My glasses, my pen, the book I was reading,

My notebook, my water, the seeds for reseeding,

My camera, my checkbook, it’s almost intriguing–

how things disappear, my searches misleading…

I swear it was here just a minute ago,

Where it has gone, I simply don’t know,

I find I’m obsessed–my angst simply grows

while searching, I’m pacing and going to and fro –

I can’t do a thing until I find what is missing–

Is it gnomes? Is it Brownies? Is it elves that are hissing?

Is it goblins or sprites or trolls that are whisking

My treasures away–in exchange they want kissing–

Not me! I declare, I won’t kiss a troll

Or a sprite or an elf or a gnome, it’s my goal

to just kiss a prince or else fall in a hole–

Where I might find my stuff and a mouse or a mole!

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted January 7, 2015, updated July 14, 2018


It is an old recipe box, perhaps the oldest one

I have ever seen,

made of wood and covered with stains,

with the name KARL L. VONDERAHE

printed in pencil inside the lid.

Many of the recipes are on cards,

yellowed with age,

while clippings crumble and disintegrate

when touched.

One old recipe card, written in ink,

is dated 1938, while

some recipes are, curiously,

written on old cardboard luggage tags.

There are many different recipes for

cakes and pickles, and

jellies and jams–

Oftentimes in different handwritings

which might suggest

the owner of the recipe box requesting

a favorite recipe from a friend.

My niece found this recipe box

at an estate sale in Palm Springs,

leaving me to imagine that

the owner passed away and

no one wanted this fine old

recipe box.

When I carefully go through

the contents of the box,

I imagine the previous owner

going  through it,

searching for a favorite recipe

for pecan pie, or molasses taffy,

Armenian meatballs or

Mabels ham loaf–

it’s all here

in the recipe box.

Sandra Lee Smith

August, 2009

Sandy’s chatter note: The Vonderahe recipe box

is one of the oldest in my collection –yes, now

my recipe boxes are a collection–of more than

200 recipe boxes.–it was a slow progress because

(I surmised) that antique dealers or  estate people,  whoever ends

up with a person ‘s collection of “things” didn’t consider

the contents of a recipe box worth keeping–generally,

whenever we would find a recipe box in an antique store,

it would be empty. It has taken many years to acquire

most of the boxes that contain someone else’s  collection

of recipes. – 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



You were right and I was wrong,

What more is there to say?

Shall I confess that I’m eating

Humble pie today?


Far more interesting than the expression

of eating humble pie

is the history of the saying,

which dates back to the 14th century,

When “numbles” were the heart, liver,

and entrails of animals.

By the 15th century, Numbles had become


First recorded reference of umble pie

dates to late 17th century and was

mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his diary.

Like so many words, over centuries,

Umble pie became “Humble pie”

and it came to mean being proven wrong,

Usually after boasting.


And now, as Paul Harvey would say,

you know the rest of the story.

(Do I need to explain who Paul Harvey was?)


Sandra Lee Smith

November 6, 2009/updated June 27, 2018


A stack of books, waiting to be read,

And going to the public library instead,

A really good chick flick that makes you cry,

Rocking a baby, singing a lullaby,

A telephone call from a long lost friend,

Reading a book that you don’t want to end,

A game of Scrabble that goes on for hours,

A walk in the rain in gentle spring flowers;

A big dish of ice cream your most favorite flavor

A roll of Lifesavers that you can savor,

Toasting marshmallows on a cold winter night,

The sight of Canadian geese taking flight,

A fantastic roll of your own photographs;

Two scampering pups that make you all laugh;

An old recipe box that your grandmother treasured

And an old set of spoons with which she would measure

Ingredients into a large yellow bowl;

Seeing a granddaughter achieving a goal,

Your very best friends sitting round the table,

A yard-sale dress with a designer label,

Reciting a poem that you learned years ago,

Making angels in a fresh layer of snow;

Chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven,

Grandchildren running to give you some hugging;

It’s a bowl of hot soup with crackers and tea,

these are all simple joys that mean most to me.

–Sandra Lee Smith

November 7, 2009/Updated June 27, 2018



It has never been unpleasant to me,

Washing dishes after dinner,

Hot soapy water in the sink,

My Fiesta Ware rinsed and stacked

On the counter to my left,

ready to be washed,

leftovers put away

in little plastic containers

and the table cleared.

There was an orderliness about it all,

The final ritual of the evening meal.

In Arleta, the kitchen sink

Was in a corner overlooking

the back yard where I could see

the bird feeder and the many

feathered friends that visited us each day.

There was a triangular ledge above the sink,

where my blue glass was on display,

It was a time for contemplation

and deep thoughts,

While I washed and rinsed the dishes

and put them on a rack to air-dry.

I still have the Fiesta Ware dishes

and the blue glass is above the sink

But there isn’t a window looking out

into the yard anymore.

I do miss that.


Sandra Lee Smith,

first written July 22, 2009/updated June 23, 2018





My mother had a large button box;

it was a tin that perhaps once contained a fruitcake;

My mother seldom bought new buttons unless she

was making a dress for herself, or  my sister or me.

Most of  the collection of buttons came from old shirts or dresses or even coats that were no longer serviceable..  Before she ever

discarded a piece of clothing, my  mother removed all the buttons and put them into the button box.  When I as a very young child, I liked to play with the button box, searching for the most interesting and intricate buttons, some silver, some gold, some intricately made.

I am reminded of a story I once read about women who were button makers; it was considered a fine art back in the days when it was not quite respectable for women to have jobs; it was nevertheless quite respectable to make buttons, buttons created with fine silk thread. Once a week the button man came by to collect the buttons for a clothing factory.

I have a button box–it was once a  container that a fruitcake came in ( the apple didn’t  fall far) Mine is an old container that I must have had for over 50 years.  When a shirt or blouse is no longer serviceable, I cut off the buttons and put  them into the button box. Someone asked me why  I do this, inasmuch as I don’t sew.

I replied “I like buttons”  but I could have just as easily replied – because this is what my mother did to add to her collection of buttons.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally written Day 16, November 16, 2009


It’s the brilliance of a sunrise

Or gazing into blue skies,

It’s the happy smile upon a grandchild’s face;

It’s a bowl of watermelon,

Or a bowl of Jello jelling,

It’s your mother’s wedding gown

that’s trimmed with lace;

It’s a child’s face on Christmas morning,

Or a storm breaking without warning,

It’s a garden of tomatoes on the vine;

It’s first blossoms on a fruit tree,

Or a mother hen and chickees,

It’s sharing with your friends a glass of wine.

It’s a fireplace when it’s chilly,

Or a puppy being silly,

It’s a garden filled with golden daffodils,

It’s a bowl of deep red cherries,

Or a field of dark wild berries,

It’s a row of violets on a window sill;

It’s a mama cat and kittens,

It’s a snowman wearing mittens,

It’s falling autumn leaves in red and brown,

It’s an old barn in the country,

Or a little ballet wannabe,

It’s wildflowers in the field and all around,

It’s a cookbook that was Grandma’s,

And an old pipe that was Grandpa’s.

It’s my mama’s big old yellow mixing bowl,

It’s a full moon on a clear night,

It’s flying east to first light,

It’s watching as a mare gives birth to foal;

It’s a flight of geese migrating,

It’s Christmas anticipating,

It’s all of these and surely I won’t boast,

It’s a rainbow after showers,

It’s spending many hours,

It’s being close to those who love you most.


Sandra Lee Smith

October, 2009/retyped June 16,, 2018


The trunk is filled to overflowing

with keepsakes,

Letters written by my parents,

School report cards of my children’s.,

There are even the report cards I received

throughout my four years of high school;

Drawings my sons made in school,

Valentines they received from their friends,

Birthdays cards from their grandparents–

There is flotsam and jetsam

of our daily lives,

Beginning in 1958 with wedding


and new baby celebrations;

There are diaries and journals

and newspaper clippings,

Announcing the death of Elvis,

The eruption of Mount Saint Helen,

the assassination of JFK,

Man walking on the moon…

Major events that touched our lives;

Periodically, I go through everything

in the small chest thinking I will discard

Many of these things that are

meaningless to anyone but me,

but in the end I put everything back

and snap the trunk closed again,

thinking–let someone else throw them away;

I can’t do it.


Sandra Lee Smith

written September 2009



Slowly I walked through the museum,

Admiring the Indian artifacts on display,

When my attention was diverted

By a tall man on the other side

Of the glass enclosure.

He wore a faded Stetson hat

And a brown suede shirt

With fringed sleeves,

And green eyes peered out

From under the brim of the hat.

He glanced at me

and I at him

and we both looked down

At a beaded Indian belt on display.

I knew instinctively that

The belt meant something

to both of us;

a tie, a connection, to the past.

But he turned away and

So did I,

Without speaking or

acknowledging each other.

It was an unspoken exchange.

I never saw him again.

When I looked up, again,

He was gone and

As if he had never been inside

The room.

I returned to the museum twice

Before the exhibit closed.

Each time

I stared at the intricately beaded

Indian belt

and wondered what it meant,

And who was the cowboy

in the Stetson hat?

*Sandy’s note: I was a member of the Western Heritage Museum in Burbank, California, for a number of years before moving to the Antelope Valley in the high desert, and I found it difficult to continue my membership. There were so many wonderful exhibits–the museum was a gift to Southern California from actor Gene Autry. Whenever I had out of town visitors I would take them to the museum–everyone loved it. A number of my poems were inspiration from visiting the Western Heritage Museum

Sandra Lee Smith

January, 2009