Friday, January 27, 2023



Since the 1970s, I have lived in only two different houses – about six miles apart and both near Bear Brook State Park.

The first house had easy access to the park’s massive web of snowmobile trails…like ten feet from our backyard. Someone once told me the trails went all the way to Canada, but I have no idea if they actually do or not.

Every winter weekend, several of our neighbors would gather with their snowmobiles at the house next door, which also had direct access to the trails, and go zooming off for hours, often not returning until late at night.

And every time they left on these treks, my husband, kind of like a kid with his nose pressed against the glass, would stand in the window and look longingly at them as they sped away.

 “Gee, I sure wish I could join them,” he’d say with a dramatic sigh. “I’d love to have a snowmobile and go speeding off through the woods. What a great way to unwind.”

“There’s no way we can afford to buy a snowmobile right now." I’d say, completely dashing his hopes. “The house takes priority. The bathroom skylight is leaking again and so is the water heater. The only thing holding it together is rust.”

Still, just out of curiosity, I asked my friend Nora, whose husband had bought each of them a snowmobile so they could go out riding every weekend, if she enjoyed the sport.

“Heck, no,” she said, shaking her head and frowning. “For one thing, my snowmobile jumpsuit zips all the way up the front. So when we’re out in the middle of nowhere and I have to pee in the woods, I have to unzip it and get completely out of it. Talk about cold! And even when I’m wearing it fully zipped up, I’m still freezing. If it’s 20 degrees out and you’re going 35 or 40 miles per hour, you’re getting hit with a wind-chill of below zero!”

She didn’t exactly make it sound like loads of fun. 

Still, my husband persisted until one of the neighbors finally invited him to ride on the back of his snowmobile and go out with the group one Saturday. He leapt at the opportunity.

“But you don’t have one of those insulated snowmobile suits or even any warm boots,” I protested. “You’ll freeze to death out there.”

“I’ll wear long underwear and two pairs of socks,” he said.

Even though I tried, there was no way I was able to talk him out of going on that ride. So, off he went, on the back of the neighbor’s sleek, new snowmobile that afternoon. I didn’t see him again until nearly 11 PM. By then, I was really concerned because I was certain he was wrapped around the trunk of a tree and frozen to it, somewhere up near the Canadian border.  

He returned cold, wet, hungry and exhausted.

I selfishly, thought, “Yes! Now he’ll finally stop talking about buying a snowmobile!”

But I was wrong, He raved about what a great time he’d had, how he’d felt as if he were flying through the trees like a free bird, and how beautiful the views had been on certain areas of the trails.

So his longing (a.k.a. whining) for a snowmobile continued…even worse than before.

All I can say is fate often works in mysterious (and sometimes cruel) ways. And as the old saying goes…be careful what you wish for.

Not long after that trail ride, we received news that my uncle had passed away…and left his snowmobile to my husband because he knew how much he wanted one.

Not only was my husband extremely touched, he also was more excited than a kid on Christmas Eve. The moment he heard the news about the snowmobile, he already was making plans to join the neighbors on their next trail ride. We knew nothing about the snowmobile – the make, model, year, etc. – but my aunt assured us it was in great condition and we could come pick it up whenever we wanted.

Of course, to my husband, that meant hanging up the phone and rushing over to the neighbor’s house to ask him, because he had a truck and a snowmobile trailer, if he could take him to pick up his new treasure.

I wasn’t about to miss out on the excitement and let them go to my aunt’s without me, so I squeezed into the truck with them.

I’ll never forget my husband’s expression when he first set eyes on his “gift” from my uncle. I honestly had to bite down on my bottom lip so I wouldn’t burst out laughing and offend my aunt. The snowmobile looked as if it might have been one of the first ones ever built. It was solid red and boxy shaped, with two huge skis sticking out on the front, and a really uncomfortable-looking black seat with no padding on it. Compared to our neighbors’ modern, shiny machines, it looked…well, pretty pathetic.

Still, my husband figured any snowmobile was better than none at all, so he and the neighbor loaded it into the trailer and brought it home.

The next weekend, my husband was ready to join the trail riders on what turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year. Luckily, my aunt also had given him my uncle’s gear, such as a snowmobile suit, gloves, boots and a helmet, so he was dressed and ready to go an hour before the group planned to leave.

The snowmobile suit was big, however, so my husband made sure to wear a lot of layers underneath it. He resembled the Pillsbury Dough Boy as he waddled outside.

I went out to watch the group take off, with my husband on his inaugural ride. One of the neighborhood kids, Richard, who was about 10 at the time, stood next to me.

My husband was last in line as the four machines ahead of him zoomed off and hit the trail, leaving him in a cloud of snow. He and his spiffy old relic crawled along, coming to a snow bank just before the trail began, which the others easily had soared right over. His machine, however, struggled to climb the banking, got halfway up and stopped dead. Then, in slow motion, with my husband still gripping the handles, the snowmobile began to topple over backwards and tilt sideways, landing on the ground.

So there was my husband, lying on his side in the snow, his hands still gripping the snowmobile.

Richard and I rushed over to help him. He assured us he was fine and the only thing he’d injured was his pride. Then he said he didn’t think he could get up because he was wearing too many clothes. Richard and I couldn’t help it, we cracked up laughing. Even my husband realized how silly he must have looked, and also started to laugh.

He still did end up going on the trail ride that night, though, but he never told me how it went. Judging from the expression on his face when he returned home however, I was pretty sure it hadn’t been the exciting party-type adventure he’d imagined. I also was pretty sure the group had given up waiting for him to chug along behind them all night and catch up, so he’d probably spent most of his night alone on the trails.

And shortly after that, he sold the snowmobile to an antique dealer.

He never mentioned wanting one again…even when we bought our current eight-acre property and discovered it had trails all over it.

No, he decided he’d rather have a motorcycle instead.


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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:




Saturday, January 21, 2023



For some reason, I’ve always been obsessed with soup. I absolutely have to eat it every day, even in the middle of summer when it’s 95 degrees outside.

My fascination with soup began when I was three and had an electric toy-stove (yes, it actually plugged into the wall and was designed by sadists to teach children what first-degree burns felt like). My mom would give me the scraps from whatever she was cooking for dinner, so I could make a little pot of soup with them and surprise my father when he got home from work.

It wasn’t until my father discovered where I was getting the water for the soup that my soup-making days came to an abrupt end. I mean, I was only a little kid who couldn’t reach the sink, so I was forced to get the water from the only place I could…the bathroom bowl.

You would think my mother would have figured it out much sooner and stopped I wouldn’t have been accused of trying to kill my father.

Anyway, my tastes in soup always have been a bit weird. When I was a kid, all my friends were hooked on Campbell’s chicken-noodle soup, but I never was a big fan of it. Back then, the chicken in it amounted to about five miniscule cubes of something that had the consistency of bubble gum. And the noodles were more like stiff spaghetti, all in a salty broth. Not exactly gourmet fare.

So my two favorite Campbell’s soups when I was growing up were tomato and one called chicken gumbo, which had, of all things, okra in it. As a New Hampshire kid, I had no idea what okra was, but I really liked it in that soup.

As I said, my tastes were kind of weird.

When Campbell’s came out with their Chunky brand of soups in 1970, however, I was hooked. Technically, the Chunky Beef soup was more like stew, but it was one of my favorites. I also liked the Chunky clam chowder.  There was no need to add milk or water to it – it was great heated up straight out of the can. Sure, the clams could have been less rubbery, but the flavor was excellent.

Luckily, my mother also created some great homemade soups, her specialty being chicken-tomato-macaroni. I could have eaten the entire pot of it every time she made it, but unfortunately, my parents also wanted their share.         

I noticed that some of my friends’ mothers, however, weren’t quite as talented at making soup. One time, when my friend Linda invited me over for lunch and told me her mother was making soup, I leapt at the opportunity. Well, the soup turned out to be her mother’s ‘unique’ recipe – hamburger and lettuce soup. In a word, it was disgusting – clumps of hamburger floating on top of a grease slick surround by limp, soggy, lettuce and chopped onions that had absorbed a lot of the grease.

The woman should have been arrested for cruelty to children.

After I was married, my husband made the mistake of taking me to lunch at a Greek restaurant called Theo’s. That was the day I tasted my first bowl of their chicken-lemon-rice soup…and I instantly became addicted. 

I soon craved that soup so much, I had to have it at least two to three times a week. The only problem was the cooks made it only on Saturdays. It got to the point where I was so desperate for their soup, I’d drive to the restaurant every Saturday, even during blizzards, and bring a big Tupperware container with me. Then I'd say, “Fill it up with chicken- lemon-rice soup – to go!”  Drooling, I’d bring the container home and eat the soup for the next three days. And when it was gone, I'd count the hours until Saturday would arrive again so I could stock up on some more.

But alas, one fateful day, the owners of the restaurant returned to Greece and took their secret family-recipe for the soup with them. Desperate, I visited other Greek restaurants in the area and tried their chicken-lemon-rice soup, but nothing could compare to Theo’s.

Nowadays, I make a simple daily soup for myself (simple, mainly because I’m lazy).

I chop up potatoes and toss them into the pot. Then I take a few boneless, skinless chicken-tenders and using meat scissors, snip them into bite-sized pieces and toss them in, too. I add salt, pepper and water, and simmer until everything is cooked, then I add the final ingredient to the pot – a generous amount of V-8 juice. I figure, why spend my time peeling and chopping a bunch of vegetables when V-8 has eight of them already combined in liquid form, all in a convenient bottle?

I simmer my concoction until it’s fairly thick, and then I eat it. The next day, I go through the same process all over again because I like the soup only when it’s fresh. In fact, I already have today’s pot of it simmering on the stove as I’m writing this.

Because of my soup addiction, I’ve eaten so much chicken in the past few years, I’m pretty sure I’ll be sprouting feathers and laying eggs any day now.

But considering the current price of eggs, I guess that might not be such a bad thing.

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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:




Friday, January 13, 2023



There was a woman on TV the other day who said her full-time job was entering contests and winning fabulous prizes. She then proceeded to show off her cars, boats, stacks of money and big-screen TV, all of which she said she’d won during the past year. 

I glared at the woman. 

That's because it’s so much easier to enter contests in this day and age – the era of texting and emailing. But back in the 1970s when I spent countless hours making a valiant effort to win prizes, it involved a whole lot more work, planning and strategizing. 

It all began when I purchased a book that supposedly divulged all of the secrets to entering contests and actually winning something. I read the book from cover to cover about 10 times and memorized nearly every word. And I must confess, I really did learn a lot from that book.

 For example, it said contest entry blanks had to be filled out exactly as listed in the rules. If the rules stated to hand print your name and address and you typed them or wrote them in longhand, you’d be disqualified. If they instructed you to send a postcard and you sent a piece of paper in an envelope, you’d be disqualified. And if the mailing address where to send the entry said Boston, MA and you wrote out the word Massachusetts, you’d be disqualified. 

All of this nit-picking and fussiness, according to the book, was to purposely narrow down the number of eligible entries. The book also advised contest hopefuls to send a few entries each week during the entire run of the contest. That way, there would be more of a chance of getting entries into each separate mailbag instead of having them all wind up in the same one. And, to further increase the chances of winning, it recommended sending the most entries the last week of the contest so they'd land in the top portion of the mailbags instead of buried somewhere at the bottom.

As visions of winning mountains of money and a fleet of shiny new cars filled my head, I drove to the local pharmacy and purchased a stack of magazines, some envelopes (the business-sized ones, which the book said were pulled out of the sacks of entries more often because they were bigger), 3x5-inch index cards and a variety of ink pens in different colors. Then I headed to the post office to buy a roll of stamps and some blank postcards.

 I was ready.

I flipped through the magazines and found quite a few sweepstakes that offered exciting prizes such as cars, money, exotic trips and home-entertainment systems. I carefully cut out the rules for each contest and then numbered them according to their entry deadlines. Finally, I began to write out my entries.

The first time I received a registered letter from a place called the National Judging Institute in New York, I nearly needed CPR. 

“You are a winner in the Benson & Hedges 100’s Sweepstakes,” the letter stated. “Please fill out the enclosed affidavit and return it to us to claim your prize.”

My hands trembled as I filled out the form and then rushed to the post office to mail it. That night, when I told my husband that he’d probably soon be driving around town in a brand new 1975 Cadillac, he no longer thought my obsession with contests was (quote), “a big waste of time and money because nobody ever really wins those things.”

A few weeks later, I received another letter from the National Judging Institute informing me of my prize. To my disbelief, I’d won 100 bags of marbles. I felt the blood rush to my face as I stood there gripping the letter and wondering what kind of a dumb prize that was…and how on earth I was going to delicately break the news to my husband that he was going to have to keep driving around in his second-hand Gremlin. That’s when I happened to read the rest of the letter. It said that I could opt for a $200 cash prize in lieu of the marbles. It wasn’t a car but heck, $200 was a lot of money back in 1975. I was tickled pink.

My contest obsession officially had begun.

Over the next few months, however, no matter how hard I tried, I never was able to win the grand prize in any of the contests I entered. Third prize was about the highest I ever reached. Some of my prizes included: a backgammon set from Realemon, a travel book from L&M, a bath set from Jovan, $50 in groceries from Palmolive, a Disney GAF Viewmaster from Hostess, a rainforest umbrella from S.C. Johnson, $100 worth of jewelry from WFEA Radio and a set of hourglass-shaped Tab glasses from Coca-Cola. I also won official Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors autographed tennis racquets, but seeing that I knew nothing about tennis and had no clue who Chris and Jimmy were, I sold the racquets for $5 at a yard sale. And then I won a year’s supply of hot-dogs…instead of the trip for six to Disney World.

I stopped entering contests when the postage rates went up, but a few years later, I found the how-to-win-contests book in my desk drawer, reread it and decided to try my luck once again. This time, however, I selected only one contest (the one with the biggest grand prize) and concentrated on entering and winning only that one. I figured that sending all of my entries to just one contest instead of spreading them out over several would give me better odds of winning. I spent over $35 on postage, but I knew it was going to be worth it in the end when I’d be awarded the huge cash prize.

And then I proceeded to write out entries and envelopes until I developed a crippling case of writer's cramp.

But I actually did end up winning a prize for my efforts. It was (and I am totally serious here) an exciting package of Shamu the Killer Whale stationery.  

I think I left it, along with the how-to-win-contests book, in the back seat of my husband’s Gremlin when it was towed to the junkyard.

Now, and for the past three years, I’ve been entering online sweepstakes daily. They offer everything from $10,000 to $250,000 in cash, a new house, cars, and luxury vacations.

And so far, I’ve won absolutely nothing. But it hasn’t cost me a cent to enter, so I guess I can’t complain.

Still, I’m getting so frustrated, I think I’d even welcome some Shamu the Killer Whale stationery right about now. 

It's the principle of the thing.

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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:






Thursday, January 5, 2023



My friend Emily and I currently are into exploring natural health methods, so we subscribe to several different newsletters from holistic physicians, and then we enjoy comparing notes.

One of the newsletters I recently received mentioned that laughter truly is great medicine because it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells, oxygen levels and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving resistance to disease. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. 

I remember, many years ago, reading a similar article written by a Dr. Weil, who stated that the average child laughs approximately 400 times a day, while the average adult laughs only 25.  He recommended that adults also should try to laugh 400 times daily to improve their immune systems and promote better health. To me, it sounded like a fun way to get healthier.

But when I read the article to my husband, he failed to share my enthusiasm.

“If I laughed 400 times a day,” he said, “I’d be fired from my job. Everyone would think I’d either been nipping from a flask hidden in my desk drawer or smoking something in the men’s room.”

“Well, I think we at least should give it a try,” I said. “It certainly can’t hurt.”

We soon learned that laughing 400 times a day was no easy task. We even made a contest of it, telling jokes and funny stories to each other. Then, when one of us laughed, the other would say, “That’s 22! Only 378 more to go!”

But alas, my biggest one-day laugh total turned out to be only 55. And even that many made my stomach hurt.

Not only that, we weren’t even sure what constituted a full laugh. Were we supposed to count each “ha” separately? Or was one laugh considered to be from the first “ha” to the last one in a cluster? 

Needless to say, no matter how we counted them, we still never even came close to reaching the daily laugh requirement.

But recently, mainly because I’ve been suffering from a case of the winter blues already, I decided to give the laughter thing another try. I watched a full night of programs on Comedy Central. Then I read jokes on humorous websites. A few of them gave me a chuckle or two, but they weren’t nearly strong enough to increase my oxygen level.

For example, these are some of the jokes:

·        Camping: Where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person.

·        “I’m doing great on my diet…currently on day 12 without chocolate. I think I just lost hearing in my left eye.”

·        “If you see me talking to myself, just move along. I’m self-employed and am holding a staff meeting.”

·        “My new SUV has a button that says ‘rear wiper.’  I’m afraid to press it.”

·        What’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it hits a windshield?  Its butt!

·        “Did you adopt your dog?”   “No, I’m his biological mother.”

So after two full days, I’m disappointed to say I’ve counted only about 48 bona-fide laughs.

Personally, I think those kids who laugh 400 times a day must be eating way too much sugar.


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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: