Feeling Lucky

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By Peggy Browning
Pioneer Sentinel

Last Sunday I decided to take a drive. I had no plan about where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do; I just wanted to drive.

I headed north across the Red River and took a few side trips off I-44. It felt good to be in the car with the windows rolled down, listening to John Mellencamp’s greatest hits and enjoying the view of the flat Oklahoma plains.

I didn’t know the flatness of the land would play a part in my temptation.

I was on the last leg of my road trip, headed toward home, when I looked across those unobstructed fields and saw the two casinos that sit beside the farm-to-market road leading to Grandfield.

Gleaming like big piles of quarters, they beckoned me.

I checked my purse. Yes, there was my debit card. I took the Grandfield exit.

I was feeling lucky.

After I parked in the dusty lot, I took a little time to gaze at the casino. It seemed odd to me that so much money changing goes on inside that innocent looking building situated in the middle of a pasture.

Construction projects blocked what had formerly been the front door. Signs pointed the way to the temporary entrance.  I followed the path of destruction right on in.

When my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside, I looked around for an ATM machine. I stuck my debit card in, made a $40 withdrawal and paid an extra $3.50 for the privilege to do so.  I stuck two twenties in my pocket, determined to make my money grow.

Next I looked around the casino, trying to decide where I was going to invest my hard earned money. Hmmm….that Lucky Ducky machine looked right. I had a feeling about that one.

There was another woman making her way toward my chosen slot machine. I stepped up my pace to beat her to it. She saw me walking toward the Lucky Ducky and changed directions. That just confirmed it…that machine was meant for me.

I deposited my $20 in the slot and hit the button making a $1 bet. What? $1 per bet? I was clearly out of my league. I should have looked closer at the machine before I put my money in.  I’m more of a penny slot player. If I’m going to squander my money, I like to make it last a long time.

I could have cashed out and got my money back.  But I didn’t. I played that thieving machine right down to the bitter end which I estimate took less than five minutes.

I hadn’t expected defeat so soon. I took the other twenty out of my pocket and thought about my next move. I walked around the casino with the money in my hand, looking at the quarter and penny slots, trying to decide where I could put that twenty and get the best payoff.

After a little thought, I realized I had better investment options than those presented to me in that noisy, smoky room. The list was long.

I could use that crisp bill to take my grandchildren to McDonald’s. Or I could take myself to the movies and buy popcorn and Milk Duds. Or I could buy my granddaughter a pair of sequined shoes and my grandson a Tonka truck. Or I could buy my little “expected” grandbaby a Carter’s baby layette. Or I could buy a bouquet of flowers to put on my dining room table.

These options seemed like a better way to spend my money. All were a sure bet, guaranteed to enrich me.

I stuck my twenty back in my pocket and walked out the door.

Outside the sun was shining. A light breeze was blowing. And I was feeling lucky.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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