Ask Auntie Linda for Straight Talk From a Straight Shooter.

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, My parents have travelled  cross-country to spend Christmas Week with us the past five years since I am an only child and our children the only grandchildren.  My wife’s parents live only four hours away.  She is the youngest of four children.  She and her sisters have eleven children between them.    When we married, my parents asked that we always share Christmas with them since they’d be alone otherwise.  I know my wife would like to spend Christmas with her family this year, but I hate to think of my parents being alone.  My parents are much older and may not have many more Christmases.  Is it wrong of me to Insist on having Christmas week with my family?  Tail in a crack

Dear Tail, Just so you know, no one knows how many holidays are in their future.  Your parents have already manipulated you into spending Chrismas Week with you the past five years.  It is unreasonable that you not share Christmas with your wife’s family from time to time.  I’d say she’s been more than generous.  In a marriage, your first loyalty should be to your wife. Invite your parents for an alternate time, either before or after the holiday.  People celebrate on other days all the time.  Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda. We can own to visit my parents at Christmas this year.  We havea toddler and an infant.  I want to get a hotel room instead of staying at their house.  They have a cat and dog who climb everywhere and I don’t want them hopping all over the kids bedding.  My father also snores horribly and disturbs our rest.  My parents are very upset that we won’t be spending the night.  We will go over to spend our day.  Is it awful to refuse to stay with them?  Our visit last year seemed endless and none of us got any sleep.  In the doghouse.

Dear Doghouse, No, it’s your visit and your decision.   Everyone needs their sleep and some private time.  Do what’s best for you and your family, but I’d pay for the room myself!  Auntie Linda

The Most Dependable Fight of the Year

imageDaddy took his hunting very seriously. This was a man’s sport, an entitlement. Real men hunted and fished. A man’s outdoor gear was a reflection of his manhood. Daddy would have sooner worn lace panties than not follow the unwritten rules. His hunting gear was a necessity, not an extravagance like a dependable car, bills paid on time, and clothes for the family. Daddy always had money held out of his paycheck weekly for the Christmas Club, but Mother never could remember that deer season came around the same time as the Christmas Club checks were issued. By early December, both had long unwritten lists in their heads. A day or so before the check was to be issued, Daddy would be in an unaccustomed jovial mood, sitting at the table with one of his buddies drinking coffee, and casually mention his plan to purchase a Manchester #1108 Rifle with a scope. Nearby at the stove, steam rose from Mother’s ears. The Manchester #1108 Rifle cost about the same as her Christmas list.

The Annual Christmas Fight was on. Daddy’s manhood was at stake. He couldn’t emasculate himself by backing down on his purchase after bragging in front of his hunting buddies. Mother completely misunderstood a man’s needs and considered him selfish, hurting his feelings. “When I was a kid was I only got an orange for Christmas, and was proud of that. Besides, you should be able to get l

enough. for about $12.00. You just needed to go through the store, pick out what you wanted, take it up to the register, and haggle with the manager. That’s the only sensible way to shop. That’s what I’d do if I had to handle the shopping! Do I have to manage the house and make the living? And besides, where are the clothes and toys I bought the kids and those three nice dresses I just bought you? You just didn’t take of stuff right or you’d still have them! Blah, blah, blah.  You must think I am Santa Claus!”

Mother snidely pointed out, “well, you’re supposed to be.  It was over ten years ago you bought that stuff you’re talking about.  Besides, how would you know how much things cost now? You haven’t put a toe in a store, paid a bill, been to a bank, or handled any business since we got married. Don’t you think anybody besides YOU might want a nice Christmas!” Suggesting he might be selfish was the final insult! It was on!

Eventually, they would both develop battle fatigue and go about their business. Daddy would go off in a huff and buy his rifle, but tone his pride down a bit, and make do with a cheaper model. Deeply offended at Mother’s demands, he would hand over $30 or $35 dollars left from the Christmas Check. Once she recovered from her rage at his everlasting selfishness, she would shuffle bills, frantically put us all to gluing in trading stamps, put us kids to selling coke bottles, feed us more meals of beans, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and canned vegetables, less with meat and fruit. She would make some homemade gifts and check Goodwill out. Grandma always sent a huge box of Christmas gifts, her sister Annie would send money, and Mother would manage to pull together a wonderful Christmas.

On Christmas morning we would wake up to find gifts piled all around the Christmas tree. Mother would be relieved to have manufactured a miracle once again. Once it was all laid out on Christmas morning, Daddy enjoyed seeing his children enjoying a bounteous Christmas and was reassured Mother could do well with a little money when she half tried. Maybe next year he could save back enough to get that……….

I think he sincerely believed in Santa Claus.

Book Review Tales From the Garden by Sally Cronin

Tales%20From%20the%20Garden%20small-%20CoverI’ve just finished Sally Cronin’s Book Tales From the Garden and it makes me wonder why I ever gave up Fairy Tales just because I got grown..  As you can see by the cover, the photography is wonderful.  Her characters are variously funny, quizzical, magical and heartwarming.  I enjoyed it so much I could hardly put it down, yet didn’t want it to end.  Get it and give it a try!

Tales From The Garden-Behind the scenes-by Sally Cronin


Tales From The Garden – Behind the scenes – by Sally Cronin


Thank you to Linda for offering me space on your blog today to talk about the behind the scenes action of Tales from the Garden.


Linda gives us a healthy dose of humour frequently so I thought that I would talk about the comedian of the tales.



Eager to impart some nugget of news to the head guardian, Fizzy the rabbit looked up adoringly at the lion. ‘He’s been seen, he’s coming, we have to do something, he is on his way, we have to panic.’

The lion looked down at Fizzy and shook his head slowly from side to side. Of all the creatures under his care this was the one who caused the most problems. Since a young rabbit, he had been a sugar addict; craving what was commonly called the Amber Nectar. If you wanted to find Fizzy you just had to head towards the nearest Amber joint and he would have his whiskers deep in the blooms.

Fizzy was found tucked away on a ledge at the front end of the house and away from the other rabbits in the garden. I felt there was probably a very good reason for that so I am afraid he became the resident laughing stock.. He does however he does redeem himself in the eyes of the head guardian in the story of The Winter Fairy; hopefully he will get help for his love of the Amber Nectar.




Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.


The book is available in print and Ebook  at a substantial discount via my own website:

Also at Amazon UK:


About Sally Cronin.

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or smashwords.


For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here:


Connect to Sally on social media.


Thank you very much Linda for inviting me to guest post today.