Wednesday and Saturday mornings we’d walk to the 7-Eleven with Momma to buy $5 worth of Quick-Picks, and if she had extra laundry money, a $2 Powerball ticket.
On the way home, us kids would play “when we win the lottery,” taking turns calling out what we wanted to buy with all our money. Pete added to his fantasy stable of classic muscle cars, Mattie only wanted jewelry, and I’d wish to travel to far-off lands of mystery.
Momma never joined our game, but she’d “ohh,” and “ahh,” over our daydreams. Once I found the Holiday Sears and Roebuck catalog with some of the pages dog-eared. I think these were Momma’s lottery dreams.
Then there were the years when I though Ed McMahon was my grandfather, as much as Momma talked about how she just knew he’d show up at our front door one day. He never came, but I would wait at the big window in the fancy living room watching for his prize truck.
The happiest day of Momma’s life was when I brought home her first computer. She could enter Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes every day, and not just once a month when her Reader’s Digest came in the mail.
I never thought much of her playing the numbers, or clicking on the prize eligibility notices. Chances of Momma winning anything were slim to none. Still, I kept trying to get her to play the “when we win” game. I thought if I knew what some of her craziest wishes were, I could manage to make a few of them come true.
When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. I probably read it a dozen times, before I believed it was real. Momma had actually won her big prize.
I asked her what she wanted to do with all that money. She said she would buy Pete his ’67 Dodge Charger 426 Hemi, Mattie would love an emerald cut diamond pendant, and I could finally hike the ruins at Machu Picchu.
“But, what do you want?” I asked her.
Clutching the registered letter in her hands, she dropped heavily into her favorite easy chair.
“I really don’t know,” she said. “I haven’t thought about it.”