t it funny

That most of our holidays are based on ancient pagan

Feast days?

Ever wonder how that all came about?

Actually, it’s simple!

In the early days of Christianity, leaders knew

It was necessary to choose feast days that

Coincided with pagan celebrations, in order to win

Converts. And so, we have the Spring Equinox,

Sometimes known as the Festival of the Trees,

But better known as the Feast of Eostara (The

German fertility goddess) and the Babylonian

Goddess Ishtar – or “EASTER” (isn’t it something

To discover the origin of words (word origins have

Always fascinated me) and to learn that the Christian

Celebration of Easter can be traced back to the

German fertility goddess Eostara?)

This is a time of perfect balance between light

And darkness , brings the first day of spring and

A time of fertility, a celebration of life returning

To earth. Bunnies, eggs and children are sacred to

This feast. Among some Paleopagan cultures in

Europe, the Spring equinox was the date of the

New Year and some Druids refer to this holiday

As “The New Year for Trees”

The Summer Solstice occurs around June 21 and is

Also known as St John’s Day and Midsummer, and

This is a feast celebrating the glory of summer and the

Peak of the Sun god’s power; this day originally

The first harvest of the year’s crops.

The Fall Equinox, often called Michaelas, is the last

Pagan holiday of the year and this is a thanksgiving

Feast and signals the beginning of the “hunting season”

In many parts of Europe and North America; it is

Dedicated to the Hunting and Fishing deities and the

Deities of plenty; it is also known as the second

Harvest Festival, Fest of Avalon and Cornucopia.

The Winter Solstice, also called Yule, Christmas,

Midwinter and Saturnalia, occurs around

Christmas, December 21—it is a day sacred to the

Sun, thunder and fire deities; Large fires were build

Outdoors and yule logs lit indoors in order to rekindle

The dying sun and help it return. Burnt logs and ashes

From the fires were kept as a charm against lightning

And house fires. AND (this last custom knocked my socks

Off) it was also a custom in paleopagan Europe to decorate

live evergreen trees in honor of the gods but cutting down

a tree to bring it indoors was considered a blasphemous

Desecration of the original concept.

I had to agree. Maybe I’m really a pagan at heart.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally composed October 22, 2009