Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Read This," He Said

My last post was about how I have an ordinary life with some highs and some lows. This week-end is an example.

Robert and I attended TAF&E Convention in Austin. (And for those not in the know, that is the Texas Association of Fairs and Events. I didn't even know such a thing existed until about two years ago.) On Saturday at noon a member of our group wanted to know if R and I would be interested in going in on a Calcutta Ticket with her and two, maybe three others. Well a $20 or $25 donation to the scholarship fund that two or three Matagorda County kids have received scholarships from sounded pretty good to me. They were only going to sell 200 tickets at $100 apiece. A one in two hundred chance at winning aren't the best odds but certainly something worth putting the money in on to win a part of $5,000.

Fast forward to dinner. The foursome sat together to eat. We had dubbed ourselves ABC& F. The first letter of each of our names. As we ate we joked about what we would do if we were one of the last ten number drawn from the hopper. No one dared mentioned winning. It was decided I'd be the one to go sit in the hot seat on stage if we got that far, since Tina had registered us. The first 70 number that had been drawn out while we ate were read out. Our number wasn't called. Now we had a 1 in 130 chance. That looked a little more promising. We sat through the first set of the dance and began to entertain ideas of maybe getting into the top ten.

The next 70 numbers were called out. We all listened closely, thinking after each pause to give out a *loser* prize, our number would be called next. My breath catching on each number that began thirty (our number was thirty-eight). Still we were in -- now only 60 numbers to be called. A 1 in 60 chance, WOW. The next drawing wouldn't be for about an hour and one member of our group said, "Y'all make the decisions, I'm going to the room."

The dance continued -- we laughed, I squirmed, we waited. Finally they began calling the last group of numbers and we listened intently, I heard the words, "Okay now, the last number that is out, leaving our ten finalist, is ___." It wasn't thirty-eight, IT WASN'T THIRTY-EIGHT. I'm not sure if I screamed or not. The announcer was telling those who thought they were still in the running to please go check in with the official at the flip charts. Tina, Robert, and Barry began hollering at ME to go; so go I did and we were in. WE now had a 1 in 10 chance of winning $5000. The longest set of dance music I've ever sat through began. At 11:30 her set was over and it was time to get down to business.

The ten finalist came to the dance floor in front of the stage, drew numbers and took our seats (I drew a 4 -- and for some reason felt this was a good omen since I represented 4.) The bidding began -- someone could buy your number if you wanted to sell. You would get 90% of the bid and the scholarship fund would get 10%. This explained why we drew numbers for seats. We were asked in order if we wanted to sell, the first one to take it got the money and the rest were still in. We redrew number each time someone left. I was amazed at how nerve wrecking this all was. Even though we had decided to ride it to the very end, I found myself looking to R, T and B to make sure each time the bid came to me. One was gone, then two, then three, then four, then five and we were still in.

I was so excited and nervous and hyped that I could barely stand up to change places each time. Robert looked so cool standing out in the audience. I was wishing it was him up here instead of me, but it was nice to look out and see him. The bidding took place and if I was asked I turned down the money that was averaging about $1000 each time. Then there were only two left -- Brian and me. OMG I was in the final two!!!!! We are going to win either $5000 or $500 (I didn't know there was a second place prize until just then.) Then I heard the announcer saying that Brian and I could split the $5000 each taking $2500 and walk away. "Wait we hadn't discussed that, what do I do?" is the thought going around and around in my head. My heart was pounding and I couldn't get a grip on the number or how that would divide up. I had no idea what I was supposed to do -- Frantically I looked to Robert. He was talking with Barry -- Tina just had her head in her hands --- What was I supposed to do? Brian was talking -- "No we want to go all the way I heard myself say to him."

He looked back to his group of supporters and I looked at R who was saying, "Go for it." So a decision was made, we were going to draw a canister out and see who's number was inside. One winner, one loser, no draw. Slowly the helper turned the wheel (like these two remaining canister weren't mixed enough), opened the hatch, reached in and picked a canister. I held my breath as it was opened -- The announcer walked over to us and stood by me. I just kept say, "Hand it to him, please, hand it to him."

He handed me the slip and said read this. (Harder to do than it sounds; Robert had my glasses.) I took the slip and could just make out the name, but it wouldn't compute -- I finally mumbled, "It says him," as the fog slowly began to clear and I realized we had just won. Then I jumped up and did a little victory dance as I squealed "I won, I won." I think the announcer was talking, but I have no idea what he was saying because I was running, yes running, across the dance floor toward Robert who was coming toward me about as fast. That is the first time I ever remember him picking me up, but he did and he swung me around. As he sat me down, the announcer was saying we had to pull out the final canister just to make it official. Of course, it was ABC & F. It was us, Arlitt, Bain, Cumbie and Fry!

WE WON! I now own one-fourth of whatever Uncle Sam doesn't take. We'll get the money after all the paper work is done. But the amount doesn't matter anymore. Winning was the high -- not the amount -- just winning. Tina and I did a lot of junior high squealing after that.

We called the room of our group member that had left to give him the good news. I don't think he really believed Robert until he heard Tina and me squealing. He didn't come join us for a victory drink even though we kept encouraging him to.

This morning I enjoyed the congratulations of those who had been there last night and those who had read it in the *Fairs & Events News* this morning before breakfast. I may never get the chance to win like that again, but I'm glad I got to sample a little of what the contestants on Deal or No Deal and other such games feel.

This is the picture of me that appeared in the news flier this morning. The jacket I'm wearing is the one I bought at the silent auction just before the dinner -- I call it my lucky jacket. A woman who also had been bidding on the jacket came in to raise my bid just seconds after they called out for everyone to step away from the table because the auction was closed. I was there in the room just looking to see if I was going to get anything. I wouldn't have raised her bid if she had made it earlier. But I had won the auction and I won the calcutta. What a night!


Carrie said...

Congrats on winning the calcutta! I'm not so sure I'll congratulate you on that jacket though... (Maybe it just doesn't photograph well.)

Donna said...

I was wondering about the jacket, too.... I'm hoping it's a case of not photographing well... :)

Patsy said...

Well, I think the jacket is great but you are right it didn't photograph very well, which makes me wonder how good it actually does look. The good news is that I won't wear it very often. I bought it for that occassional time that *western* wear is needed. With a pair of jeans and boots it looks good.