Winner, Winner, I’ve Got Dinner

“You can’t win it if you’re not in it.”\

That’s Petey’s response whenever there’s a lottery jackpot that nears a billion dollars and I start mentally spending it.  And I’m never in it—I don’t know how to buy anything other than the automatic computer-generated ticket or even its price.

But we do both make the occasional appeal to Lady Luck in the form of entering the odd drawing, both online and in person.

I once won a Lindt milk chocolate Easter bunny.  It was delivered in a huge Styrofoam cooler the size of the trunk the Astor’s took on the Titanic.  The candy was the size of my hand.  It was delicious. 

Years ago, the convenience store near our house had a drawing for a child-sized, pedal-powered Oscar Mayer wiener car that Petey entered, and won.  It was just like the one in the commercials that they drive around the country.  But shrunken down for a kid the size of a three or four-year-old.

Unfortunately, The Kid was seven or eight.  Our poor child looked like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stuffed inside a Smart Car.  Can you smell what the Rock is driving?

So, we gave it to the three-year-old daughter of a close family friend.  You should have seen her zooming around the neighborhood in a seven-foot hotdog—it was a sight to behold.

A few years later, I was in a Hallmark shop and registered for another drawing.  It was for a very large stuffed dog, modeled on Coconut, from the American Girl dolls collection. 

In a shocking twist, I won it.

Then the fun began.  This thing was honestly the size of a Shetland pony.  Getting it in the car was an adventure accompanied by much struggle, sweat, and many PG13 to R rated words.  Driving home, we looked like we were trying to smuggle a fat white buffalo.  Then, The Kid had to find a place for this behemoth, although at thirteen or so, my poor child was actually kind of over stuffed animals, even fluffy ones that took up as much space as a circus calliope.

Finally, a few years later, The Kid was able to pass it on to a patsy, I mean a friend, with a much younger sibling who loved owning it.

Which brings us to my latest win.

A few weeks ago, Petey and I ran into our local Panera.  In the summer, I down gallons of their green smoothies.  They’re healthy, tasty, filling, and I feel particularly virtuous drinking them.  In the restaurant’s entrance, they had a jar for business cards from which they would periodically draw a lucky winner.

So, I tossed in one of mine.

Last week, catering manager Jamonda called and informed me I’d won, and the prize was lunch for my entire office.  Since I work from home, my normal officemates are couch, dog, and Petey.  So, today I gathered together in Greensboro, many of the friends and family that regularly donate time, elbow grease and expertise which facilitate getting this column into print.

And I took up a little something from Panera.  A little something contained in two love seat-sized bags; drinks, soups, sandwiches, salads, crusty baguettes, and a variety of their freshly baked pastries.  It was a crazy generous bounty, and everyone ate like it was Thanksgiving dinner, with leftovers that Petey and I have been snacking on all evening.

So, to sum up; unless somebody wants to give me three quarters of a billion Samolians, I’ll take the Panera spread every time.

Or maybe the chocolate—the chocolate would be good too.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at

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