What should I do with my winnings?

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

Besides the plastic fan that I had won, a decade ago, at the Dollar Store, of which I wasn’t even allowed to claim for quite some time as I had filled out the raffle ticket with the name, ‘Pam Banana’ (long story, you have to read the book. Did I mention it’s still available on amazon.com? Never too early to begin your Christmas shopping! And you can get a used copy really cheap, for people you hate), instead of Pam Stone, I never win anything.

But Tuesday, Connie from The Hayrack contacted me and breathlessly announced that I had won their long-running contest, “Guess The Number!” Customers wrote down their guesses of a giant Mason jar filled with dog treats, on a ticket, dropped it in a little bucket and if no one got the correct number, the $25 gift certificate would increase each week until a winner was crowned.

“It’s impossible,” I groaned, each time I stopped into the store, which is at least three times a week, and resisted Connie’s urging of having another go.

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“But it’s up to $100 now!” she cried in her Midwestern accent that, when vowels are concerned, sounds a little like a Guinea hen. “You have to try again! You have to!”

“I’m tired of trying,” I said, setting down the fly spray and hoof conditioner I was purchasing on the counter. “I’ve already tried five times. There’s no way to count them, so I just have to assume that none of your employees were going to bother to count over 300 dog treats and stick them in a jar, so it has to be lower than that.”

“I don’t know about that,” Connie countered, “they’re paid by the hour, you know.”

“Well, what are you going to do if no one wins?” I asked, “I mean, it could go up to $1,000. Or $5,000.”

“What?!” barked Don, the owner, behind his office door.

So, suffice it to say that after I had reluctantly written the number 222 on a ticket to get Connie off my back, dropped it in the little bucket and paid for my stuff and left, I was both surprised and suspicious when she alerted the world on social media (“I didn’t have your phone number!”) that I had won the $100 gift certificate, followed by countless emojis of what looked like an explosion of confetti, a champagne bottle and (I can’t find my reading glasses) a pig in a blanket?

“Get OUT of here!” I said, over the phone.

“I’m not kidding!” she cried, “Don got sick and tired of the contest and wanted it over, so he said just pick whoever’s got the closest guess and you guessed 222 and there were 232 dog treats so you won!”

Oh, people, the headiness of $100 to spend at the feed store! At $14 each, I could buy seven, 65 pound bales of alfalfa hay, which is pretty much like crack for a horse and would last me just over a week, or a new winter blanket for Forrest, or leg wraps or new halters for three of the horses, plus an extra bottle of medicine for Freddy the fox.

Or bliss, beyond bliss, a new pair of insulated muck boots for ME! And there would be just enough left over for insulated work gloves, too!

But in the end, with the glitter of victory shaken from my eyes, I did what any other responsible livestock owner would do.

I applied it to the outstanding balance on my account.