Sunday, September 24, 2023



The last time I had an appointment with a podiatrist, he diagnosed me with bunions, hammertoes, fallen arches, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. He jokingly added that I should have my feet photographed for podiatry textbooks because they featured just about every problem and ailment a future podiatrist ever could hope to encounter.

I blame it on the Cinderella syndrome.

In the story of Cinderella, she loses her dainty glass slipper at the ball when she dashes off to make it home by midnight. The prince, who falls madly in love with her after only one dance, never has the chance to find out anything about her, including her name, so he orders his men to take the glass slipper to every unwed female in the kingdom and have her try it on. The lady whose foot fits the slipper perfectly, he declares, will have the honor of becoming his bride.

Well, every woman in the kingdom dreamed of marrying the handsome prince, but to their dismay, they all had big feet…and the glass slipper was only about a size two. Still, out of desperation, they struggled, grunted and even considered chopping off a few of their toes in their efforts to wedge their feet into it. 

I can empathize.

During my teens and early twenties, wearing fashionable footwear was important to me. In fact, I was one of the first to rush out and buy a pair of go-go boots when they first came out. But I didn’t want the popular white ones. No, I wanted the more unique tan suede ones. 

Alas, the particular boots I set my sights on ran small, and the highest size they came in was a nine…which happened to be my size.

Trying them on was such a painful struggle, I soon worked up a sweat. And when I finally managed to wedge my feet into the boots, they were so tight, my toes actually were curled back.

But I wasn’t about to go home without those precious go-go boots. So I bought them and wore them every day…and possibly broke a world record for the greatest number of blisters ever counted on a single human foot.

But did the suffering prevent me from ever buying too-tight shoes again?

Heck no.

Another time, I must have shopped in 12 different shoe stores during my search to find a pair of purple high heels to match a purple skirt I’d bought. Finally, in a bargain-basement store, I found a pair in a closeout bin. They were exactly what I’d been searching for – the perfect shade of purple, just the right heel height and an unbelievable price of only $4.99. I was excited.

There was just one small problem, however...they were only a size eight.

I did everything short of greasing my feet with butter before I finally managed to squeeze into those shoes. And even though every step I took in them made me wince, I still bought them. I even convinced myself that maybe if I lost about 10 lbs., my feet would shrink and the shoes would fit more comfortably.

All that really mattered to me at that time – 1969 – was they were purple.

And my bruised feet soon matched that exact color whenever I wore the shoes for more than an hour.

I did discover that feet are smaller in the morning and tend to swell as the day progresses. So even though I managed to fit into the too-small shoes at 7:00 AM, I practically needed the Jaws of Life to get my feet out of them at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Over the years, I eventually did learn my lesson as the aforementioned bunions and hammertoes began to form. And now I’m forced to buy shoes that are one or two sizes larger than my usual size, just to accommodate all of those weird bumps and deformities. Comfort, I’ve now discovered, is much more important to me than style. In fact, I often buy men’s shoes because they are much roomier across my permanently bent toes.     

Yep. There’s nothing sexier than a low-cut black dress accessorized with a nice pair of men’s wingtips or Oxfords. 

It’s all your fault, Cinderella.


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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:












Saturday, September 16, 2023


Have you ever noticed how vehicles seem to choose the worst possible times to die? 

Over the years, I've had my cars wheeze and take their last breath right before a major appointment, on the way to an interview, on my first day of a new job, and in the middle of a bridge. They never died, however, when I was headed to the dentist's office for a root canal, or to eat dinner at my aunt's - the one who tried to make an apple pie in a double-boiler and actually believed spaghetti came from underground pasta mines in Italy.

I still vividly recall when, back in 2012, during this exact time of year, a vehicle problem caused a state of near panic for both my husband and me. It was the day Colleen, my friend from Oregon, was arriving for a weeklong visit with us, and we had to pick her up at the airport at 10 PM.

I was awakened that morning by my husband, who said, “We’ve got trouble.”

“Define trouble,” I muttered, half asleep.

“My van won’t start. I tried jump-starting it, but nothing happened. You think maybe mice might have chewed some wires?”

I groaned and pulled the covers over my head, not wanting to hear any more. Since my husband's retirement, he'd driven his van only about once a month, if that. There could have been a family of wolverines living in it for all he knew.

“You won't find anyone to fix it on a weekend,” I said, my voice muffled underneath the blanket. “And certainly not before Colleen arrives tonight. So we'll just have to use my car, that's all.”

“Well, there’s a problem with your car, too,” he said.

I  flung the covers down, sat up and stared at him.

“You don’t have any seats in the back,” he said.

He was right. I'd completely forgotten the seats had been removed and put out in the garage, so my dogs would have a nice big, flat area on which to stretch out whenever they rode in my car. But now, if I didn’t put at least one seat back in, poor Colleen would end up having to sit on the floor.

So I went out to the garage and tried to lift one of the seats, which was covered with dust and cobwebs. I couldn’t even budge it, it was so heavy. And even if I had been able to lift it, I had no clue how to reinstall it. I had visions of my husband stepping on the gas on the way home from the airport, and Colleen falling backwards with her feet up in the air, when the aforementioned seat tipped over.

I rushed back into the house and asked my husband to come out to the garage to help me.

“You know I can’t lift anything,” he said. “I’ll end up in the emergency room.”

He had a point. At the time, he had such bad knees, they made scraping noises when he walked. And he constantly complained about his back sounding like popcorn popping every time he bent over, followed by what he described as a shooting pain that went from the cheek of his butt all the way down the back of his leg (better known as sciatica). 

He finally suggested that I call AAA and have someone come check out his van’s battery.

"If we're lucky," he said, "they can just pop in a new one and we'll be all set."

“And what if it’s something other than the battery?” I asked him. “Something much worse?”

“Then get the guy to help you put one of the seats back into your car. You’re a woman, you can charm him into it!”

I rolled my eyes. At my age, I figured the only guy who’d give me a second look would be a cosmetic surgeon scouting for business.

I called AAA and they said they would send over their special battery-service truck right away. I was still in my pajamas at the time, so I hurried to get dressed.

“Put on something low-cut,” my husband called out to me, joking. “We want the AAA guy to be putty in your hands!”

I glared at him through the bathroom wall.

The AAA truck arrived within an hour. When I first set eyes on the driver, I had to struggle not to laugh. The “guy” I was supposed to charm turned out to be a woman. 

She managed to jump-start the battery, then tested it. It wouldn’t hold the charge. That’s when she said it was time to invest in a new one. At that point, I was willing to buy a whole new car if it meant getting to the airport in time to pick up Colleen. I bought the battery and the technician installed it. She then asked how often the van was driven. The spider webs on it probably were a dead giveaway it wasn't too often.

When I told her only once a month or less, she said, “You know, it’s a good idea to drive the van at least a couple times a week, otherwise this battery will die, too, and it will void your warranty.”

When I told my husband the news, he was both pleased and upset. He was pleased his van was running again, but was upset he was expected to actually drive the vehicle twice a week.

“You know how much I hate to leave the house now that I’m retired,” he complained.

I definitely knew. I practically had to plant dynamite under his recliner to get him out of it.

“And I also hibernate all winter,” he added.

I'd never driven his van before, nor did I ever want to, but I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take your van out for a spin a few times a week. But you know how bad I am at backing anything out of the garage. I always use the ‘step on the gas, aim for the doorway and pray’ method.”
That was one way to get him out of the house.

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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:






Thursday, September 7, 2023


My grandmother was a real roller-coaster fanatic. In fact, she took me on my very first roller-coaster ride at Pine Island Park in Manchester, NH when I was about eight years old. From that day on, I was hooked.  

But I’m hooked on only the old-fashioned wooden coasters, not the new-fangled ones with all of the loops and corkscrews. When I look up, I want to see the sky, not the ground.

One of my favorite coasters, with its impressive 64-65 foot drop on the first hill, was, and still is, the Yankee Cannonball at Canobie Lake Park.

But it still can't hold a candle to my all-time favorite, the Wildcat coaster at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts. Riders who reached the top of that 74-foot hill had a panoramic view of the ocean, complete with Queen Elizabeth waving at them from her balcony at Buckingham Palace across the way.

Believe me, I went through a long period of mourning in the 1970s, when the Wildcat was torn down. Even now, whenever I visit Salisbury Beach and see the spot where the roller coaster once proudly stood, I still can hear its ocean-weathered wooden frame creaking in the wind and I want to cry out, "Why? Why did you have to tear it down? How could you do this to me?"

At least the Yankee Cannonball is still running. Back in the “good old days,” visitors could wander throughout Canobie Lake Park park and pay only for the rides they wanted to ride on. But later, the park started charging one big admission price that included unlimited rides. That was a good deal for someone who wanted to go on 25 different rides, but not so much for someone like me, who just wanted to ride on the roller coaster two or three times and skip all of the rest.

My last visit to Canobie Lake Park was back in 2004. The admission price was a shock to me at the time – $25 per person. But seeing I'd arrived at about 6 p.m., I was given a discount price of only $16.

Immediately upon entering the park, I felt like a kid again and headed straight for the Yankee Cannonball, the sprawling wooden monster I’d missed so much over the years.

I arrived to find a line of people that rivaled the ones at Disney World. I was shocked. After all, the reason why I’d gone there on a Monday night was to avoid the lines.

I guess everyone else must have had the same idea.

Determined, I took my place in line…and waited. Twenty minutes later, I still was waiting. By then, I’d made friends with the four teenagers from Michigan in front of me, and a lady and her daughter from Maine behind me.

One of the Michigan teens, who was wearing about six heavy, thick-chained necklaces, told me how his jewelry had flown up and nearly knocked him unconscious when he’d gone on the Starblaster.

I had no clue what the Starblaster was.

“It’s a ride that shoots you straight up into the air just like you were in a rocket ship,” he explained. “Except you’re sitting in these seats out in the open, with your feet dangling! One woman even lost her sandals during the blast! It was SO cool!”

Recalling I was wearing a bra that had stretch-straps, I made a mental note to chalk that ride off my might-want-to-try list.

Another thirty-five minutes later, as I inched closer and closer to the coaster, my heart began to race and my hands felt clammy because it had been about 10 years since I’d been on a roller coaster. What if, I wondered, my metabolism had changed since then and now I couldn’t stomach the ride? What if I ended up throwing up down the neck of the guy in front of me? Or what if I emerged with a severe case of whiplash because my over-the-hill neck had become too brittle to handle the velocity?

By the time I took my seat in the last car of the Yankee Cannonball, I seriously was contemplating chickening out.

“Fasten your seatbelts and then pull the bar down over you,” the attendant instructed.

I fumbled with my seatbelt and couldn’t pull it far enough to hook it. By then, everyone else already had fastened their belts and pulled down their bars. Not wanting to be a different, I also pulled down my bar. Two attendants then came by to check each one of us.

“Your seatbelt’s not fastened,” one of the attendants said to me, as if he were telling me something I didn’t already know. He leaned over and tried to adjust it. “I think it has a knot in it,” he said.

He signaled to the guy at the controls, and everyone’s bars suddenly popped back up, giving him more room to work on unknotting my seatbelt. By then, I could hear impatient mutters from the other passengers, which told me I probably wasn't about to win any awards for Miss Popularity.

Finally, I was properly fastened in and the ride was set to go. As the coaster inched its way up the first hill, I held my breath. The hill was a lot higher than I’d remembered it. In fact, it seemed to take about 18 hours to reach the top. By then, I was perspiring in places I didn't even know had sweat glands.

I clenched the bar, my knuckles white, in anticipation of what was coming, all the while praying my neck wouldn’t snap like a twig and my lunch would stay where it belonged.

Whoosh! The rest of the ride was a blur of hills and curves and people screaming. By the time I realized the ride had begun, it was over.

All of that waiting in line, all of that nervous anticipation…and it was over in the blink of an eye.

So I got right back into the line and waited another 55 minutes. 

Knowing I was going to survive the second ride made me less apprehensive and antsy. Also, they seated another unaccompanied woman next to me who served as a buffer, so I did less side-to-side bouncing during the ride and was able to look out across the park and enjoy the view…just before each death-defying plunge.

I would have gone on the coaster again, but the line had grown even longer and the park closed at 10 PM, so I didn’t want to chance it. But I thought for the $16 I’d paid, I should have squeezed in at least one more ride to get my money's worth.

I’m hoping to return to Canobie Lake Park again in the future and ride the Yankee Cannonball at least one more time. 

In fact, I've put it at the top of my bucket list.

But by the time I finally do get back there I'm wondering which might fall apart first - the vintage old roller coaster or my body – which I'm pretty sure is older and even more rickety.

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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:








Friday, September 1, 2023



Every day, I try to walk about two miles, usually on the country road where I live. No traffic, no sidewalks, just a quiet road that makes a complete circle. So if I start at my house and walk the full length of the road, I end up right back at my house. And if I see two cars during my entire walk, it’s a busy day. 

So the other afternoon, when I was taking my walk and a white van suddenly pulled up in front of me and stopped dead, blocking my way, I was startled.

I could see the driver, a young male, and he was alone.

My first thought was maybe he wasn’t actually alone. Maybe the back of the van contained a gang of thugs who would leap out and drag me into the van and I’d never be seen or heard from again. My second thought was maybe I should turn around and run. 

The problem was, trying to outrun a van at my age probably wasn’t such a hot idea, especially since the last time I’d actually run faster than a trot was when I was about 12 and was trying to catch up with an ice-cream truck. 

As I stood there, debating what to do, the window on the passenger’s side came down and the driver leaned over and said, “Donde esta diez y siete?”

My high-school Spanish classes kicked in and I guessed he was asking where number 17 was…or maybe sixteen (I always got those two mixed up). I inched my way closer to the van and could see some Amazon packages lying on the seat, so I felt a little more at ease…even though a part of me still thought the packages might be decoys to give me a false sense of security so I’d let my guard down, and then the thugs more easily could leap out and ambush me (okay, so I watch far too many crime shows on TV). 

Still, it seemed a little suspicious to me that a delivery driver wouldn't have a GPS system, or something other than a strange old lady, to help him out.

I know most of the people on my road by their names, not their house numbers, so using my best high-school Spanish, I asked the driver what the name was. He gave me a foreign-sounding name that wasn’t at all familiar. It took a few seconds before it dawned on me I’d asked him, “Cual es su nombre?” which meant, “What is your name?”

I could tell it was going to be a difficult conversation, so I asked him if he spoke any English. He shook his head and said, “No, no soy de este paĆ­s,”  which I was pretty sure meant, “No, I’m not from this country.” He then leaned across the seat, handed me a package and pointed to the label.

I took the package and stared at it. Without my reading glasses (which I have no reason to take with me on my walks because there’s nothing to read in the middle of the woods unless someone carved a message into a tree), any label smaller than a billboard was just a blur to me.

I had no idea how to explain in Spanish that I couldn’t read without my glasses. So I just shook my head and shrugged.

He probably thought I was illiterate.

Then I decided to try another tactic. I pointed at the label and asked, “Nombre?”  He gave me a name I actually recognized! I even knew exactly which house the family lived in. I also remembered their house number had fallen off their mailbox a while back – actually, thanks to the town’s snowplow routinely knocking down the mailboxes on my road, most of them have no numbers or only a portion of a number left on them anyway – which might explain why this delivery guy needed help. 

But how, I wondered, was I going to give him directions to that particular house? I struggled to remember how to say left and right in Spanish. The word “derecha” popped into my head, but I couldn’t remember which one it was. 

And I didn’t want to send the poor guy down some old logging trail that dead-ended in a swamp.

The driver pulled his phone out of his pocket and spoke into it in Spanish, then handed it to me. I assumed the English translation was written on the screen, but without my reading glasses, it could have said, “Get into the van right now and no one will get hurt!” for all I knew (I really have to quit watching those TV crime shows).

I pointed to my eyes and said, “Mis ojos son malos,” which I hoped meant I had bad eyesight, or at least something similar. With my luck, I probably was telling him he had ugly eyeballs. 

He seemed to understand, however, and took the phone and spoke into it once again. This time, the translation was an audio one that gave me the name and house number he needed, and then instructed me to please speak into the phone and direct him to it. He handed the phone back to me.

Well, I know about as much about Smartphones as I do about nuclear science. I mean, I have an old flip-phone that makes and receives calls. Period. So I had no clue I was supposed to press something on his phone and then speak. I just stood there talking into it and rattling off directions...and it didn’t record a single word I said.

At that point, the guy gave me a look that didn’t need any translation to figure out – he was trying hard not to laugh.

Unfortunately, I was his only hope out in the middle of nowhere – although by then, if a deer had trotted out of the woods, it probably would have been more help to him than I was.

Two more tries later, I finally was able to get the phone to record what I was saying and successfully translate it into Spanish...I think. I felt like hiring a marching band and breaking out the champagne.

The guy flashed a huge smile at me, said “gracias” and took off down the road. I continued my walk and a few minutes later, he drove by as he was leaving and gave me a thumbs up.

Still, I wasn’t entirely convinced he’d made it to the right house. That movie title, “Lost in Translation,” kept popping into my head.

So when I got home, I posted a note on my neighborhood’s Facebook page, asking if the package had been delivered.

To my relief, it had.

Maybe when I take my walks from now on, I should carry my reading glasses with me…and a Spanish dictionary.

Oh, and pepper spray, just in case I do happen to meet up with some actual thugs.

Gotta stop watching those TV crime shows.

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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: