Tuesday, December 26, 2023



Once again, it’s time to make my annual New Year’s resolutions, even though I already know I won’t keep any of them. That's because I usually make the same ones every year, due to my perfect track-record of failing miserably.

It's pretty obvious the old saying, “Persistence pays off," doesn't apply to me.

So although my list of possible resolutions is lengthy, I’ve decided to pick only two of them for 2024. I figure the fewer I have, the more likely I'll be to succeed at keeping at least one of them. I mean, the odds are 50-50…I think.

Also, another reason why I’m listing only two resolutions at this moment is because one of the gifts I received this holiday season was a case of some virulent stomach virus. So any minute now, I’ll probably be leaping over my two dogs and sprinting to the bathroom. 

At least if it continues much longer, I can skip my annual resolution to lose weight and get more exercise. 

My first resolution is to stop wasting money on anti-aging products. The time has come for me to realize the only thing that will take years off my life and make me look young again is if someone invents a time machine that actually works.

I have so many anti-aging products and gadgets stuffed into my bathroom cabinets, the wood on the doors actually is beginning to look new again. My face, however, still looks as if I fell asleep on a waffle iron. And my neck is so saggy, it’s a wonder I wasn’t shot during turkey-hunting season.

So I resolve to accept the fact that wrinkles and sagging are just a natural part of aging and I'll have to learn how to peacefully co-exist with them (that is, unless I get lucky enough to meet and marry a cosmetic surgeon before I turn into a giant prune).

My second resolution is to motivate myself to pump my own gas. The problem is my brain is still living in the era when people pulled into a gas station and the attendant rushed right out, pumped gas for them, washed their vehicle’s windshield, checked the oil and even gave them a free gift, like a drinking glass or a coffee mug.

So I always have stubbornly refused to pump my own gas. It just doesn’t make sense to me that back when gas was only 35 cents a gallon, the gas-station attendants did everything short of performing show tunes for their patrons. But now that gas is about 10 times more expensive, we’re expected to get out of our warm vehicles in sub-zero temperatures and risk getting frostbite on various susceptible body parts while we stand there pumping our own gas?

This is why I still drive 34 miles out of my way to get gas at one of the very rare full-serve stations left in the state. With my luck, it might even be the last one in existence (perish the thought!).

Whenever I mention it to my friends, however, they laugh at me, shake their heads and say something like: "You're crazy! You’re just wasting gas and money driving that far! Pumping your own gas is a snap, and much cheaper in the long run."

Sure, I know they’re probably right, but it’s the principle of the thing. If I’m going to start pumping my own gas, then I think it’s only fair to expect a reward for my efforts, like the aforementioned free glass or coffee mug.

After all, if I’m saving the station’s employees from getting frostbite on their susceptible body parts, then it should be worth at least something to them, right?

Sorry, gotta run now!

#   #   #

Happy New Year to all of my readers! Here’s hoping 2024 will bring you happiness, good health, love and prosperity...and a whole bunch of other great stuff! 


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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, December 19, 2023



My mother, bless her soul, was the queen of "unique" when it came to buying Christmas gifts. Each year, she would spend weeks searching for things she was certain no one possibly could already own.

And I'm pretty sure there was a good reason why they didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. Whenever I gave Mom my Christmas list, she was excellent at tracking down even the hardest-to-find items on it. And her taste in clothing was so great, if I asked for a sweater, I knew the one she'd pick out for me would be gorgeous.

But Mom also was in the habit of straying from the list and adding a few of her own original gift ideas…as an unexpected surprise.

And they definitely were a surprise. Believe me, there was no way I (or anyone else) could shake one of those boxes and ever guess what was inside.

Take, for example, the duck remote-control holder she bought for my husband one year. It was a stuffed vinyl Mallard that had a cloth pocket-flap attached to each side of it. You could insert a TV Guide into the flap's pockets on one side, and a remote, canned beverage and probably a side of beef into the ones on the other side. The duck was filled with something that weighed it down, like the beans in beanbags, and was supposed to sit on the arm of a chair or sofa, with the flaps hanging down over each side.

When my husband opened the gift, I could tell by his strained expression it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. Not wanting to hurt my mom’s feelings, however, he smiled and plunked the duck down on the arm of his recliner, then shoved a remote control and a TV Guide into the flaps.

I tried not to laugh when I saw the duck perched there next to my husband. For one thing, he always used both armrests, so I doubted he'd enjoy having to share one with a stuffed duck.

“Why a duck anyway?” he asked me the next night after he’d stretched out in his recliner and accidentally hit the duck with his arm and knocked it onto the floor for the umpteenth time. He glared at it. “What does a duck have to do with holding a remote control anyway? A kangaroo would have made more sense!”

“I don’t know,” I said. “But just make sure you keep that duck on your chair. When my mom drops by, you'll hurt her feelings if it's not there."

The very next morning I got up to find a gasp-worthy scene in the living room. On the rug lay the duck, decapitated, with its innards strewn from one end of the living room to the other.

My first thought was my husband had committed duck-icide.

I rushed back into the bedroom to confront him. “What did you do to the duck? And what are we going to tell my mother?"

Half asleep, he opened one eye. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“The duck she bought for you! It’s lying 
in pieces on the rug! I don’t even know where its head is!”

He sat up and smiled. “Really? The duck’s been mutilated? You wouldn’t kid me about something like that, would you?”

As if on cue, one of our dogs came trotting into the room...with the duck’s head in her teeth. I thought my husband was going to kiss her.

“You didn’t smear that duck with Alpo before you went to bed, did you?” I narrowed my eyes at him.

He laughed. “No, the dog is just smart, that’s all.”

My mother must have had a fondness for birds, because the next Christmas she bought me a stuffed parrot that contained some kind of a recording device that enabled it to repeat everything it heard.

“Hello!” I said to the parrot after my mom, smiling broadly, told me to try it.

“Hello!” its squawky voice came back at me. When it spoke, its beak opened and closed and its mechanical wings flapped.

Mom giggled and clapped her hands together. “Say something else!” 

“Say something else!” the parrot repeated, to Mom’s obvious delight.

Back when I was in grade school, there was a bully named Gary who got a kick out of repeating everything I said, mocking me until I wanted to kick him. Unfortunately, the parrot immediately reminded me of Gary.

“My name is Sally,” I said.  

“My name is Sally!” the annoying bird said back to me.

The minute our dog, Sabre, heard the strange, nasally voice, she started barking at it.

“Aarrff! Aarrff! Grrrrr!”

The parrot immediately responded with, “Aarrff! Aarrff! Grrrrr!”

Sabre obviously didn’t appreciate being mocked. She shot her most threatening Cujo-style growls at the parrot. It shot the same growls right back, which only served to agitate her even more.

I figured that in dog talk, Sabre probably had been telling the parrot, “Shut up or die, bird brain!” So when the parrot repeated it, he was telling her the same thing.

Before we knew what was happening, Sabre had the parrot in her mouth, and f
ake feathers went flying everywhere. Within seconds, the bird joined my husband’s duck as a member of the decapitation club. 

After witnessing the carnage, my mother pretty much stuck to our Christmas lists from then on and refrained from buying us any more bird or animal-themed gifts.

That is, until she discovered Chia Pets…

#   #   # 

Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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, December 11, 2023



My furnace has taken its usual cue and decided to act up right before Christmas, which has become a tradition that often forces me to spend most of my gift-shopping budget on furnace parts.

This year the situation is weirder than usual, however. During the past two months, every time I’ve been outside and the furnace popped on, a strong odor of chlorine wafted out of the exhaust vent.

It’s puzzling because I very rarely use anything with chlorine in it. I can remember my mother always bleaching the white items in the laundry when I was growing up, but because I’m so pale, I haven’t worn anything white since my wedding day. Also, my furnace runs on propane gas, which smells like hard-boiled eggs, not chlorine.

So because my sense of smell has been messed up ever since I had Covid last year, I just ignored the odor, thinking my nose was playing tricks on me. I mean, sometimes I can smell fresh flowers in the house when the closest thing I have to a flower in here is a fake potted-plant.

But a couple of weeks ago, one of my friends dropped by for a visit and mentioned she’d smelled chlorine when she walked by the vent.

At that point, I figured I was in trouble. I did some research online and the results ranged from “when the furnace pops on, it briefly releases ozone, which smells like chlorine, which is normal,” to "Wires in your furnace’s motor can overheat and smell like chlorine. Call a service technician immediately to avoid a fire!”

I opted to call a service technician…just to be safe…and to prevent my house from becoming a pile of ashes in time for Christmas.

Three technicians later, I still was hearing the same response: “Never heard of such a thing. Have you been using cleaners with bleach in them near the furnace?”

“No. The only smell I have in my basement is mildew.”

Finally, one technician said he would come check things out…in three weeks. By then, I thought, I could become a charcoal briquette. But having no other option, I agreed.

“Do you really want someone to come over to check out your furnace when he’s already admitted he's never even heard of such a problem?" my friend asked me when I updated her. "You're leaving yourself wide open for him to charge you for a bunch of stuff you don’t even need. He’s probably leafing through a how-to manual at this very minute so he can make a list of parts.”

“Well, I’m hoping he at least will be able to tell me if the wires are overheating,” I said.

“And if they aren’t,” she said, "he'll find some other reason for the odor, even if he has to invent something, just to make a sale.”

She wasn’t exactly filling me with optimism.

Anyway, as I await the technician's visit and his verdict, I once again find myself afraid to spend any more money on Christmas gifts in case I do have to pay for some expensive furnace part(s). And this leads me to suffer a bad case of déjà vu.

Below is a newspaper column I wrote back in late November of 2005, to show you what I mean. Back then, I lived in a different house and had an oil furnace, but it doesn’t matter. Some things never change...


Two weeks ago, I got out of bed on a chilly Saturday morning, padded out to the living room and turned up the thermostat to 68 degrees. I then waited for the familiar sound of the furnace kicking on.

Nothing happened.

I cranked up the thermostat to 80. Still nothing.

I opened my mouth to shout to my sleeping husband, but then changed my mind. First, I decided, I would try everything possible to get the furnace to pop on. If I failed, then, and only then, would I wake up Rip Van Breslin.

First I checked the oil tank. The gauge said it was half full. Then I checked the circuit breakers. They were fine. Finally, I hit the furnace’s reset button. Nothing happened. There was only one thing left to do…write two obituaries – one for the furnace and one for myself…if I dared to wake up my husband on a Saturday morning.

In a last-ditch effort, I called my cousin, a heating/refrigeration technician, and asked for advice. He ran through the list of everything I’d already done, then said there was one more thing I could try.

“You know those two screws on the motor that are holding the wires down? Well, sometimes you can jump-start the furnace if you take a pair of needle-nose pliers and touch the two screws with them at the same time.”

“Won’t I get a shock if I do that?” I asked.

“Yeah, but it will only be a mild one.”

I woke up my husband.

“We’re not calling a repairman till Monday,” he said after he tried and failed to get the furnace to pop on. “They charge double, even triple on weekends. I’d rather wear a hat and long-johns around the house than pay all of that extra money for nothing. Besides that, the furnace is practically new. It can’t be broken!”

“Well, I hate to say it,” I said, “but the blue tint on my lips and my teeth chattering like castanets are a pretty good indication it just might be!”

So all weekend, I suffered with a frozen nose and a bloated bladder (from drinking 400 cups of hot tea to keep my body from stiffening up).

The repairman arrived on Monday afternoon and spent a lot of time fiddling with the furnace. At one point, he actually got it to pop on, only to have it  drop dead again. This continued until he finally got so frustrated, he muttered a few things under his breath and called for backup. Another repairman arrived within 15 minutes.

Together, the two of them stared at the furnace as if it were a UFO. “I think it’s the heat sensor,” one of them said. “And let’s change the nozzle, just to be safe.”

An hour later, the familiar sound of the furnace running filled the house, followed by the long-awaited blast of warm air. I removed my scarf and earmuffs.

“That should take care of it,” one of the repairmen said. “If not, be sure to give us a call.”

“How much do I owe you?” I asked, bracing myself for cardiac arrest.

He shrugged. “You’ll get a bill in the mail.”

I didn’t like the sound of that. Visions of them leisurely sipping coffee and taking extra time to add every little nut, bolt and screw to my bill, filled my head. Christmas shopping, I decided, would have to be put on hold until that bill arrived.

A week later, I still hadn’t received the bill, so I got up that morning with every intention of calling the billing office and asking about my balance. First, however, I turned up the heat.

The furnace made three loud booming sounds, then coughed and died. The strong smell of oil began to fill the house. The furnace struggled to pop on again but only made a helicopter sound. I, picturing my house going airborne and landing somewhere in Munchkin Land, dashed to the furnace’s emergency shut-off switch and flipped it. Then I called the repairman.

I was put on hold for 45 minutes.

There have been only a few times in my life when I’ve been really angry, like the time I found out that my supposedly sick boyfriend actually had taken my best friend to a drive-in movie, but I honestly can say that after minute number 35 on hold, I was feeling just about that angry. In fact, I was so hot under the collar, I didn’t even need the dumb furnace.

The same repairman arrived two hours later. This time, he decided it was a clogged fuel line. Maybe it was sediment from the bottom of the tank, he said. Or maybe it was a kink in the line. Or maybe it was air in the line. Or maybe it was a clump of jellified oil.

I was waiting for him to say that maybe a rattlesnake had crawled up into it and died, but he stopped talking and set to work clearing the line.

The furnace, knock on wood, has been purring like a kitten ever since.

And I’m still waiting for both repair bills.

I have the sneaking suspicion I’ll be doing all of my Christmas shopping at Dollar Tree this year.

#   #   #


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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, December 4, 2023



Recently, one of my friends who collects realistic-looking baby dolls spent over $100 on one that was advertised as looking so real, it was guaranteed to make people think it was a genuine newborn. In fact, the doll in the photo in the advertisement resembled an actual living, breathing baby.

In retrospect, it probably was.

What my friend ended up receiving was a package from China (even though the company’s address was listed as being in New York) that contained a cheap plastic doll that looked as if someone had won it at a carnival after hitting a balloon with a dart.

I really could empathize with how she felt, mainly because of something that happened to me back in the 1950s…when I was an impressionable young child.

And it still causes me trauma to this day.

I blame it on those evil, deceiving comic-book advertisements that crushed thousands of children’s spirits back then. After all, if you can’t trust an ad in a Little Lulu comic book, then what can you trust?

I probably sound overly dramatic, but I feel justified.

Growing up, I loved dolls so much, I couldn't get enough of them. My dolls all had names and I treated them as if I were their mother. I talked to them, sang to them and slept with them. And on Christmas Eve, I even hung up stockings for them so Santa would fill them...(enter devious chuckling here).

So when I was about nine years old and saw this advertisement in the back of one my comic books, my eyes grew as big as saucers and my heartbeat increased.

I ran to my mother, who was watching her soap opera, and waved the comic book in her face just as Patty was about to confess something shocking to her mother on TV.

“Please, Mommy!” I begged. “Can I get these dolls? I really, really, really want them!”

My mother took the comic book from me and scanned the ad. She then read the details as I held my breath and stared, not even blinking at her.

There was no way she could refuse, I told myself. I mean, a hundred dolls made of Styrene (whatever that was!) for only a dollar? Where else could you buy dolls for only a penny each?

Granted, a dollar was a lot of money back then. It could buy 20 full-sized candy bars, or admission to a double-feature movie, including a box of popcorn and a box of Milk Duds.

But heck, that wasn't nearly as exciting as having a hundred dolls!

“I don’t know..." my mother said, frowning, after she'd finished reading the ad. "You know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true…it usually is."

“But look at them!” I said, beginning to feel desperate and pointing at the ad. “They have dancers, cowboys, babies and clowns! I could play with them and make my own town!”

“That’s not a real picture of them, though,” Mom said. “It's only a drawing. So you don't know what the dolls really look like.”

When she saw my look of disappointment, she finally sighed and said, “You’ll have to save your allowance. Once you have a dollar, then I’ll send away for them for you, OK?”

My allowance was only a quarter a week, so to me, saving a whole dollar seemed as if would take months, maybe even years.

That night, when my dad got home from work, I showed the advertisement to him – mainly because I knew he was a soft touch. Within five minutes, I had a dollar bill in my greedy little paws.

And as promised, Mom sent for the dolls. Every day after she did, I practically stalked the mailman. I was on summer vacation from school, so I was able to keep a close watch on the mailbox.

Finally, after my patience completely had run out, the mailman delivered a package to me. But instead of the squeals of delight I’d anticipated would be my reaction, I only stared silently at it. My expression was one of total confusion.

The package wasn’t even the size of a box of tissues. How, I wondered, could 100 dolls possibly be in a box that small? One doll, maybe, but no way could 100 ever fit in there.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. When my mother and I opened the box, it contained mostly packing material. The dolls were in a plastic bag about the size of a modern-day sandwich bag. When I saw the actual dolls, I burst into tears. In my naïve little mind, I had envisioned them as being actual dolls wearing real dresses and colorful outfits.

But all of the dolls and their outfits were made of the same pale-pink plastic and were so tiny, they looked as if they had come straight out of a gum machine. And they all were standing on bases, which hadn't been shown in the original ad.

My mother didn’t look too pleased either. She frowned at the bag of dolls and said what I knew she was going to say but had hoped she wouldn’t…"I told you the ad sounded too good to be true. But honestly, I'm really sorry I was right.” She arched a brow at me and forced a smile as she added, “Maybe we can have fun painting their outfits, though. How about that?" 

I was much too upset to be interested at that point. I didn’t ever want to look at those cheap, plastic, gum-machine dolls again. They, in my opinion, didn’t even deserve the honor of being called dolls.

Still, the advertisers in the comic books didn’t care or have any conscience, because they continued to dupe young kids for years. My cousin, for example, not long after I received my crappy dolls, begged his parents for this log-cabin playhouse he saw advertised in the back of a comic book. When they said yes, he practically danced a jig, he was so excited. He even told a bunch of his friends that after it arrived, they could come play “Davy Crockett” in it with him.

What ended up arriving, however, was a large manila envelope that contained a folded, thin plastic sheet with a picture of a cabin printed on it. The instructions said to drape it over a table and then crawl underneath the table.

My cousin didn't even want to show his face in school after that, he was so humiliated. I honestly felt sorry for him.

But on the other hand, at least I had someone to commiserate with.

That is, until I saw the ad for sea monkeys...

 #   #   #

Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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, November 27, 2023



Last Monday morning, the week of Thanksgiving, I was cozy and warm in bed when my dogs suddenly barked and woke me up. I barely managed to pry my eyes open when the doorbell rang, which incited another round of frenzied barking.

Well, there was no way I was about to crawl out of bed and open the door. For one thing, I had no idea who was out there. Anyone who knows me is fully aware I'm not a morning person. So that meant it probably was a stranger.

Like a guy selling driveway paving because he had some leftover asphalt from his previous job.

Or an escaped criminal looking for a hideout.

Or a hungry bear looking for…well, just about anything.

Secondly, if I answered the door looking the way I usually do when I first wake up in the morning – thermal pajamas, hair curlers, face cream, and my bangs sticking up like porcupine quills – I’d frighten away anyone who was out there…including the bear.

So I didn’t budge.

Within a few seconds, the doorbell stopped ringing, the dogs stopped barking and I rolled over and went back to sleep. 

About 45 minutes later, however, the doorbell rang again. By then, I was feeling slightly irritated, especially since my dogs were acting as if a UFO had just landed on the front lawn and alien beings were surrounding the house.

But this time, the doorbell ringer wasn’t satisfied with just the usual “ding dong." No, it was "ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong" in rapid succession. And when all of those dings and dongs failed to elicit any response from me, I heard the visitor walk back and force across my porch, then switch to knocking…loudly…also in rapid succession.

When it continued, I became annoyed – so annoyed, I no longer cared how I looked. I got out of bed, shoved my feet into my fleecy slippers and stomped out to the living room. The front door has an outer storm door, which I also keep locked, so I felt safe enough to open the inside door just a crack.

I did consider shouting “Who is it?” first, but finally, I just creaked open the door about two inches.

Never would I have guessed who was standing there.

It was a police officer…a tall, young and handsome police officer. In fact, I had to stop and think about what occasion it might be that would inspire one of my friends to play a joke on me and embarrass me by sending over one of those male exotic dancers who dressed like a cop.

But this officer turned out to be a real policeman (darn it!).

He asked if I was Sally and then, “Are you okay?" 

Why, I wondered, would he be asking me that? Had I slept so soundly, some natural disaster had struck while I was snoring? Or maybe there was a vicious, drooling, wild animal (or person?) running rampant on my property?

“I’m fine,” I said. "I was sleeping."

I think the fact I wouldn’t open the door any wider than a crack made him think I might be hiding a fugitive or someone in the house, because he stretched his neck to look past me and into the living room.

“Sorry to wake you,” he said. “But we received a call to do a wellness check on you. The caller said he hadn’t seen you or heard from you in weeks.”

I hadn’t expected that one. 

“Weeks?” I repeated. “I can’t think of anyone I haven't been in touch with, and I'm always posting stuff on social media. Also, I take my daily walk around the neighborhood and say hi to or wave at everyone."

“Well, I'm glad you're all right. Sorry again to disturb you. Have a nice day."

I closed the door, locked it and went back to bed, but my eyes were wider than an owl’s by then, and my heart was pounding like a jackhammer. There was no way I was going to get any sleep until I found out who had requested the wellness check.

So I got up and called the local police department. When I gave my name to the woman who answered, she said, "Oh, Sally! I'm so glad you're all right! I was worried about you when I saw your name!"

To be honest, it made feel good to know that people were so concerned about me. I’ve often had visions of myself lying on the basement floor after tumbling down the stairs, and not being found until the spiders down there had completely wrapped me in webs, like a mummy.

I asked the woman if she could tell me who'd contacted the police about me, and she gave me the information – a very nice couple who live about a mile up the road from me.

I thanked her and then called the couple. The husband answered and was happy to hear I was still kicking. He then explained he’d been out walking his dog and noticed I hadn’t picked up my Sunday newspaper in the tube out by my mailbox. He said he was worried I’d fallen or that something bad had happened to me, so he rang my doorbell to check on me. When there was no answer, he phoned the police. 

Well, that explained it.

I also hadn’t put my trash out for the weekly Monday-morning pickup because there was only one bag in the container (which is big enough to house a family of four), so I figured I could be lazy and wait another week. 

In retrospect, that probably didn’t help much either. 

I thanked the couple and told them I really appreciated their concern...and I truly meant it. 

In fact, they can call back that same police officer to come check on me again any time they’d like.


#   #   #


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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, November 20, 2023




It’s that time of year again when I have to start thinking about Christmas shopping. And believe me, just the thought of it causes my palms to get clammy and my heart to race.

Every Christmas season I struggle for weeks until I finally come up with what I feel certain is a perfect gift for each person on my gift list…only to have it turn out to be a complete disaster.

For example, I still vividly remember the year I decided to buy my mother a necklace she had seen a woman wearing and raved about, saying she would love to have one like it. Her description of it turned out to be something called a ladder-style necklace, which was popular at the time. The pendant resembled a tiny gold ladder, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. About two-thirds of the way down the ladder, there was a rung with a diamond on it.

I figured that for once, it would be a snap to buy my mother a gift she was certain to love...and with no racking of my brain involved.

And once again, I’d figured wrong.

I searched in the fine-jewelry departments in two big department stores, and then in two jewelry stores...with no luck. Finally, I entered a third jewelry store. A sales clerk who was at the far end of the store spotted me and made the 20-yard dash in two seconds flat. I barely had set one eye on the display case of diamond necklaces when she leaned over the counter and gushed, “Aren’t they all just beee-yoo-tiful?”

I frowned and sighed. “Sorry, no, they’re not. The necklace I want isn’t here.” I turned to leave.

“Wait!” the clerk called out (obviously eager to still snag a commission). “I’ll get our goldsmith. He can make you anything you want.”

Before I could open my mouth to protest (because I knew anything that had to be specially made would require me to rob a bank to pay for it), the goldsmith appeared, asking me to describe the necklace I wanted. I did, and after I was done, he took a pen and pad of paper out of his pocket and quickly sketched something.

“Is this it?” he asked, holding up the pad.

His drawing of the pendant was perfect, absolutely perfect. I was impressed.

“I can have this for you in three days,” he said. He then quoted a price that was far below what I’d anticipated. I ordered the necklace.

Eight days later, I received a call from a woman at the jewelry store. “Your necklace is ready!” she excitedly said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous! Stunning!  I can’t wait for you to see it!”

 I rushed over to the mall.

The goldsmith, smiling with pride, showed me a necklace. It was a solitaire diamond, bezel set, dangling from a big gold triangle through which a chain was strung. 

What do you think?” he asked.

“It’s lovely,” I said, feeling just slightly impatient. “But I’m really anxious to see my necklace, so please, don’t keep me waiting any longer!”

The goldsmith’s face dropped. “This IS your necklace.”

I just stared at him, waiting for him to tell me he was joking. Unfortunately, he was serious.

“Do you still have that sketch you drew for me?”  I asked. He quickly retrieved it. I took it from him and looked at it, then laid it on the counter and set the necklace right next to it.

“So tell me honestly,” I said. “Do you really think this necklace resembles the one in the sketch?”

He shrugged and shook his head. “No, but it’s still a beautiful necklace, so you shouldn’t be disappointed.”

Again, I just stared at him. I suspected he'd either forgotten all about making my necklace or he'd tried and thought it was too much work, so he'd just grabbed some other necklace he'd had out back. 

Several moments passed before I finally said, “Then what you’re saying is if I were a seamstress and you ordered a business suit from me, it would be okay for me to give you a sequined gown instead, just because it’s beautiful?”

His cheeks flushed. “Well, no, of course not. What on earth would I do with a gown?”

“Probably the same thing I’m going to do with this necklace,” I said, louder than I’d intended. “I’m not going to buy it! 

Within seconds, the store’s manager was by my side, asking if there was a problem. I showed him the sketch, then the necklace. His expression told me he also thought the goldsmith should invest in a good pair of bifocals.

“I will personally make this for you,” the manager said, studying the sketch.

“There's not enough time left now,” I muttered.

“You will have it tomorrow. I give you my word on that.”

Sure enough, the next afternoon he called and told me the necklace was ready. I rushed back to the mall.

The manager looked as if he’d just crawled out of bed. His hair was messy, his eyes were red and puffy, and his shirt was wrinkled.

“I spent the entire night making this necklace for you,” he told me. “But I guarantee you will be pleased.”

Call me fussy, but I wasn’t pleased. The pendant looked like a short, fat letter “H.”  The sides weren't long and tapered, so they made it look chunky instead of graceful. Still, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the poor guy I didn’t like it, even though I had visions of my mother being asked what the "H" stood for whenever she wore it.

I sighed. “It’s fine. Wrap it up.”

The manager was so relieved, he grabbed my hand and vigorously shook it, then said, “I’m so pleased! For a moment there, I had a sinking feeling you didn’t like it!”

The man definitely was perceptive.

After I left the store, I wandered into J.C. Penney’s in search of a handbag. As I walked past their fine- jewelry counter, something in the case happened to catch my eye. I moved closer to investigate. It was the exact necklace I'd wanted for my mother all along…at half of what I’d just paid for the short, fat “H.”

It’s not often you see a grown woman stomping her foot and shouting, “No! No! Nooooo!” in the center aisle of J.C. Penney’s jewelry department.

To this day, I'm still hoping they thought I was shouting, “Ho, ho, ho!”           


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Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and 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