Tuesday, August 24, 2021


These are just a bunch of random things that have happened recently – not long enough for a separate page each, so I’ve grouped them together as part of my “smile file” collection. 

Banks Still DO Give Out Free Stuff!

I stopped at a TD Bank to cash a check last week, but it was at a branch I rarely use, mainly because up until recently there was a TD Bank in my town. Thanks to the pandemic, however, it has gone to that big vault in the sky.

 I happened to mention to the teller that I missed my local branch and she said, "Well, we are VERY pleased that you still chose to stay with TD Bank!" She then looked up my account and said, "I'll be back in a moment," and disappeared out back somewhere.

She returned and gave me my cash and my ID back, then handed me a packaged cookie and with a big smile said, "Thank you again for banking with us!"

Other customers were looking at me as if to say, "Where's MY cookie?" 

But the way I see it, once the teller saw the balance in my account, she probably gave me the cookie from her own lunch bag because she figured I couldn't afford to buy any food for myself! 😄

I mean, look at the calories listed on the front of the bag for just one cookie! I probably could live a week on that cookie alone!

The Quiet Dog 

This really struck me funny the other day… 

My dog Eden had to go for her annual physical/shots and believe me, she is always a real problem at the vet’s – kind of like wrestling an alligator that’s trying to do the death roll, with a lot of growling to go along with it. So I have to muzzle her.

 Well, my vet still is doing curb service, so an assistant came out to get Eden while I stayed in the car. About 10 minutes later, the vet called, saying Eden looked great and had done really well. She said she hadn’t given anyone any problems at all (for a change) and even had been quiet!

Shocked, I said, “Really? She actually was quiet?”

The vet said, “Yes…well, except for the farting. There was a lot of farting.” 

I couldn’t help it, I cracked up!

Beware of Those Toadstools! 

They were just saying on the news last night how mushrooms are popping up everywhere due to all of the recent rainstorms, and dogs are eating them and getting really sick.

I'll never forget the time years ago when my dog ate a large mushroom out in the yard and started vomiting, so I rushed her to the vet's. The girl at the desk asked why I was there and I said, "My dog just ate a toadstool!"

She smiled at me and giggled and said, "Oh, come on now! A big Rottweiler like that couldn't get sick from eating something as tiny as a toad's stool! That's not much poop at all!"

I am totally serious... 

Bye-Bye Yellow Jackets!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my front porch being held hostage by a gang of yellow jackets with anger management problems. Just when I was about to fork over a couple hundred dollars for an exterminator, a skunk, of all things came to my rescue and tore the nest to shreds! The aftermath looked like a confetti explosion all over my lawn.

I couldn’t figure out why a skunk would risk getting stung, so I looked it up online and discovered that skunks love wasp larva and will risk anything for a taste of the delicacy.

So, “Pepe Le Pew,” you have a standing invitation to return to my house for dinner any time you’d like!

Just please try to keep the body odor down to a tolerable level, okay?

What's left of the nest!

Where the tasty larva was eaten!

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: sillysally@att.net

Tuesday, August 17, 2021



I was in Walmart the other day and overheard a woman who was shopping with her teenage daughter.

“So, after we get your backpack,” the mother said, “we’ll go pick out some new school clothes for you, too…maybe some skirts and tops, a couple pairs of shorts and some jeans.”

Her words made me think how lucky school kids are in this century. Back when I went to school, shorts, jeans and slacks were on the school’s “forbidden apparel, per penalty of death” list, so daring to show up for class while wearing any one of them would have resulted in my immediate expulsion.

And the only people who carried backpacks during my high-school days were hikers. We were forced to lug all of our books in our arms, which involved a lot of juggling, stacking and strategic balancing. And living in the city, there was no such thing as a school bus, so we had to walk many blocks to and from school. That’s why early in the school year, most of us girls tried to find guys who would carry our books home for us. If that meant shamelessly flirting, then we did it, solely for the preservation of our delicate arms and backs.

I still vividly recall the outfit I wore on my very first day of high school. Even though the temperature was about 80 degrees in the shade, there I stood in my red-and-green-plaid woolen skirt, green cable-knit sweater, green knee-socks and black loafers. And for a finishing touch, I wore a silver neck-chain that had a replica of a covered bridge hanging from it (it was a souvenir gift from Vermont).  

By eleven o’clock that morning, I nearly needed CPR for heat prostration.

There seemed to be standard fashion rules back in those days. You never wore white shoes or white slacks after Labor Day, and back-to-school clothes had to be warm. That meant if you were a female, you wore a lot of wool. And if you were a male, you wore corduroy.  So many guys wore new corduroy pants the first week of school, the swishing noises the material made when their legs rubbed together as they walked through the hallways made the place sound like a wind tunnel.

Other than making me hot, wool also made me itch worse than if I’d rolled naked in a field of poison ivy. But in high school, because wool skirts were all the rage, I bit the bullet and wore them anyway. After all, most of the girls were wearing stylish wraparound skirts that fastened in the front with a big brass safety-pin, and I didn’t want to deprive myself of wearing something so "chic" just because it made me want to claw off several layers of skin. Fortunately, I discovered that if I wore two or three slips underneath the woolen skirts, I could keep the itching down to a tolerable level.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of class-time sitting in sweat-soaked underwear.

“Gee, I didn’t expect it to be so hot in September,” my mom said on my second day of high school (back when Septembers usually were pretty chilly). “Why don’t you wear that pretty flowered cotton dress you wore to Cousin Douglas’s wedding?”

“Cotton? Flowers?”  I gasped, appalled at the mere suggestion. “It’s practically fall!  Everyone will be wearing wool.”

“You’ll sweat, sitting in wool all day,” my mother said. “You want to end up with diaper rash, like babies get?”

I didn’t care about diaper rash. My new back-to-school wardrobe consisted of wool skirts and matching sweaters, and I fully intended to show them off…even at the risk of self-combusting.

I’m pretty sure the reason why the back-to-school clothes nowadays feature shorts and T-shirts dates back to my generation (back when most back-to-school clothes looked as if they’d been made for kids in Siberia). When teachers noticed that we students were so busy squirming, sweating and scratching ourselves, we weren’t able to pay much attention to what was being taught in class, they probably decided it might be wise to change the dress code.

So, to the kids of today...you're welcome.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: sillysally@att.net

Monday, August 9, 2021



The last time I was stung by a yellow jacket, I was about 10 years old and had made the mistake of standing barefoot on a hole in the ground that turned out to be the entrance to their nest.

Granted, I probably would have been ticked off, too, if some dumb kid had been standing on my house, but on that day I learned just how vicious and vindictive yellow jackets could be. Also on that day, I learned dance steps worthy of a Michael Jackson video, courtesy of getting stung on the bottom of my foot. 

I’ve been fortunate not to have been stung by any type of bee or wasp since, especially because, for some unknown reason, my house seems to have become a B&B for flying insects over the years. They just keep gravitating to it and building nests. Last year there was a small hornets’ nest hanging from my back-porch light. It didn’t really bother me to have it there. In fact, I even referred to the family of hornets in it as “The Greens” (a tribute to The Green Hornet). Then when winter came, I went out there with a broom and knocked down the nest – and part of my porch light with it.

But this summer I’ve been faced with my most challenging bee/wasp situation ever. And because of it, I currently am at war…World War Bee.

Every morning I take a three-mile walk on my land, which involves circling my property four times. Part of my hike takes me across the front lawn. Well, about two weeks ago, every time I walked across the lawn, I heard a loud buzzing sound coming from the corner of the front porch. I finally got close enough one morning to check out what was making the sound...and was greeted by a swarm of very agitated-looking yellow jackets. The message they were giving off clearly said, “This is OUR porch now, lady, and unless you want to end up covered in a bunch of agonizingly painful red welts, you will leave… NOW!”

They didn’t have to tell me twice. 

As I ran off, I couldn’t help but recall Indiana Jones in the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when he came across a den of snakes and shouted, “Snakes!  Why did it have to be snakes?!”  Just like him, I found myself thinking, “Yellow jackets!  Why did it have to be yellow jackets?”

That’s because yellow jackets are the supervillains of the wasp and bee world, second only to killer bees. They not only are aggressive, often stinging someone just for the heck of it, they also, unlike other bees and wasps, can sting multiple times. And they are extremely territorial, so when one of them stings you, it releases some kind of pheromone that signals all of its buddies to come join the party. Oh, and yellow jackets also love a good chase, sometimes pursuing a victim for up to a quarter of a mile.

At dusk that night, I checked out the porch and saw, popping up between the slats on the floor of it, the top of a large nest. That was when I officially declared war. The next day I went to the hardware store and bought a large can of wasp killer. The label said it had a 27-foot spray range, and not only killed on contact, it also would destroy the nest. The directions said to spray it directly into the crack, preferably after dark when the inhabitants would be dormant and all tucked in for the night.                    

So later that night, I donned a hat, face mask, gloves, a thick hoodie and boots, and went outside to do battle. I sprayed the entire gap between the floorboards where the nest was poking up through them, and then, without pausing to check out anything, dashed back into the house and slammed the door.

The next morning, I ventured outside, positive I would see a pile of yellow-jacket corpses lying with their little feet sticking up in the air under the porch. Not only wasn’t there even one dead body, the number of tiny winged-assassins seemed to have increased.

Unfortunately, so did their nest. I could see it hanging down from underneath the porch, and it was bigger than I’d anticipated…much bigger. If they kept building at the rate they were going, I figured my house would be completely encased in wasps' nest material from the roof to the basement within a week. 

“Hire an exterminator,” everyone advised me. “Don’t try to mess with yellow jackets on your own. They’re too dangerous!”

Easy for them to say. On my budget, the only exterminator I could afford would be a kid with a slingshot.

So I bought another fresh can of wasp killer and once again donned my battle outfit – in 90-degree heat. This time, I unloaded just about the entire can into the nest as I cackled fiendishly, “Take that, you little freeloaders!”

And just after sunrise, I once again went out to check the results of my sneak attack. The sound of loud, agitated buzzing should have been a clue that I hadn’t succeeded in ridding myself of the enemy. Sure enough, my uninvited tenants were livelier than ever.

I began to suspect they were a new mutant strain that’s immune to any product that says “wasp killer” on the label.

“Just sell the house and get out of there,” more than one friend told me. “Let’s face it – the place obviously is cursed.”

Oh, sure. I can just see it all now. The prospective buyers will climb up the front steps and be attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets. Then I can invite them inside and offer them a nice cool drink of water from my arsenic-filled well. They’ll probably leave skid marks in their haste to get away from the place.

So I guess the yellow jackets and I are destined to remain housemates.

I’m looking forward to having tea with the queen.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: sillysally@att.net.


Monday, August 2, 2021


Ever since my house was built, I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to dry out the perpetually damp basement. But this year, after suffering through one of the rainiest summers on record, my basement no longer was damp…it was drenched. 

I’m not talking about puddles of water on the floor – I’m talking about water being absorbed from outside, right through the porous concrete walls. Every time I have to go down to the basement, I feel as if I should change my name to Sponge Sally Square-Pants. 

Over the years, I have had countless estimates from professionals who promised to transform my soggy basement into the Sahara – for a “bargain” price that would require me to take out a second (or third or fourth) mortgage. Needless to say, I never hired anyone. 

So last week, after a particularly heavy rainstorm, I decided to search online for a do-it-yourself way to keep my basement’s walls dry. One ad immediately caught my attention.

"Damp basement?" it said. "Tired of wet walls and musty smells? We have the permanent solution – guaranteed!"

And the more I read, the more intrigued I became. The product was a concrete sealer, but, according to the ad, no ordinary sealer. No, this one was purported to be vastly different, a miracle of modern science. Instead of just sealing the outer surface of the concrete, it supposedly penetrated three or more inches into it and actually changed the makeup of the concrete, chemically reacting to the free lime in it and causing a strong, impenetrable silicate bond to form.

The advertisement also said that anyone could easily apply the sealer with a pump sprayer – no professional help needed. 

It sounded like the answer to my prayers. So I ordered the five-gallon bucket of the stuff, which supposedly would cover 1,000 square feet, about half of my basement. I figured I could try it out on just one long wall and then if it worked, I’d order some more of it later. I continued to read more information about the product, mainly the brief summary about how to apply it.

"The concrete must be dry before the sealer can be applied, or it will not be effective," the ad said.

I frowned. How was I supposed to dry out walls that had been wet since the first day they were poured? I mean, wasn’t the fact they’d never been dry the reason why I was ordering the miracle sealer in the first place? I finally dragged a couple floor fans down to the basement and aimed them directly at the wall. I wanted the concrete to be as dry as possible by the time the sealer arrived.

Three days later, I came home from running an errand and found a huge box on the front porch. I was pleased to discover it contained a sealed plastic bucket of the concrete sealer. I stopped being pleased, however, when I tried to lift it out of the box. The darned thing felt as if it weighed about 150 lbs. 

Still standing on the porch, I pulled the instructions out of the box and started to read them.  The first step said to shake the bucket to evenly mix the contents.

Shake the bucket?!  Even an Olympic weightlifter would have had trouble shaking the darned thing! But I was desperate to try out the product, so I knew I had to find some way to shake the contents.

I finally tipped the box onto its side, dragged out the bucket and then rolled it back and forth across the porch until I was pretty sure the contents were mixed.

The instructions then said to pour some of the sealer into a pump-sprayer container – not an empty Windex bottle – no, the heavy-duty kind of container similar to what bug exterminators use.  Luckily I had one that I'd intended to use to spray the weeds in the yard, but never did. 

Seeing that I couldn't lift the bucket to pour anything out of it, I dragged it to the edge of the porch and stood it up there. Then I opened the top of the sprayer container and set it on the ground directly below, trying to perfectly line them up. 

I unsealed the bucket and with great effort, tipped it and allowed some of the fluid to pour out. To my surprise, it looked like plain water.  I stuck my finger into it and sniffed it. No odor.  I rubbed some of it between my thumb and forefinger. It even felt like plain water. 

My aim at lining up the two containers turned out to be slightly off, so I ended up pouring more of the sealer onto the lawn than I did into the sprayer container. My grass probably will repel water for the next 10 years.

The next step in the instructions actually made my mouth fall open. It said to use a mop dunked in water to dampen all of the walls and floors to be treated.

Dampen the wall? The wall I'd just spent the last three days with floor fans set on turbo-blast blowing on it and cranking up my electric bill because the previous instructions had said it needed to be bone-dry?

Reluctantly, because I was so confused by then, I mopped down my test wall. The concrete sucked up the water like a sponge.  So I mopped it again. It still looked dry.  I finally gave up and grabbed the sprayer.

"Before you spray, cover all of the windows to protect the glass," the instructions stated.

I looked up at the cobweb-covered windows with heaven-only-knows-what lurking in every corner, and cringed.  Thrusting my hands anywhere near those things wasn't very high on my "eager to do" list.  Still, I was determined, so I grabbed a chair and a stack of cardboard and covered the two windows on that wall.

My sprayer was one of those gallon containers with a pump handle on top and a spray nozzle on the end of a hose on the side.  I pumped the handle, then pressed the sprayer button.

"Spray until the walls glisten," the instructions said.

So I sprayed, pumped it and sprayed again…and pumped it and sprayed again.

It took me over an hour, but I finally managed to cover most of that one basement wall with the sealer 

"Allow the treated surface to dry for three days," the instructions said. "And during that time, do not allow it to rain." 

I started laughing.  How could I not "allow" it to rain?  Go outside and do an anti-rain dance? Threaten any incoming rain clouds?

So if any of you have plans for the weekend and are afraid your plans might get rained out, have no fear.  

I won't allow it.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: sillysally@att.net.