Category Archives: Poems

To Lose a Child; to my friend Patrice

It isn’t fair, it isn’t right –don’t tell me words–with words so slight; don’t say you know just how I feel –
I ache with pain and know it’s real;
each morning when I wake and find
that you’re still gone–I’ll lose my mind …
Unless you’ve lost a son like me —
don’t comprehend– I’m in a sea–
of deepest darkest agony…
Only briefly, to come up for air,
and look around–But you’re not here.
Tell me, baby, do you see
the pain I’m in –while you are free;
I’m tied to earth to wait my turn,
Tell me, God, what must I learn?

– Sandra Lee Smith-

A RENAISSANCE WOMAN-MY AUNT DOLLY

“ A HIGHLY CULTIVATED MAN OR WOMAN WHO IS SKILLED AND WELL VERSED IIN MANY FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE, WORK, ETC., AS IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES” – Webster’s New World College Dictionary

In Memory of Evelyn Neumeister Schmidt—My Aunt Dolly

She was a Renaissance Woman
If ever there was one;
Beautiful, blonde hair and blue eyes,
She could have been royalty;
She carried herself with regal ease.
Her father was enchanted with her tiny features
And winsome ways;
“She’s just like a little doll!” he said;
“We can call her Dolly” and so they did.
She took classes once her children were grown;
Her specialty was art—oils, charcoal—she could
Draw or paint—whatever captured her attention.
I hardly knew her when I was growing up and
Moved to California when I was twenty-one,
But came to appreciate her wit, talent, creativity
And vitality and her wonderful, gentle laughter
When I became an adult and my children were grown.
I was able to visit her home on North Bend Road
Many times, often with my sister, Becky, sometimes
With my brother Bill—a few times on my own;
She was the kind of aunt you wanted to have
All to yourself.

When she was recuperating from spinal surgery
In 2005, I was able to go “take care” of
Her for a couple weeks—and some years
Later, in 2012, I was able to go again to her
Home in Port Orange, where she had
Relocated, and I was able to cook and bake
For her.

My visit to Florida in 2012 would be the last
Time I had the opportunity to spend time
With this one-of-a-kind-aunt—who learned to
Bake at the elbow of my grandmother when
Aunt Dolly was only a teenager. She became
Our link between a grandmother who had
Passed away in 1959 but left a legacy of recipes.

Throughout my house there are some of my
Aunt’s paintings—but the one treasure most is a
Painting of my paternal grandmother, Susanna
Gengler Schmidt, that Aunt Doll6y copied from an
Old photograph of my grandmother as a young
Woman.

As I was preparing to return to California in
2005, my aunt asked me if I liked that painting.
“Of course!” I repli4ed, “It’s one of your best
Paintings!”
She asked if I would like to have it.
“Absolutely!”

Like my aunt, the painting of Grandma Schmidt
Is one of a kind. It hangs over my fireplace
In Quartz Hill, California.

Aunt Dolly’s professional name was
Evelyn Neumeister Schmidt—but to all her
Adoring nieces and nephews—she was always
“Aunt Dolly”.

Today, May 10, 2015, would have been
Aunt Dolly’s birthday.

–Sandra Lee Smith

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS…UPDATED

Twelve Days of Christmas…2013 version

On the first day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me…

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the second day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the third day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the fourth day of Christmas

My true love gave to me,

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the fifth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the sixth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the seventh day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the eighth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the ninth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the tenth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Eleven minty Rolaids,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me…

Twelve Pepto-Bismals,

Eleven minty Rolaids,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the thirteenth day of Christmas….

I had my stomach pumped.

 

— Sandra Lee Smith

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

At the kitchen table

We did our homework

While my mother stood at the ironing board

Ironing our dresses, shirts, pants, blouses, and skirts.

At the kitchen table

We listened to the Crosley radio

On top of the refrigerator

While the Lone Ranger, Amos & Andy,

Our Miss Brooks and many others

Filled our minds with images.

At the kitchen table

I learned all my times tables,

And how to type on a standard Underwood typewriter

Using two fingers,

Until I got in high school

And learned to type

Using all ten fingers.

At the kitchen table

We created homemade Christmas ornaments

Out of walnut shells and the caps to milk bottles.

At the kitchen table

We had dinner every night

At 6 O clock sharp

My mother on the left end of the table and my father

On the right.

I sat at my mother’s right,

On the end of the left side of the table

Because I was left handed.

My brothers sat across from me

And Billy spilled his milk

Until we were all forbidden to have any milk

Until after dinner.

At the kitchen table

 We said grace

And prayed for the soldiers in Korea

And my brother at St Francis Seminary

Where he only lasted a year –

But the prayers continued nonetheless

Because once started,

My father couldn’t stop.

We said Our Fathers

And Hail Marys

And Glory Be’s

Until our dinner was almost cold.

At the kitchen table

We were first and foremost

A family

Even though

Sometimes I didn’t like the entrée

And sat

At the kitchen table

For hours

Staring at cold unappetizing hasenpheffer

Or mom’s slimy boiled cabbage

Or whatever it was

That I didn’t like.

It was also

At the kitchen table

That my brothers Biff & Bill

Started a fire which burned a hole

In the oilcloth tablecloth

Until someone put out the fire.

It was at the kitchen table

That my parents

And their friends

Played cards

And ate bowls of chili

And drank cups of coffee.

It was at the kitchen table

Where there was a meeting

Of the minds.

And sometimes

Not.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted MAY 16 2009

 

 

MAMA’S MAKING SOUP TODAY

MAMA’S MAKING SOUP TODAY

At breakfast mama tells us all

She’s making soup today,

And we all know just what that means,

We’d better stay out of her way.

 

‘Cause when my mama’s making soup

She makes a great big pot.

And some of it gets canned in jars

Because there’s such a lot.

 

From the garden come the carrots,

String beans and tomatoes,

From the cellar, pa brings out

A bushel of potatoes.

 

From the hen house mama takes

A hen that isn’t laying,

And as she wrings the chicken’s neck

She tells it to start praying.

 

From her herb garden by the door,

She takes parsley and some onions,

Checking stems so carefully,

She only wants the young ones.

 

She tells me to fetch water from

The well, and fill the pot,

And I ask Pa to help me out,

Because it weighs a lot.

 

Mama puts her apron on, and

Sharpens up her butcher knife,

When mama gets that soup look on,

You’d best run for your own life.

 

She’s peeling carrots, chopping beans,

And crushing up tomatoes,

And all the while she’s peeling and

Chopping up potatoes;

 

She throws the peelings out the door

And all the hens come running,

And gather round to hunt and peck

Where the cats are sunning.

 

Pa goes to fetch the mason jars

Stored down in the cellar,

And brings them up for me to wash,

‘Cause I’m such a cordial fellow.

 

Before long, Mama’s kettle boils

With vegetables and chicken,

And anyone who crosses ma

Is sure to get a licking.

 

The canning jars go into a pot

And mama cooks them, too,

And when the soup has cooked enough,

There’s plenty more to do.

 

Pa and I help mama fill

The jars up to the top,

And get the canner boiling

‘Til the water’s really hot.

 

When the jars have boiled enough

And are lined up on the table,

We all have a bite of soup,

And some bread, if we are able.

 

Into the pantry jars will line

The shelves from left to right

And I’ll be thinking of that soup

Long into the night.

 

–Sandra Lee Smith (FROM MY “AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD” SERIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

T’was a Week Before Christmas

T’WAS A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS

T’was a week before Christmas

And all through the house

Gift-wrap was littered, it

Even covered a spouse,

Who sat forlorn in his old easy chair,

Wondering if there was

An extra cookie to spare—

For cookies were baked

And filled every tin

But to eat even one

Would be considered a sin—

(Unless it was one that was broken or burned)

Decorations hung everywhere that you turned.

In the guest room, presents were piled everywhere,

And trees were put up, not a moment to spare—

Twinkling lights and ornaments too,

But it will look pretty when we’re all through—

I’ve scorched all my fingers giving candy a test

And thought it was time that I had a good rest;

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,

I dashed to the door to see what was the matter;

Up on a ladder, Grandpa swayed to and fro—

Trying to decide where fake reindeer should go—

I was sure he would fall and smash all the lights;

I shouted come down and we’ll fix it all right!

The dollhouse is back where it belongs

And hundreds of CDs play holiday songs,

Pork Loin’s in the freezer and wood on the fire,

Eggnog in the frig, we hope will inspire

But if not there is brandy, bourbon, and port

To serve every guest who is a good sport;

We’ll work at it all until we fall with a jerk

And let Santa get credit for all our hard work!

–Sandra Lee Smith

In memory of Robert Fend who willingly climbed up on the roof every year to hang lights or  install fake  reindeer. He is still greatly missed by the grandkids and me.

 

­

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, 2012 VERSION

On the first day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me…

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the second day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the third day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the fourth day of Christmas

My true love gave to me,

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the fifth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the sixth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the seventh day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the eighth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the ninth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the tenth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me,

Eleven minty Rolaids,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,

My true love gave to me…

Twelve Pepto-Bismals,

Eleven minty Rolaids,

TEN Alka-Seltzers!

Nine bacon-weenies,

Eight Margaritas!

Seven fudge-nut brownies,

Six rum-laced fruitcakes,

Five pumpkin pies!

Four candy canes,

Three baked hens,

Two chocolate Dove bars,

A roasted partridge and a wedge of Brie.

 

On the thirteenth day of Christmas….

I had my stomach pumped.

— Sandra Lee Smith