Los Altos poet entertains local SIR members


The leadership of Sons In Retirement Branch 35 played it for laughs when selecting their first speaker of 2019. One of their own, Bob Simon, offered a program of light verse at their monthly luncheon meeting Jan. 16.

Simon, known to fellow members for his penchant for poetry, has been in SIR for 20 years, is an active community volunteer – chiefly for the Los Altos Library – and writes the “Rhyme on My Hands” column for the Town Crier.

One of the largest SIR branches in the state, Branch 35 membership presently stands at 340 men, who are, in the main, retired from organizations that are household names in science, technology, medicine and research.

Known as the Mission Trail Branch of SIR, Branch 35 has a reputation for being musically inclined, and its guest speakers soon realize that their welcome will include not only a typical introduction of them and their topic, but also a parody song based on the subject of their talk. Simon’s January talk included examples of parodies he has written over the years.

One of his lyrics welcomed a speaker whose topic was “Charging Stations for Electric Cars.” The parody was based on Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You” and included the lines:

I get no kick from octane

Pure ethanol doesn’t thrill me at


So tell me please, Richard, it’s


I’ll get a charge out of you!

A U.S. Army counterintelligence veteran spoke of experiences she had described in her book. Her parody, based on “Nobody Does It Better” from the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” drew on the public’s knowledge of the role of a CIA woman in the raid on bin Laden’s compound:

Ev’ry one lookin’, then someone

found him

While he was hiding in plain


Seems a counterspy mama

“outed” Osama

So exactly where were you

that night?

A financial-planning expert was serenaded with lines based on “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”:

Spend my dough with care, Dear,

when I’m gone, be stingy

Though it’s yours to live on from

now on

And, Soulmate, if you can improve

upon a price

Then shop around to find a sale,

that’s my advice

If you leave me I will carry on

And buy that Lamborghini when

you’re gone!

Over the years, Simon’s poetry has complemented his volunteer interests outside of SIR. He wrote the Stanford Centennial Poem in 1991. Its lines include:

So now my alma mater

Confronts her jubilee.

How does she, like all grande


Grow old so gracefully?

When a monument to veterans was dedicated in Shoup Park in 1998, Simon was on the project committee:

Where were you, that Sunday


Sky still gray and water pearly –

A lookout muttering to himself,

“God, some flyboys got up early”?

He was invited to write the poem commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Santa Clara County Library District in 2014:

The library kept all those books

And many more besides

These volumes nurtured


There were treasurers just


On pages made for turning

Where you met type face to face

And kindly letters got in line

For fingers meant to trace

SIR is a social organization open to active, mature adults who want to make friendships. Activities include cycling, bocce ball, bowling, golf, hiking, investments, tennis and travel. The group meets the third Wednesday of the month for luncheons featuring guest speakers.

For more information, visit

election news button

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos