Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Golden Ticket Is Not What You Think

When I heard the winnings were over 600 million dollars and everyone in the Continental United States had bought a ticket except for us, I told my Big Guy that he should go buy one too.

"Why don't you buy one?" he asked.

"Because you're the luckiest one of the two of us so you should do it!" I told him.

"You're right", he told me, "I am the luckiest man alive because I got you!"

I think I've heard him say these words at least a mega million times by now, but I have always known that even though I rarely win anything, Big Guy has been my greatest prize and has always given me a reason to feel lucky. So with a sparkle in his eye, he gave me a quick peck on the cheek and was off to buy a lottery ticket among other things.

I've never been very interested in gambling. I know there is a certain amount of gamble in almost any financial venture, I know we even gamble on friendships, relationships or whether a recipe we've never tasted will turn out as good as the picture looks. And even though I've read the Robert Frost poem many times, when making a decision to take the road less traveled rather than the one that you could see was a sure path, I tend to take the sure path.

This could be the reason why I am not filthy rich but also why I'm not dirt poor. It could also be the reason why I still wear the same pair of Nikes that I bought over 8 years ago and noticed last year that the heel is separating from the shoe but I still continue to wear them. I know that probably doesn't make much sense, but if you get to know me, you'll know much of what I say doesn't make much sense.

Growing up in a family who put the most emphasis on being together and eating good food together, I always find myself feeling family and food rich. Non-useful things were never that important to our family and since they cost money, we never wasted any of ours on much of anything that wasn't necessary. 

I mean, sure, there were occasions when something would be bought as a gift that might not be a useful item, like a cut glass unicorn lamp that sparkled pretty and a certain someone had begged for it for months, but birthdays and Christmas' gifts usually were a great way to get a new waffle iron, a new pair of much needed socks or that "special occasion" outfit.

My Grandpa had these awesome sayings and it wasn't until I moved out on my own and had to fend for myself that I began to understand their importance.

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" was probably the best one and then "A fool and his money are soon parted!" was another.

Grandpa had this great little ditty that he said often and I love it for it's rhyme. 

"See a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. See a penny, leave it lie, opportunity may go by!" 

This is why my Big Guy and I always race for the penny we spot at the same time and we probably look a little strange grappling in the McDonald's parking lot but I always feel good about it when the penny is retrieved even if my knees are skinned.

I haven't always been this frugal, in fact, there have been some pretty scary episodes of buying in my life that would frighten Suzy Orman or Dave Ramsey to death! The fact is I should own at least 50% shares in the Dilliards Company and should have been made CEO of Talbots due to the amount of outfits I own. I won't go into any more details now, let's just say I am still going through the twelve step program and only shake occasionally at the sight of a 75% off sale sign.

But going back to this Mega Lottery ticket that Big Guy bought. Sure, we did the little "dream session" about what if we actually won almost $200 million dollars and where we would hide out for the first year after claiming the prize; there was a trip planned to Switzerland, being generous to loved ones, giving a nice hefty tithe to our church and then what everyone wants, the home of our dreams; and then we forgot about the whole thing as we went on with our lives. 

Three bouncy castle parties, a huge weekend sale at the trade shop, a few hours of work at the office, church, our annual amusement business meeting-party and Desperate Housewives all went by before we realized that the lottery was over and people were saying someone in our area had won but had not come forward to claim the ticket.

Big Guy hadn't checked his ticket!

I have to admit that even though the odds were somewhere around 1-176 million that we had a snowballs chance in hell of winning, (I was looking for the chance to say that), a little voice inside me was still saying, "You'll be taking that trip to Bern Switzerland very soon!".

"Honey," Big Guy looked at me with those sweet steely blues after checking his numbers, "I'm sorry, but you're not married to a multimillionaire!" He drew me close to him and seemed a little sad.

"Hey, that's OK! I never married you for your money anyway!" I said giving him a squeeze and not really feeling too much disappointment except for the fact that I wouldn't be hiring my new maid, Zelda, to clean the cobwebs from behind my refrigerator.

Then he continued to tell me as he held me in those big strong wonderful arms, "I may not be able to take you to Bern Switzerland, but we could take a trip soon to Bern Kansas to see some of my relatives there and eat at the little cafe?"

All I could say was, "We are food and family rich and I am the luckiest woman alive, when can we go?".


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