Monday, October 26, 2020


A friend and I were talking the other day about how there probably won’t be many Christmas parties this year, considering the pandemic.

“That’s fine with me,” he said. “I’ve never been big on parties anyway. I seem to have a knack for being invited to all of the terrible ones. How about you?”

“I’ve been to some great parties and some really bad ones,” I said. “It’s kind of 50-50.”

“What was the worst party you’ve ever been to?” he asked. 

My mind immediately thought of four, and believe me, it was a toss-up trying to decide which one was the worst. But I’m pretty sure it would have to be Louise’s 21st birthday party.

Back then, I attended a small, community college to study computer programming, which involved sitting in a classroom from 9 AM to 3 PM five days a week, learning every aspect of the IBM 360 and 1401 computers. My class had only 20 students in it and they ranged in age from 17 (me – the youngest) to 45 (Walter – the oldest). We sat two to a small table – two, because we each were assigned a lab partner. My lab partner was Louise. She was tall, blond, 20 and engaged to a man who was away in the military. Louise also had an IQ of about 145, so she was a great person to be paired up with.

There were a few nice-looking guys in my class, and all of them were single, with the exception of Walt, who was married. But the one guy all of the girls seemed to gravitate toward was Rick. He gave off kind of a bad-boy vibe, but he also had charm. The first day of class, for example, he bought pizza for everyone during lunch break.  And another day, he gave a rose to every female in class.

I hate to admit it, but I also was guilty of being attracted to him. Every time he flashed his perfect smile at me, I practically melted.

Louise was quiet, never really talking to anyone. The only social conversation we ever had was about how much she missed her fiancé, away in the military. He would be home on leave in three more months, she told me, and she said she was counting the hours until then. The rest of the time in class, Louise was “all business,” talking only about computer-related matters, such as how to feed key-punched cards into the massive computers.

I turned 18 that October, and Louise’s 21st birthday was the first week of November. It surprised everyone when after class about a week before her birthday, she stood up and announced, “I’m turning 21 next week, and I’ll be all alone, feeling pretty miserable about not having my fiancé here with me to celebrate. So, because 21 is such a special occasion, I’d really like to have a get-together on Saturday night at my house in Claremont. I’d love it if all of you could come.”

As I was leaving class that day, Rick came up to me. “You going to Louise’s party?” he asked.

“I’d like to, but Claremont’s over an hour away, and I don’t even have my driver’s license yet.”

“I can pick you up and we can go together, if you’d like,” he said.

My mouth fell open in shock. Rick, was asking me to the party? He had his choice of any girl in class and he’d picked me

I didn’t want to seem too enthusiastic, however, so I said, “Okay,” in a tone that could best be described as neutral, when I actually felt like doing cartwheels across the floor while shouting, “Yahoo!”

Not knowing what Louise’s tastes were, I had no idea what to buy her for a birthday gift. Seeing she was engaged to be married, however, I ended up getting her a CorningWare set that included a covered butter dish and matching salt and pepper shakers.

Rick picked me up the night of the party and met my parents. I soon learned he not only had a knack for charming impressionable young females, he also knew how to charm their parents. Within minutes, he and my dad were discussing auto racing, and my mother was offering him homemade cookies for snacking during the drive to and from the party.

The long ride to the party on the world’s darkest, most deserted roads, made me a little uneasy. After all, I thought, I barely knew Rick, other than he was from Portsmouth, which was about 45 minutes beyond where I lived. So he'd already driven nearly an hour just to pick me up. Our conversation was kept light, talking about things like hobbies, the weather, our families and our favorite restaurants.

It wasn’t until I got out of the car that I noticed a rifle lying across his back seat.

The turnout for Louise’s party surprised me. Only four guys and one female from our class showed up – and no one brought a date. There were no other guests, which made me wonder if Louise had any friends.

From the moment Rick and I entered, I knew the party wasn’t going to be something I’d be raving about in class on Monday. Louise’s place was very dark and drab. A table holding a small birthday cake and a bowl of chips and dip was the only thing in the room that even hinted we were at a party. There were no decorations and not even any music playing. The guests who already were there were sitting stiffly on straight-back chairs in a row against the wall, their hands folded in their laps. They looked like contestants waiting for their turn in a spelling bee.

Louise, dressed in hip-hugger jeans and a halter top that bared her midriff, greeted us and said, “Hi, guys!  Glad you could make it! There’s a cooler in the corner with beer in it. Help yourselves.”

Rick walked over, grabbed a beer and offered one to me, which I refused, then he asked Louise if he could use her phone (cell phones weren’t even close to being a thing yet). She pointed to the phone and he used it to make a call. I caught only bits of his conversation, which puzzled me. He was telling someone he’d arrived safely at John’s house and they’d be going hunting at the crack of dawn.

Well, I thought, at least that explained the rifle in the back seat. But if he was going hunting at the crack of dawn and wasn’t going back home, according to his conversation, I wondered what was going to happen to me. I mean, was he even going to drive me back home, or just leave me at the party?

“Do you have any music to liven things up and get this party started?” Brian, one of our classmates, asked.

“I have a record player in the bedroom,” Louise said. “But it’s pretty heavy to carry out.”

She looked directly at Rick and smiled. “Can you help me with it, Rick?”

“Sure,” he said, rising to his feet and setting down his beer. He followed her into the bedroom.

The rest of us talked about the drive up there and how deserted the area was. Jean, the only other female guest, said she’d taken a wrong turn and had ended up in a cow pasture.

At that moment, Louise’s bedroom door closed.

We cast curious glances at each other, wondering where the record player was. It was then that we heard Louise and Rick…and let’s just say it didn’t sound as if they were sorting through record albums and discussing which ones to bring out to play.

No, “quiet” brainy Louise actually was pretty loud when she wanted to be.

We guests just sat there in total silence, wide-eyed and uncomfortable because we all had no doubt about what was going on in that bedroom behind the closed door.  And it made me furious. Louise was my lab partner, my tablemate in class. And she was engaged!  How could she be doing this…and especially with MY date?

Suddenly, the front door burst open, and there stood a handsome young man wearing a military uniform. “Surprise!” he said, “I managed to get an early leave just for your birthday!”

He looked curiously at us, just sitting there, and frowned. “Where’s Louise?”

No one dared to answer.

Except me.

“She’s in the bedroom,” I told him, way too cheerfully.

“I can’t wait to surprise her!” he said, dashing toward the door.

Oh, you definitely will! I thought, silently cackling fiendishly.

A lot of shouting and crying suddenly came from the bedroom. Brian, who was sitting next to me, said, “Let’s get out of here before the cops and an ambulance get involved.”

He didn’t have to ask me twice. We both ran out to his car and took off. He ended up driving me home, thank goodness.

That Monday in class, Rick showed up with a black eye, and Louise kept her head down all day, not looking up at or speaking to a soul. I did notice, however, that she still was wearing her diamond ring.

As it turned out, Rick also had a fiancé back in his hometown, and he’d lied to her about the party and told her he was going hunting. He did apologize to me for his behavior that night and explained that I hadn’t actually been his date – he’d only offered to give me a ride to the party, nothing more.  In other words, he was just an early version of an Uber driver…with a rifle.

Now that I think about it, that actually wasn’t the worst party I’ve ever been to. I think it would have to be the one I went to with my steady boyfriend at the time, where I turned out to be the only female among a bunch of men. Oh, there actually was one other female there, the hostess – a married woman in her 40s, whose husband was away on active duty in the military. An hour into the party, my boyfriend disappeared with her and left me sitting there alone with all of the strange (and I do mean “strange”) men, to fend for myself.

Wait a minute...I think I’m sensing a pattern here.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:

Monday, October 19, 2020



Seeing that it’s nearly November already, I probably should be thinking about ideas for Christmas gifts to buy for everyone on my list. But the truth is, I’m afraid, very afraid.  

Those of you who regularly read this blog are aware that when it comes to buying Christmas gifts, my talent for finding great ones, on a scale of 1-10, currently ranks at about a minus 20.

For example, there was the blown-glass bowling-pin and bowling-ball ornament I ordered for my mother, who was on a bowling league. It ended up looking exactly like a turkey drumstick and an apple. When I gave it to Mom, she thought it was an ornament of someone’s lunch. Then there was the painting of a buffalo I paid an artist (at least he’d said he was an artist) to create for my husband, who collected buffalo/bison items. The finished product was done so poorly, the poor buffalo looked as if had unsuccessfully tried to run across a highway directly in the path of a speeding 18-wheeler.

I could go on, but you get the idea. The other day, however, I was thinking about the very worst example of Christmas shopping gone bad I’d ever experienced. To be honest, I’ve always been too embarrassed to write about it, but seeing it happened nearly 25 years ago, I think I finally have the courage to discuss it…and totally humiliate myself in the process.

It pertains to my brilliant idea for a gift for my husband that ended up involving the police, a shotgun, and my name deserving a permanent spot in the “Dumbest Shoppers in the History of the World” Hall of Fame.

It all began when my husband and a group of his friends decided to take up skeet shooting as a weekend hobby, which resulted in my husband buying an expensive 12-gauge shotgun. Even though the gun cost him a small fortune, he had only a really inexpensive “leatherette” case to carry it in. It looked so flimsy, I was afraid if he sneezed while carrying it, the handles would fall off.

So I came up with what I thought was a brilliant Christmas gift idea for him…a hand-tooled leather shotgun case with his initials and a buffalo on the front of it.

On a Monday morning about four weeks before Christmas, I “borrowed” my husband’s shotgun (after he left for work) and headed to a leather-supply store on Elm Street in Manchester. I wasn’t too worried about my husband missing the gun because he’d stored the gun way in the back of the hall closet for winter hibernation.

The guy working at the leather store looked young, probably in his early 20s.  I explained exactly what I wanted and asked him if he knew of anyone who could make such a gun case for me.

“I can,” he said matter-of-factly. “In fact, I’m a master craftsman. It’ll take about two weeks and cost you around $100.”

“Great!” I practically gushed, thrilled that I’d so quickly found someone, and a “master” at that, who not only was willing to take on the project, he also wasn’t going to force me to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

“If you don’t mind,” he said, “I’d like you to leave the gun here so I can fit the case precisely to it, step by step. as I work on it.”

“Fine,” I said. “Do you need a down-payment?”

He shook his head. “No, you can pay me only when you pick it up, after you check it out and make sure it’s done to your satisfaction. Let me take down your name and phone number, and I’ll call you when it’s ready.”

I left the store, smiling to myself. This gift, I decided, finally was going to be one my husband would absolutely love. And, unlike every other gift I’d bought him in previous years, this one was guaranteed to be a big surprise, something he couldn’t possibly guess. I was pretty proud of myself.

All I had to do was keep my him from discovering that his gun was missing from the closet.

Three weeks passed and there still was no word from the guy at the leather store. I realized he’d told me he’d call me when the case was ready, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to call and check on his progress.

A much older-sounding man with a deep voice answered the phone.

“I was wondering if my gun case is ready yet?” I asked him.

He asked for my name, then checked. “Sorry, I don’t see any record of an order for you here,” he said. “What’s the job number on your invoice?”

I felt the color drain from my face. I hadn’t even realized until that very moment that I didn’t have an invoice. In fact, I had no paperwork whatsoever to prove I’d even been in the store.

“I-I don’t have an invoice,” I said. “But let me talk to the young blonde guy who works there. He’ll know all about it. He’s the one who’s making the gun case for me.”

“Sorry, but he doesn’t work here any more. He skipped out on us a couple weeks ago without giving us any advance notice.”

I was terrified to ask the next question. “Is there a 12-gauge shotgun in the back room there somewhere?  I left it with him so he could use it as a guide while he made the case.”

It seemed as if a thousand years passed while I waited for the employee to go check. My Arid Extra Dry wore off. My mouth felt as if it had been stuffed with cotton. An army of butterflies square-danced in my stomach.

“Sorry, no,” came the answer. “There isn’t any shotgun here. I even checked the storage area.”

Visions of a lawyer granting my husband a divorce flashed through my mind. “Do you know how I can get in touch with the blonde guy?” I asked. “A name and phone number, perhaps?”

“No idea,” he answered. “When I called him to see why he hadn’t shown up for work, I got a recording saying that his number had been disconnected. I’m really sorry I can’t be of more help to you.”

I hung up the phone and debated whether or not I should pack my bags and buy a one-way ticket to Timbuktu before my husband came home from work.  How on earth was I going to break the news to him that his precious new shotgun was gone – that I had taken it without his permission and left it with a total stranger without even getting anything in writing?  

I started packing.

But as the minutes ticked closer to the time when my husband would be walking in hrough the front door, I decided to be brave and stay and face the music. I frantically rehearsed over and over again what I was going to say to him that wouldn’t cause his blood pressure to rise to stroke levels. I decided it would be best if I used a calm, direct approach. If I remained calm, I reasoned, he would stay calm, too.

Well, so much for my best-laid plans. The minute my husband stepped inside, I burst into tears.

The only word he understood through my sobs was “shotgun.”

“My shotgun?”  he asked, his eyes making a quick sweep over me to make sure  I hadn’t accidentally blown a hole through some vital organ. “What about it?”

Tearfully, I related the entire story. When I finished, I held my breath and waited.

My husband just stood there staring at me. I couldn’t read his expression, but “smiling” definitely was not a part of it. Finally, when I was on the verge of flinging myself across his feet and begging for mercy, he spoke.

“You left my brand new shotgun with a total stranger and didn’t even get a receipt for it?” he asked in a voice that sounded much too calm.

Smiling weakly, I nodded.

“Do you think that was a smart thing to do?” he asked, still calm.

Sheepishly, I shook my head.

“Then why on earth did you do it?”  he asked. I noticed his jaw muscles clenching, as if he were gritting his teeth.

“Because I’m a dumb jerk!” I whined, bursting into fresh tears.

Fortunately, my husband never had been able to bear to see a woman cry (and Ipreviously I had used that fact to my advantage on several occasions), so he immediately mellowed.

“It’s okay,” he said, trying his best to sound convincing. “It’s only a gun. It can be replaced. The important thing is you’re safe.”  Then he called the police.

Unfortunately, living in Allenstown and reporting a crime that happened in Manchester, didn’t work. They advised me, because I was the actual victim, to go to the police station in Manchester and file a report. So I headed to the big city.

The woman at the desk in the police station handed me a form to fill out, which I promptly did, then she told me someone would investigate the incident.  I left there feeling less than confident that someone would find the shotgun…or would even bother to look for it.

Three days later, I called the police department to ask if they’d heard anything. No one even knew what I was talking about. Finally I was transferred to some detective who said he hadn’t gotten around to working on the case yet.

That did it. My husband’s patience completely ran out.

“I’m going to track down that (insert any profanity here) crook and get my gun back myself!” he snapped. He picked up the phone, dialed the leather store, and somehow “convinced” the manager to give him the thief’s full name and last known address.

“I’m going to Rochester!” my husband then announced after he hung up the phone. “Just because the crook’s phone is disconnected doesn’t mean he’s not still living in the same place. I’ll bet you a dollar I’ll find him there!”

“And what will you do if you DO find him?” I was afraid to ask.

“Get my shotgun back,” he said simply, then grabbed his coat and disappeared out the door. 

“Do you really think it’s a wise idea to pay a surprise visit to a guy you KNOW has a shotgun?” I shouted after him.

Three hours later, there still was no sign of my husband. By then, I’d gnawed my fingernails all the way down to my knuckles, and worn a trench in the carpet from pacing. Visions of my husband lying on the ground with more holes in him than a slab of Swiss cheese kept flashing through my mind.

Just as I was getting ready to call out the National Guard, in walked my husband, shotgun in hand. Calmly, he set it down and removed his jacket.

“Well?!” I said. “Are you going to tell me what happened?”

He shrugged. “I went to his apartment in Rochester, but there was no answer. Some guy in the next apartment told me he’d moved out. So I pretended to be a long-lost friend searching for him, and the guy gave me his new address. I headed over there, knocked on the door, asked for the crook by name, and when the guy who answered said, “That’s me,” I simply told him I’d come for my shotgun. He handed it right over to me, no questions asked. I guess my tone must have been pretty persuasive.”

“And I don’t suppose the fact you’re triple his size had anything to do with it?” I said.

“Um, I think I also might have mentioned that the police had been notified,” he said.

So everything turned out fine in the end – except my poor my husband never did get his hand-tooled leather case.

But the entire experience, even after all these years, has caused me to think of Christmas shopping with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm as someone who’s just been informed she needs a colonoscopy.

All I can say is thank goodness for gift cards.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:






Monday, October 12, 2020



A couple weeks ago I wrote about how I was dreading my annual car inspection. Well, all I can say is it turned out to be a very “interesting” experience.

I made an appointment at the dealership where I’d bought my car 12 years ago, then arrived on the designated morning at 10 AM sharp.  The waiting room there had cable TV, Wi-Fi, books, hot coffee, comfy chairs and more, but was I allowed to wait in there? Heck no. The room already was occupied by two people, so I was told I had to socially distance myself and was sent to solitary confinement in the farthest corner of a display room, miles away from civilization. The room was stark, with only a table with a bottle of hand sanitizer sitting on it, two hard chairs, and what looked like a former closet that had been transformed into a Barbie-sized restroom with a sink and a toilet. The only thing missing was a bunk…and prison bars. 

I’d noticed a sign that said state inspections were $35, so I allowed myself to fantasize that I just might get away with spending only that much. I hadn’t even gone 2,000 miles since my last inspection, so I figured I really hadn’t had much of an opportunity to wear out anything on my car.

As I sat there and waited, I found myself wishing I had a Smart phone…or a book. My cell phone allows me to do nothing more than make and receive calls, so unless I wanted to entertain myself by dialing random phone numbers or making prank calls (Hello? Is your refrigerator running? Then you’d better go catch it!), I was doomed to experience a terminal case of boredom. But I kept telling myself I wouldn’t be there very long anyway – that my car was going to ace the inspection and I’d be out in a half-hour.

Two hours later, I was beginning to think they’d either forgotten about me or they had found so many things wrong with my car, they’d run out of ink for the print-out. Finally, at 1:00, a service-tech walked in and apologized for the delay. He hesitated before adding, “Well, I could pass your car today and give you a sticker but…”

“But what?” I found myself asking, even though my brain was shouting, “No! You really don’t want to know.”

“Well, your rear brakes are right on the cusp of failing the inspection. I mean, if this were a week from now, I’d have to flunk them.”

Was I really desperate enough, I wondered, to grab my inspection sticker and run, knowing that at any time I could lose my brakes and become intimately acquainted with a tree (pedestrian, telephone pole, squirrel)?

The guy was holding a clipboard, which he set down on the table. The first thing I spotted on the sheet was $385 written at the bottom and circled.

“Is that the price for a brake job?” I asked, glutton for punishment that I was. He said it was, plus $35 for the inspection.

I mentally added the figures and felt as if I might lose my lunch…but fortunately, I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast over five hours before, so there was nothing in my stomach to lose.

“Can you do the work now, while I’m here?” I asked, mainly because the thought of having to return for another day of solitary confinement appealed to me about as much as getting my leg hair waxed.

He said they’d get right on it.

An hour later, after I’d counted every ceiling tile for about the 20th time, the guy returned. At last, I thought, I could go home – if the circulation in my legs and butt cheeks ever returned.

“Um, we ordered the brakes,” he said, “but the wrong parts were delivered. So one of the guys has personally gone to pick up more parts himself.  Sorry for the delay. Do you mind waiting?”

 I figured I didn’t have much choice in the matter, so I said it was okay. That was one good thing about wearing a mask. I could answer him pleasantly while my hidden mouth resembled a rabid rottweiler’s.

After another half-hour passed, I had no choice other than to leave my confined area and venture out into civilization. My throat was so dry, it felt as if I’d just eaten a couple of my aunt’s famous sugar cookies (a.k.a sawdust circles).  I needed water.  I asked a male employee where I might get a bottled water. He directed me to a soda machine…that contained only soda. I asked another male employee, who said he could give me a cup and I could drink some tap water.

“I drink it here and it doesn’t make me sick,” he said, which made me wonder about the history of the water there and why he'd even mentioned not getting sick.

Suddenly a female employee walked over and handed me a bottle of cold Poland Spring water.

“Never ask a male for anything around here!” she said, laughing. She then added, “You want to wait in the waiting room now? There’s no one in there.”

I felt like hugging her, but I kept my social distance.

She not only led me into the waiting room, she handed me the remote control for the TV and asked me if I wanted coffee. The minute I sat on the cushy seat, I felt as if I’d gone to heaven (so did my butt). 

Twenty minutes later, the tech tracked me down.

“Bad news,” he said. “The brake drums aren’t right. Sorry to say there’s no more time today, so you’ll have to come back to get the job finished. How about Thursday?”

I had the feeling that my hidden rottweiler mouth had made its way up to my eyes because he suddenly looked afraid of me. He even backed up a few steps.

“I’m really sorry,” he said. “You’ve been here all day, and you’ve been more than patient. I want to make it up to you. How about if we pick up your car and then drop it off when we’re done? You won’t even have to leave your house.”

“It’s a 36-mile round trip,” I said.

“Oh…that’s too far. Then how about if I give you a substantial discount on the brake job?”

“How substantial?” I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Over $100.”

That was pretty substantial.

“When I come back, should I bring a sleeping bag and a cooler full of food?” I asked. 

He shook his head. “No, I promise you that you’ll be in and out of here in less than a half-hour.”

So I returned on Thursday and was treated like royalty. And 20 minutes later I was out of there with my new brakes, an inspection sticker and a savings of over $100.

When I told one of my friends about how my bad luck actually had turned out to be pretty good, he laughed.

“Are you kidding me? You still got rooked!” he said. “I just had a brake job done last month and it cost me only $199. And I didn’t have to waste an entire day sitting around there to get it for that price! You should sue them for pain and suffering.”

Boy, oh boy, how to burst a person’s feel-good bubble. 

I think I might need to make a couple prank phone-calls


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:


Monday, October 5, 2020


I can’t count the number of times my [late] husband and I drove aimlessly throughout northern New Hampshire and southern Maine in our futile attempts to set eyes on an actual living, breathing moose.

Alas, the closest we came to seeing one was a big statue of a moose in front of (if memory serves me right) an inn.

“Quick!” my husband shouted when he spotted the statue. “Jump out of the car and let me take a photo of you next to it…because it’s the closest you’re ever going to get to a moose!” 

I wasn’t amused.

My parents, who spent two weeks fishing on Back Lake in Pittsburg, NH every year, were no help.

“You want to see a moose?” my dad asked us. “Come visit us in Pittsburg when we’re up there. There are so many moose, you have to watch where you’re driving or you’ll end up with one as a giant hood-ornament. And believe me, they can cause some major damage.”

“We’ve seen so many moose, we don’t even get excited any more,” Mom added, yawning.

So early one Sunday morning, my husband and I drove over three hours up to Pittsburg to spend the day with my parents. Finally, we were certain, we were going to see a moose. I made sure my camera had plenty of fresh film in it so I could capture the momentous event.

That same night, we drove over three hours back home with only four photos in my camera: one of my parents on the porch of their cabin; one of my dad holding a string of trout he’d caught; and two of my mom feeding ducks on the shore of the lake. 

When my parents returned from their vacation, they told us that the very next morning after we’d left, moose were everywhere. As proof, they even showed us photos they’d taken. Somehow, we weren't surprised at all.

“I give up,” my husband finally muttered one day after 40 years of our quest to see a live moose still failed to turn up even as much as a single hair from one. “It’s as if all of the moose in New Hampshire are in contact with each other through some sort of wireless devices and are saying, “Hurry! Here come the Breslins! Run and hide!”

“Well, I’m not giving up!” I said. “It’s always going to be on my bucket list.”

When my friend from Oregon came to visit me a few years ago – her first trip to New England – the first thing she said when she stepped off the plane was, “I can’t wait to see a moose!”

Had she told me she wanted to see a UFO full of Martians land on my property, I’d have felt more confident about granting her wish. Sure enough, during her 10-day visit, the closest we came to seeing a moose was a cow standing in a pasture.  She ended up buying a moose magnet in a gift shop and calling that her “moose sighting.”

Last week, about an hour before dusk, I went for a walk on my land. I have eight wooded acres with narrow trails running through them, and I try to walk 45 minutes every day.  I carry an archaic cassette-player with me. It’s similar to a Walkman but doesn’t require headphones to listen to the tape, which I prefer because it enables me to still hear what’s going on around me.

I was listening to a song by the Eagles when suddenly the music stopped, so I paused to open the cassette player and check the tape. It was kinked. I smoothed the tape and popped it back in.

When I looked up, I froze. I absolutely froze.

There, standing in the middle of the path, directly in front of me and only a few feet ahead, was a moose – a big, nearly black in color, bull moose with huge antlers.  He stared at me and I stared at him, and no kidding, I nearly needed a defibrillator.

Ironically, I’d just read an article about autumn being rutting season and how moose could become aggressive during that time of year. I’d even read about the best way to avoid being injured, or even killed, by a moose.

“If you can put a tree between you and the moose,” the article said, “find the biggest one nearby and quickly get behind it. But if you are out in the open, curl up into a fetal position on your side on the ground and cover your head with your arms. This will minimize damage to your internal organs or your skull if the moose, which can weigh well over a thousand pounds, tramples you.”

At that moment, I honestly wished I’d never read that article.

Not knowing what else to do, I slowly inched backwards, away from the moose, all the while terrified that if I tripped over a rock or a piece of wood behind me and landed flat on my back, the moose might decide to turn my internal organs into pancakes.

As I continued to back away, I blurted out, barely in a whisper, “Hi, Bullwinkle. How's it going?”

He stared at me a few seconds longer, then just turned away and walked off in the opposite direction.

So finally, after all these years, I can cross “seeing a live moose” off my bucket list.

And believe me, I’m in no hurry to get up close and personal with Mr. Moose again any time soon.

In fact, “never” would be just fine with me...

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at: