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Dear Madrone,

About ten years ago, my mother-in law gave me a ring. It was a big honker ring, from her family, but ugly. I mean butt ugly which isnít to say I wasnít grateful, just that I would not be caught dead wearing such a thing. Now donít get me wrong, I love my mother-in Ėlaw, she is a sweetheart. So I took it, and told her how much I loved the ring (lie) and how much I appreciated her affection (truth) and told her that I would treasure it always (depending on what you think I mean by it, lie or truth, or lie AND truth, either way) So. I put it in my dresser, with my other stuff. Which I have to say, is mostly junk, that a self respecting cat burglar would pass on. And I forgot about it. So whatís the problem you ask? About three years ago, I was wondering what I did with it, and I went to my dresser drawer and IT WASNĒT THERE. I have no idea what happened to it. None. Nobody has robbed the house, my husband could care less, but the ring was gone, kapoof, like it never was.

Hereís the problem. My mother-in-law is getting funny. She is mostly forgetting everything. But sheís remembering the ring. So she asks me at least once a week if I have it, and I always tell her Iíve got it, but Iím keeping it somewhere safe. Then she smiles and thatís it until the next time. What am I gonna do?

Mortified DIL, Breganville

Dear Mortified,

Whoo boy, youíre in the soupÖand not. How can that be? Well, on the plus side,sounds like the old lady wonít remember the truth, even if you say it plain, so even though 9/10 lying comes back to bite you, in this case, play the odds, and stick to your story. On the other hand YOU LOST THE RING. What are you some kind of idiot? Didnít you ever hear of a safe deposit box, or A LOCK?? You sound like a real looney tune. Which is a bigger problem that you donít know you have. Shheeesh.

Dear Readers-

Do me a favor and lock up your stuff. I canít take all these peace and love maniacs who think leaving things laying around is a good idea. Lock your doors, lock your windows, lock your frigging cars. Itís a public service- keeps other people honest And while youíre at it, have a shoulder strap on your purse and keep in front of you, which means you can keep your arm around it , donít let it go flapping out behind you. Seriously. People are good and all that, blah blah blah, but how many saints do you see running around? Exactly. Not many, otherwise you would be calling them regular schmoes which is what they would be if they were a dime a dozen.


DONíT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FORGET TO PICK UP PENNIES WHEN YOU SEE THEM LYING AROUND. ITíS BAD LUCK NOT TO.And it doesnít matter heads or tails up. Seriously. Thereís no explaining the crazy ideas people get. Why would that matter?



Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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