Twice a week, for literally years, Grandpa Vern would dress up, grab his hat and head on down the road to the local Root N Scoot for a cold “Soadie Pop” as he called them and at that time he always bought two lottery tickets.
Just a short walk, in the open air, and even tho’ age had slowed him down, and he had what he called “a terrible hitch in his giddy-up” he would faithfully make the pilgrimage down the road for the exercise and the dream of winning the lottery.
Upon returning and reaching the house, he would walk over to the dinning room table, and there, in the ornate green bowl that Grandma had left the family, he would deposit the tickets. Most of the time, he didn’t bother to check them, seldom would he even discuss the remote possibility of actually winning anything noteworthy.
It was for lack of a better word, a mystery to the rest of the family. One of those eccentric things that Grandpa Vern did.
His daughter on the night of the drawing, would faithfully sit down in front of the television and watch them draw the numbers. Time and time again, this time ritual, paid little reward, but they did it anyway.
“You young-in’s get in here, they are going to draw Grandpa’s numbers.”
Then one Saturday night it happened, one by one, the little white balls rolled out of the machine, and there it was. Every one of Grandpa’s numbers were there! There was a huge celebration and joy and happiness filled the room. Grandpa however was oblivious to all of this, as he always went to bed early, just before eight PM most of the time.
The next day after all the shock and surprise of a winning ticket wore off, the family started to get anxious. Grandpa after all was 84 years old, could his old heart stand the news of him being worth some Eighteen-million and some change after taxes.
What would they do? How would they break it to him.
Donald the son-in-law offered up the preacher. They would call the preacher and he could tell Grandpa about the new found good news. Preacher arrived the next day just after lunch and the family sat down and explained it to him.
Carefully and meticulously laid it all out on the table, their concern for Grandpa’s well being. They told of his tired old heart. They wonder how would they tell him the news?
Preacher shook his head, and said I understand.
He got up and went into the old man’s room. Vern was sitting there by the window, his scruffy old cat in his lap, staring out the window. The preacher greeted him and they started in on some small talk. The weather, kids moving off to city to work in the big shops. All this government spending and the trouble it brings.
Everything is going well, the preacher seems confident.
Slowly, and easy like, the preacher entered into it. “You play the Lottery, don’t you Vern?” and the old man said, “Yup, shore do Preacher. Twice a week, except when it is raining, I don’t walk down there in the rain, got this here giddy-up in my come along these days, y’know.”
The preacher shook his head then said, “What would you do if I told you that you had won a lot of money?” and the old man said, “How much money?” the preacher said, “Oh, how about Eighteen million or thereabouts, how’s that?”
Vern thought about it a little and said, “Well, I’ve got just about everything in life a man could ask for Preacher. I think I would hold out about Two-hundred Thousand for myself, and give the rest of it to the church.”
The family intently listening in the other room heard a loud thud, and quickly rushed into Grandpa’s room, where they spied the preacher prostrate on the floor.
They exclaimed “Oh my lawd, what happened” and old Vern said, “I aint sure, but I think he just had a heart attack.”
You buy your ticket and you take your chances.