It was a miracle; a small miracle but small miracles seem big now.

On Friday, I wore a long-sleeved shirt. Summer, this one in particular, makes you think you might never see long sleeves again. Long sleeves, sweatshirts and sweatpants.

Then, one morning it’s 64 rather than 78 and you’re sitting outside at Smitten in shorts and a stylish Tommy John T-shirt and you realize, I’m cold. I could use pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

I’m cold. When’s the last time you said that? It’s been awhile. We’re on the downslope, the wind at our backs. More hot days are ahead, but we’ve nearly made it through another Bakersfield summer.


I was at Action Sports recently talking to Sam Ames and owner Kerry Ryan and the conversation moved to mosquitos and how fast, nasty and hard to swat this new breed of mosquitoes is.

Kerry pulled out his phone and said, “Wait a minute, I have to show you something.”

He started thumbing through his photos, which usually leads to kids, grandkids, dogs or new bikes but not this time.

Kerry pulled up a photo of a dead mosquito lying on a white paper towel.

“I killed it,” he said proudly.

Good for you because that makes only two people who I know who have done that, the other being Ray Rodriguez who works for Oilfield Russ at American Pipe & Tubing.

The other day I rolled and taped a newspaper to see if I could increase my kill rate and I still couldn’t nail one. It’s as if they have sonar and can read your mosquito-killing-crazed mind.


Sally McNally died recently after a long, rich, productive, loving-life life. In addition to her other contributions, there was her sense of humor.

She often introduced herself as "Sally McNally from the San Joaquin Valley." That’s fun to say. Fun to say and hear.


Rick Zanutto emailed about the “promised land" of bed making, the column about being fired from making the bed:

“Your article on being asked not to make the bed anymore brought laughter to the start of my day. My wife, Donna, and I have been married for 49 years and until I retired she always made the bed. I was up and out for work by 5:15 a.m. so she was last out of bed and so she made it.

“Now I’m last out and required to make the bed. Our decorative pillows are not large enough to cover my flaws in bed making. Unfortunately, Donna has kept me on.”


Pat Cowles writes about the same subject:

“Dear Herb, please tell Sue I am in complete sympathy and understand how important it is to make a bed right.

"I, like Sue, appreciate my husband's efforts, but here's a quote from the long-ago CD 'You and Me' created by Marlo Thomas: 'Some kind of help is the kind of help ... we all could do without!'"


The column on the joys of white bread brought back memories for Bob Meadows:

“Growing up in the Boron suburb of North Edwards, my two brothers and I devoured loaves of Wonder white bread. When we came home starving from sports practice, Mom would even toss a loaf at us to 'snack on' before dinner.

“My dad was the only one who ate wheat bread in our house. We didn't like the taste and didn't want 'Dad's bread' anyway because that wasn't cool.

“Now Vicki and I watch carbs and even bought some keto bread at Costco, which looked good, but falls apart and needs to be toasted. Naturally, it doesn’t have that seductive softness you only get with white bread.”


Finally, a note from Rayanne Jacobs, one of the friendly, neighborhood Costco cashiers (those people are amazingly friendly and helpful among the crush of humanity):

“Dear Herb: As a longtime, beleaguered Costco employee who has done her fair share of bagel schlepping, I would like to thank you for your shoutout in your Sunday column. I, and all my fellow 'essential' employees, appreciate it.

“Now, if you could just get people to stop saying, 'Thanks, I need that to get out' when I hand them their receipt ('cause I already know this).

“P.S. If you could give us a plug for our annual CMN fundraiser, usually held in May — thanks COVID-19 — but going on now, that would be fabulous!"

(That's the Children's Miracle Network, which you can donate to through Costco.)

Keep doing what you’re doing because service and a sense of humor is about everything. Just ask Sally McNally from the San Joaquin Valley.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or (661) 395-7279.

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