A Dollar for a Dream

Went for a nice long walk with Kanarie yesterday afternoon, during which she convinced me to buy my first Powerball Ticket. I don’t recall if I mentioned it to her at the time, but this is actually only the second lottery ticket I’ve bought in my life, the first being a ceremonial “yay, I’m 17” kind of thing.

My dad used to buy lottery tickets every single day of his life. Some Saturdays I would go with him to one of his dozen favorite gas stations or quick-marts, where he always filled in the same numbers: My sister’s birthday, my birthday, his and mom’s birthdays, and their wedding day.

Once the novelty of the ritual wore off, and for a long time –mostly in my uppity teenage years– I couldn’t believe how much money that added up to every month, much less every year. And I told him allllll about it. “That’s $10 a week, Dad! Think of what you could do with that at the end of the year!”  As if he couldn’t do the math for himself.

So yesterday, I bought the Powerball Ticket, and Kanarie and I wandered our lovely neighborhood, gawking at the dozens of historic homes on each street. We pointed out the features we’d add to our own houses, when we hit the jackpot. That porch, maybe, and this front landscaping. “But can you really get by on $12 million?” Kanarie has graciously offered to buy me own house if she wins and I don’t… although she’s already on the hook for Wendybird’s student loans.

Thing is, we were replaying the same comments and reasoning my Dad always had ready for my protestations. His house in the San Juan Islands where he and Mom would raise a variety of small livestock and retire to write. One of those giant new-money mansions on the East hill. A houseboat. A vacation chalet in Switzerland. A giant motorhome to drive cross-country every year.

Now, I certainly don’t think this is going to become a daily habit for me--far from it. But I can understand now why my Dad didn’t save that dollar-a-day, why spending it was part of his routine. It’s the same reason he used to buy those home-plan magazines every other week. After all… it’s hard to put a hard cash value on your best fantasies of life as you’d love it to be. But, all things considered, a dollar-a-dream ain’t bad.

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