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.