Monday, February 21, 2022



I had such a severe food craving last night, I honestly began to empathize with pregnant women.

The object of my desire was one of my friend Nancy’s homemade brownies. I actually was tempted to call her and bribe her with everything from money to gifts to convince her to whip up a batch for me. But I decided that if I wanted to preserve our friendship, I’d be better off just suffering in silence – especially since it was after 11 PM.

But that wasn’t the first time I’d craved brownies. I can remember a few years ago when my craving for one was so bad, I actually became obsessed to the point of desperation. But back then I didn't know Nancy, so my craving was for a different brownie….an individually wrapped, Peggy Lawton fudge brownie.

When I was a kid, I loved the Peggy Lawton brand of brownies. They were only 10 cents each and plain - no frosting on top or big walnuts inside. Just a nice chewy brownie with no fancy or artificial ingredients. I used to deplete my allowance by buying at least four a week for snacks.

Anyway, as I said, I suddenly developed a severe craving for a Peggy Lawton brownie one night a few years ago. I was sure they’d probably be about 69 cents by then, definitely not 10 cents, if  they even were still being manufactured, it had been so long. But heck, my craving was so bad, I probably would have paid 69 dollars for one at that point.

I started my search in the small corner stores and larger variety stores. They did have individually wrapped brownies and even some homemade ones wrapped in cling-wrap, but no Peggy Lawton brownies.

When I expressed my frustration to my husband, after a hard day of futile brownie searching, he seemed eager to help…too eager.

“I remember those brownies from way-back-when,” he said, his eyes suddenly getting a hungry, faraway look. “I’ll be more than happy to drive you around to look for them…as long as you buy a couple for me, too!”

“You’re on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar heart diet!” I reminded him. “No wonder you’re so eager to help me!”

Fate works in strange ways, however. The very next day, I was picking up a few groceries at Shaw’s in Hooksett when, to my utter disbelief, I came face to face with a display of Peggy Lawton brownies and cookies stacked on a rack at the end of an aisle!  I just stood there, staring at them, blinking my eyes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I actually had to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth. A big supermarket was the last place I’d expected to find an individually wrapped brownie. A whole box of them maybe, but not an individual one.

Very carefully, I selected just ONE brownie - one that was perfectly shaped, with no squished corners. I know I probably could have gobbled down about six of them at that point, but I decided to be strong and satisfy my craving with only one brownie…and savor every bite. I knew if I bought more, I’d inhale them like a Hoover, so I used restraint.

And it was sheer torture.  

All the way home in the car, I imagined the brownie calling out to me from the bag. Every mile or so, I had to suppress the urge to pull over, grab it out of the bag, tear the wrapper to shreds with my teeth and then swallow the brownie in two bites. But no, I kept telling myself, I was going to be patient and wait until after dinner, then slowly enjoy my hard-earned treasure with a nice cup of tea.

Not until I arrived home and began to put the groceries away did I realize that none of the grocery bags contained my brownie!  Panicking, I shook the bags. No brownie fell out. I checked my register receipt and sure enough, the brownie was listed on there (at 34 cents). I dashed out to the car and checked the seat cracks, the floor, underneath the seats, and even underneath the car. I retraced every one of my steps into the house. 

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I had my poor dog in a headlock and was looking down her throat with a flashlight when my husband came out of the bedroom and asked me what on earth I was doing.

“Looking for my brownie!” I cried. “This dog eats everything. I’ll bet the brownie fell out of the bag and she scooped it right up and gulped it down, wrapper and all!”

“Why don’t you just stick your nose into her mouth and see if she has chocolate on her breath?” he teased.

I wasn’t amused.

By 11:00 that night, I thoroughly had searched the car two more times. I became snappy and irritable. I couldn’t even concentrate on TV because the missing brownie was all I could think about. I mean, of all the things I bought that day, why did the brownie have to be the item that was missing? Why couldn't it have been the jar of mustard or the single tomato? Talk about fate being cruel and sadistic. 

It was nearly midnight when I finally couldn’t take it any longer and said to my husband, “That does it!  I’m going to Shaw’s to buy another brownie, otherwise I won’t be able to sleep tonight!”

“No way are you going out at this hour for a dumb brownie!” he protested. “Besides that, Shaw’s is closed.” 

“The Shaw’s in Concord is open 24 hours!” I shot back, grabbing my purse. “And this time, I’m buying a week’s supply of brownies!”

Shaking his head in an “I married a crazy woman!” manner, he sighed and said, “If you’re nutty enough to actually go to Shaw’s at this hour, then at least let me drive you.” 

I didn’t argue.

We arrived at Shaw’s in Concord, only to find the store dark. Obviously, it no longer was open 24 hours a day. I was so upset, my husband had to stop me from pounding on the windows and threatening a stock clerk to let me in. So we drove around for a while and finally found a supermarket that still was open. I dashed inside.

“Do you carry Peggy Lawton brownies?” I asked the first clerk I saw.

“Yes, we do,” he said. “Over at the end of the freezer aisle.”  He led the way, as I, grinning like the Cheshire cat, excitedly followed him.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, frowning, when we finally reached the freezer aisle...that had an empty rack at the end of it. “The distributor hasn’t come in yet. We’re all out.”

I honestly wanted to lunge at him and strangle him with my bare, brownie-withdrawal trembling hands for cruelly getting my hopes up. Instead, I smiled, thanked him and stormed back out to the car. I whined all the way home.

“If I were you, I’d take it as an omen,” my husband said, trying to console me. “The brownie recipe probably has changed over the years and it’s full of high-fructose corn syrup now or other stuff that will make the brownies taste like crap and give you stomach cramps.”

I refused to believe a word of it. Peggy Lawton never would do that to me.

At the time, I was writing a regular newspaper column, so the next day, I wrote about my midnight search for the elusive brownie.

And three days later, I received a complimentary case of Peggy Lawton brownies from the company itself! After I opened the box, I, crying tears of joy, gobbled down three brownies in 43 seconds – and they were just as moist, chewy and delicious as I’d remembered them from my childhood.

So, if either my friend Nancy or someone at Peggy Lawton’s is reading this, I’m still craving brownies…and I’m presently accepting free samples.

Just sayin'...

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated 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:





Tuesday, February 15, 2022



I think Valentine’s Day this year will be one I’ll prefer not to remember in the future, and it’s not because I had no “significant other” to send me flowers and cards (which, actually, I didn’t). In fact, I actually spent part of my day with three young, muscular, uniform-wearing men in my house.

Unfortunately, they were firefighters.

The problem began with of all things, crows.  During the winter, I feed the birds. I buy what I think is yummy birdseed (if I were a bird) that contains things like raisins, peanuts, sunflower hearts and more. I put it in the feeder, and then toss some on the ground for the ground-feeding birds.

But birdseed isn’t cheap, especially with the recession. So when I put out my gourmet feast, hoping to attract cardinals, finches and other colorful birds, and the squawking crows swoop in and gulp down everything as if they were preparing for an apocalypse, well, I get irritated.

The other day, in an effort to solve the problem, I bought a bag of cheap popcorn, thinking I’d pop it for the crows and maybe distract them from the birdseed. I figured crows must like corn and popcorn because why else would farmers put scarecrows in their cornfields?

Anyway, I’d read that the best and easiest way to pop the corn was to put it into a brown paper bag, fold over the top, and then microwave it for about 60 seconds. So on Valentine’s Day morning, that’s exactly what I did.

I shoved the bag into the microwave and turned it on the “popcorn” setting, then walked off.  I was about four feet away when, 15 seconds later, I heard a loud “poof!” come from the microwave. I walked over to see what had made the noise and saw flames through the glass on the door.  Like an idiot, I opened the door. The minute the air hit the fire, it fairly exploded, so I slammed the door and unplugged the microwave.

When the fire finally extinguished itself, I opened the door again. Huge clouds of smoke that smelled like barbecued skunk greeted me and filled the kitchen.

Considering the fact it was a balmy 12 degrees outside, with a wind chill of zero, I thought against throwing open the doors and windows to air out the place. I turned on the exhaust fan over my gas range instead.   

At that point, something dawned on me. My electric smoke detectors, of which I have eight all hard-wired together, hadn’t made a peep. That was unusual, considering that previously, if I lit a scented candle they all would blare. So I was concerned, especially since one of them was located only three feet from the microwave and was in the habit of setting off all eight detectors when I even so much as made toast that was a shade darker than golden brown.

The more I thought about it, especially since I’d also recently put new backup batteries in the detectors, the more it bothered me, so I called my local fire department’s non-emergency number and asked the guy who answered why he thought my house could have burned down without any of the detectors going off. I mean, if I hadn’t been standing near the microwave at the time it went up in flames, I never would have known it was on fire and wouldn’t have unplugged it.

He said, “Well, it might be a good idea for us to come over and check things out.”

“Thank you,” I said.

No one was more surprised than I was to see a full-sized fire engine, the big ladder truck, with lights flashing arrive, and three firefighters, fully clad for battle in regulation helmets, boots and jackets and carrying various apparatus like extinguishers, come to my door.

When they found out the fire was fully out, one of them actually looked kind of disappointed. But they did check the electrical connections in the wall behind the microwave and even the drawers beneath it. They said everything seemed fine…except for the microwave, that is, which was in desperate need of receiving its last rites. They also tested the nearby smoke detector, which blared as if the great Chicago fire had just started.

The traitor.

“How long have you had these detectors,” one of the firefighters asked.

“Thirteen years.”

“They’re good for only 10. Time to replace all of them. Just buy some new ones of the same brand and snap them in."

He made it sound so simple.

“You’re telling me, an old lady, to climb up on chairs and ladders to reach these things to replace them?” 

Their silence told me the answer basically was yes.

“Well,” I said, jokingly, “If the detectors cost more than a total of $10 for all of them, then I can’t afford them.” 

One of the guys responded, his tone serious, “I really don’t know how much they cost.”

And that pretty much ended that.

After they left, I rushed out to buy a new microwave. The one that had just turned into a charcoal briquette, originally had been a small white one that cost me $29, so I wanted to replace it with something similar. That was when I learned that microwaves no longer were cheap. Even at one of the biggest discount stores in the area, the cheapest one I found was $80…and it was black (which, considering the fire, might have been a better choice of color for me).

Finally, I went to Home Depot, where I’d bought the original microwave, and to my delight (and shock) they still had one just like it…for $59. But that still seemed pretty reasonable, considering the rate of inflation, so I bought it.

If I had to blame someone for the fire, I’d blame the crows. I mean, the reason why I’d been popping the corn was to give them something to eat other than the more expensive birdseed.

And as a result, I ended up $59 in the hole.

That would have bought about 50 lbs. of gourmet sunflower seeds. 

Oh, well…at least I had a really “hot” Valentine’s Day for a change.


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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:




Tuesday, February 8, 2022



I’m sitting here nursing a nosebleed at the moment because I’m hesitant to partake in my annual winter ritual of shoving Vaseline up my nose.

For some reason, from the first moment the furnace pops on each year, the interior of my nose dries out worse than the Sahara and starts to sprout these sadistic fault-line cracks that decide to bleed whenever the mood strikes them.

“Buy a humidifier,” my family doctor advised me years ago. “Your house obviously it too dry. Get some moisture in there – and into your nose.”

If I wanted moisture, all I’d have to do is go sit downstairs in my basement – a place so damp and dark, after only an hour down there your skin starts to sprout mushrooms. So the thought of adding dampness to the rest of my house really didn’t appeal to me.

“Or…” my doctor added, “you can keep the inside of your nose moist by using a saline spray or coating it with a thin layer of Vaseline.”

Of the three options, the Vaseline sounded the easiest…and the cheapest. So about 10 years ago, I started coating the insides of my nostrils with Vaseline every winter.

To my relief, as long as my nose was full of Vaseline, there were no more nosebleeds.  The only problem was, it was pretty difficult to smell anything through the Vaseline. Granted, it probably was because I was a bit overzealous when applying the “thin layer,” but I didn’t want to give my nostrils even the slightest opportunity to dry out like raisins again.

As a result of my Vaseline nostrils, I’ve eaten spoiled food because I couldn’t smell it. I’ve stepped in “surprises” my dogs left for me, and I’ve set off the smoke detectors more than once because I couldn’t smell dinner burning.

But the worst complication of Vaseline nostrils occurred a few years ago, when I decided to use a gift card I’d received for Christmas.

“I’m looking for a nice light scent,” I told the sales clerk in the fragrance section of the store’s cosmetics department when she asked if she could help me find anything specific. “Something lemony or citrus-scented would be nice.”

“I have several choices you might like,” she said.

She then proceeded to spray several colognes onto these little blotter-like cards and handed them to me one at a time.

“What do you think of this one?” she asked, smiling.

I sniffed the little card. I couldn’t detect even the slightest scent of any cologne. It could have smelled like skunk pee for all I knew.

“Mmmm, that’s lovely,” I lied, embarrassed to let her know I essentially was wasting her time because all I could smell was “Eau de Vaseline,” which was kind of like a faint scent of motor oil.

She handed me the next card. “This one is a little stronger.”

I felt my spirits rise, thinking I might be able to smell that one.

But once again, I couldn’t smell anything that even remotely resembled cologne.

Five samples later, I finally managed to get a slight whiff of something that smelled vaguely like lemons.

“I’ll take this one!” I told the clerk, quickly handing my gift card to her. I was so relieved to finally have been able to smell something, I wasn’t about to pass it up.

Two days later, I went grocery shopping. Before I left the house, I decided to use some of my new cologne. I sprayed it on my wrists and then sniffed them. I couldn’t smell anything, so I sprayed a little more cologne on them…and then a little more.

As I walked through the supermarket, I noticed that people kept turning to stare at me - and when they did, their expressions sort of resembled those of someone whose septic tank had just backed up into the house.

After a few minutes of constantly being stared at, I began to develop a complex. Was my eye makeup smudged? Was my hair sticking up? Did I have a hole in the seat of my pants? I decided to detour into the restroom to check things out.

I was alone in there, in one of the stalls, when I heard someone walk in.

“Whew!” a woman’s voice gasped. “The last person in here must have taken a bath in cheap perfume! It's making my eyes water!”

“Yeah,” came another female voice. “Anyone who wears that much perfume is probably trying to hide the fact she has body odor or something!”

I sniffed the air. I didn’t smell anything. I thought maybe it was a good thing my Vaseline nostrils were protecting me from the obviously stinky restroom, because the way the two women were talking, I wouldn’t have wanted to be subjected to the choking scent of cheap perfume.

I emerged from the stall and both women stared at me as if they just had seen the Ghost of Christmas Past, ready to whisk them away.

I smiled at them, washed my hands and left. But just before the restroom door closed behind me, I heard one of them say, “Oh, Lord, I’m so embarrassed!  I didn’t know she was still in here!”

It took a moment before her words sank into my thick head. was the stinky woman wearing the cheap perfume! I was the one making people’s eyes water!

Luckily, I had only two items in my cart. I quickly put them back, then ran out of the store, all the while wondering if the place would soon have to be evacuated because the lingering stench I left behind was causing the customers to suffer respiratory problems.

The minute I got home, I leapt into the shower and scrubbed the cologne off my skin. Then I blew my nose about six times and wiped out all of the Vaseline until I actually could smell again.

Taking a deep, calming breath, I hesitantly picked up the bottle of cologne, sprayed it into the air and sniffed it.

It smelled like a combination of overly ripe bananas and armpits. I was so embarrassed, I vowed never to show my face in that supermarket again.

So this winter, I’ve not only stopped using the Vaseline because I’m tired of it, I’ve stopped because if I  were to somehow catch Covid and my only symptom was the loss of smell, I wouldn’t even know the difference.

 I’m thinking about trying the saline spray next, or something called “Ayr” that a pharmacist recommended I shove up my nose.

Either that, or I suppose I always can move down into my damp basement. Heck, a few mushrooms never hurt anyone.

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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: