Ivar had just recently celebrated his birthday. The celebration had been a pleasant occasion. His three grown children had visited. They all gave little gifts, for example Ross, the youngest, had given him a card with four raffle tickets for a brand new car. The tickets didn’t win anything but it was the thought that counts!
Then several days later Ross tuned up – just passing – in a brand new expensive car.
“Where did you get that from?” asked Ivar.
“You know that raffle I gave you the tickets for?” said Ross. “I took a couple for myself and won! Isn’t it a beauty?”
It was indeed! Ross took his father for a quick spin around the block. Amazing!
When Ross had gone Ivar rummaged through the waste bin and found his four raffle tickets. The numbers were 43941, 43942, 43944, and 43945. The missing number, 43943, had been the winning number.
Ivar never said beep to anyone. Sometimes it’s better not to know.
Ross felt that the older his father got the harder it was to think of a decent birthday present for him. He had everything – well, everything he needed, and for that matter he had most things he liked – except of course for something fancy like a new expensive car.
It’s not that these days Ross’s family would spend much on birthday gifts; it was the thought that counts, and with the state of the economy it was getting more and more difficult to buy some gift that wasn’t simply a cheap plastic abomination.
Ross’s father’s birthday was on the coming Sunday. Ross had bought a birthday card with an envelope. He simply needed something relatively inexpensive to go with it. And there it was; tickets for a raffle and the prize was a brand new car! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if his father won that?
Ross tucked the five tickets he bought into the card and sealed the envelope. Five tickets at two dollars each amounted to ten dollars. A chance with five tickets was plenty enough for a birthday celebration! The raffle was to be drawn on the Saturday, the day before the birthday. Ross didn’t want to spoil the fun by checking on the ticket numbers before the birthday and then giving away something already useless. The envelope was well sealed!
And then the internet announced… the car had been won by a locally purchased ticket! Oh dear! Ross looked at the sealed envelope. It was a great temptation to have a peek.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Ross’s father enjoyed getting the birthday card with the four tickets inside, even though he never won anything.
There was no double that Mrs Bronwyn Madgwick was rich. Everyone knew it. Everyone presumed she had got her fortune from her late husband. In fact it was the other way around.
Out of the blue an advertisement appeared in the local paper, signed Mrs Bronwyn Madgwick. “I have been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I would very much like to give away my eight acre property and six bedroom house to a person at random. Next Thursday a little bright red car will frequent the streets of the town. The driver will pick someone at random, follow them, and when they arrive at their destination they will be announced the lucky winner. If you wish to take part put a sign on the back window of your vehicle that says I’M IN.”
What a flurry it caused! What a rigmarole! What city streets jam-packed with hopeful drivers! Mrs Myrtle McKenzie declared that “most people would hardly appreciate such an expansive property nor would they need six bedrooms. But I would certainly appreciate it.” Unfortunately she was destined not to win.
Donald Tremain was driving along to get home, when he noticed a little bright red car following him. Donald turned down Woodstock Street and the car followed. He turned down Woodward Avenue and the red car also turned. Only two more turns to make! “This is unbelievable!” thought Donald.
Donald turned down Wicker Lane and the little bright red car followed. Donald drove carefully; not too fast and not too slow. He indicated a right turn into the driveway of his expansive abode. He turned! The little bright red car went straight passed.
Cameron’s personality could be described only as timid. In fact, years ago when he was at school, his nickname was “Mousy”, with his little spectacles resting on his little pointed nose.
These days he lived alone in a small apartment. Things were nice enough. He was content enough. His greatest interest was to attend theatre productions by the local amateur theatre society. Of course he never auditioned for a part; nor did he volunteer to help backstage or whatever. His way of supporting them was to attend the productions and to laugh and cry and applaud heartily, whatever the occasion called for.
One evening the organizers were raffling a cake. The evening was dedicated to productions of plays by youth. The cake raffle was to help one of the youth teams travel to a neighbouring town to stage a performance. It was a worthy cause, and Cameron took a generous number of tickets. He’d never won a thing in his life, but a donation is a donation!
He won! He couldn’t believe it! It was a simple joy, but it brought him great pleasure! A chocolate cake! He would enjoy a slice each evening for the coming week.
As he left the theatre a young guy from the local high school grabbed Cameron’s cake out of Cameron’s hands. Teenage boys began passing the cake to one another like it was a football. Ha! Ha! It was fun – that was all. Cameron stood there all timid and mousy. He said, “Please could I have my cake?”
One of the youths threw the cake and it smashed into a concrete wall.
Sebastian Schmuck was dumbing down. He was a multi-billionaire and was sick of having too much stuff. For example, why did he need two helicopters when one was more than enough? Why did he need a whole acre of fairground rides for his grandchildren when they never visited? He would raffle things off and give the money to charity. Raffling for charity always sold more tickets.
Romuald and Tatiana Stevenson lived a quiet life in the suburbs of the same city as Sebastian. They weren’t rich but they had enough to go on. Imagine Tatiana’s surprise when Romuald came home one day and said he’d bought a raffle ticket for a helicopter.
“What on earth do we need a helicopter for? You can’t even drive it. Where would we park it? We have nowhere to go in the silly thing. Goodness me! Let’s hope we don’t win.”
A few weeks later Romuald got a phone call.
“You’ll be glad to know,” said Romuald putting down the phone, “that we didn’t win the helicopter.”
“Thank goodness!” exclaimed Tatiana.
“But we got second place,” said Romuald, “and we won a fairground-sized Ferris wheel.”
Don’t ask me how he knew, but he knew alright. Charlie knew that this was his winning day. He didn’t know exactly how, but he knew it deep down in his bones.
He had always been intuitive; like when he knew his brother had passed away before the phone call even came through. Perhaps today he would win a lot of money in the lottery. Or perhaps he’d win the trailer load of groceries that the local Rotary Club had organized; after all he’d taken two tickets in the raffle. Perhaps he had been given the winning voucher from the local electronic supply shop; the promotion had said “Spend $20 and go in the draw to win”. He already knew how he’d spend it; at least how he’d spend part of it. He wanted a rice cooker, and a deep fryer, and a hand held whizzy stick-thing that pureed stuff. Not being sure as to which scenario was going to make his lucky day simply added to the excitement!
And then… as he looked out the window, two cars slowly passed the front of his house. One was a shiny new bright red car. Both drivers slowed down and looked at his house. They stopped just up the road. One of the drivers got out and went to the other driver’s window. They spoke for about five minutes.
During that time, Charlie was beside himself. He’d won a car! He simply knew! There were a number of competitions he’d entered over the previous month to win a car, and at last it had come to fruition. Oh lucky, lucky day!
The two cars were turning around now. They began to slowly approach Charlie’s house. He knew! He knew! Don’t ask me how he knew, but he knew alright. Charlie opened his front door wide as a welcoming gesture. His heart was in his mouth. The cars were moving so slowly. They almost came to a stop. And then they went right passed.
Kelvin Farquhar entered every competition he could lay his hands on. Businesses were forever running promotions with attractive rewards and prizes. Kelvin had never won a thing. He would love to win a car. But what he most wanted was to win was a house. Once a month the Heart Foundation ran a raffle for a house!
Kelvin Farquhar didn’t have that much money. There was no way he could afford a house on his meagre income. His old car rattled and puffed. When that stopped he didn’t quite know what he was going to do. Winning a house would help him get by.
There’s no doubt that Fate can change everything in a flash! Today was the day the house draw took place. Would the phone ring? Kelvin Farquhar had worked out that they would probably phone the winner in the afternoon, so he drove to get the groceries in the morning.
On the way his car overheated. It was no good for anything after that except towing away. And he never won the house either.
Pam was walking through the city mall and stopped dead in her tracks. There it was in front of her! A children’s play house! It was exactly as in her dream; the same little windows and doors, the same paint colours. It even had a little doorbell that Pam remembered ringing in her dream. And it was being raffled to raise money for the zoo’s rare goat breeding program.
The playhouse would be ideal for her grandchildren. And there was plenty of room to place it at the far end of her garden. In fact, it would look very pretty there. Pam took ten tickets at ten dollars each.
“I can’t believe it!” crooned Pam. “It’s exactly the same as in my dream. I know I’m going to win. Coincidences like this don’t happen without a reason.”
That night, she dreamt she’d won it. But the winning ticket had the number 2 in it. None of Pam’s tickets had a 2 in the number. Pam returned to the mall and bought ten more tickets, each with a 2 in the number. She had spent a total of two hundred dollars on what she regarded as a dreamed certainty.
And you know what? I know that you’re thinking the inevitable. You’re thinking that, of course, SHE WON! SHE WON! SHE WON! Or conversely, you’re thinking, SHE DIDN’T WIN! SHE DIDN’T WIN! SHE DIDN’T WIN! But no! The raffle is not due to be drawn until next Thursday.
Suzanne was thrilled to bits! Absolutely! She’d just had a phone call to say she’d won the Christmas Hamper raffle run by the Save the Trees on Warwick Grove Campaign. She’d never won a raffle in her life! Never!
A Christmas Hamper! She had three children to feed, all teenagers. They ate her out of house and home. She had little enough money coming in. A Christmas Hamper was just what the doctor ordered.
Bring your ticket when you pick it up, the man said on the phone.
Suzanne couldn’t find the ticket. Usually she pinned such things on the calendar in the kitchen. It wasn’t there. It just wasn’t there.
She searched her purses (she had three). She searched the car. She searched the pockets of her clothes. She asked her kids. The ticket was nowhere to be found.
Off she went to the office of Save the Trees on Warwick Grove Campaign. I’ll just have to explain, thought Suzanne. They’ll understand. It’s got my name and address on the raffle ticket stub anyway. I’ll simply show them some ID.
The man in the office of Save the Trees on Warwick Grove Campaign was a total prick. There’s no telling how much he enjoyed the Christmas Hamper himself that Christmas.