My turn

From potholders to pink flamingos, chain letters live on

2014-06-05T00:00:00Z From potholders to pink flamingos, chain letters live onBy Gayle Faulkner Kosalko Times Columnist
June 05, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Remember chain letters? Back when I was first married and people actually sent mail via the post office, I would get variations on a theme.

Girlfriends would send me kitchen towels, recipes, and rosaries, and I was supposed to go out, buy whatever it was, and send it to the name that was at the top of the letter. Then supposedly, in the weeks to come, I would receive tons of towels, or whatever the item was.

My friends must have been really desperate to find 10 friends to mail these to if they mailed one to me. Granted, I did the first couple, buying a cute potholder or whatever other ghastly thing I had been sent and in turn, sending one on its way.

One can only imagine my excitement at the future prospect of someday receiving 57 potholders. Yeah! Eventually I gave it up, mainly because I never wanted what was sent to me in the first place. I felt guilty, but I got over it.

Thirty years later I found it interesting when the same chain letters arrived again. . .this time, via the internet, of course. I get emails about "the 10 most interesting people I would invite for dinner" and you're supposed to re-send this email to a number of friends.

Chain emails can come with prayers or the guarantee of financial gain. And just like original paper chain letters, there's always the threat of illness or bad karma for those who break the chain.

Last year, we got something akin to a chain letter. We came home from a long weekend and as we pulled up, we saw a sign that said, "You’ve been flocked" and realized there were 19 plastic pink flamingos standing all over our lawn. Around the neck of one was a sweet note that said this was done in friendship, to make us smile, and in that spirit, we were to keep these flamingos going around the community.

They were really cute and nicely matched the trim of our house. Since it was almost July 4, we decided to keep them a few more days and dress them up for the holiday. We bought flag material and made little bow ties for each of them.

I remember Chuck dragging each one in as I figured out how to attach their bow tie while straddling their long, cold metal legs.

Soon word was out and many folks drove by to see our flamingos. But now, like all chain events, we had an obligation. We spent a long time discussing who should enjoy them next.

With my bad knees, I figured I'd be caught and arrested trying to put them on somebody's lawn, so in the wee hours, a lithe friend of ours delivered them to the next chosen home. We followed their "flight" in town for a few months but, alas, we never saw them again. Somebody had broken the flamingo chain.

We never found out who put them on our lawn in the first place and when they were gone, we truly missed them. I guess we had empty nest syndrome.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

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