Graphic This And That

It was back to work last week. You guessed it — I didn't win the lottery nor did the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes vehicle make a stop at the Moeller household. Drats!

I, like many gullible people, have hopes of winning a ton of money.

Even though I despise lotteries, I'm weak and buy a few tickets now and then. And ... I’ve always entered the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. Why? Because it's fun.

A cynical reporter once told me, "A lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math."

OK...go ahead and give me a hard time. But I had dreams!

Heck, doesn’t everyone have dreams? Isn't that why we pick up a ticket or two when the lottery reaches an exorbitant amount.

My dream?

Well, I would have established trust funds for my niece and nephews.

I may have bought a new vehicle. Then again, my car runs perfectly fine.

I would’ve made certain money was set aside for my aging mother so she would have the best care in the world.

That log cabin in the woods with great hunting grounds — I probably would have bought it.

My alma mater would have benefited as well. I would have established scholarships for deserving young men and women who wanted to pursue a career in print journalism.

Finally, I would have given money to help support my church. I thank the Lord every day for my wonderful job and life as well as parents who raised me with strict and high standards.

So you see, my wishes are pretty modest.

I would have kept my job, while being conservative about future financial decisions.

So I should have won. But instead, I zoned out thinking about what life would have been if I had been crowned a millionaire.

I can't say that I didn't let a bit of greed enter my mind. I thought of that giant lake home with a dock and vintage wooden boat or perhaps a small castle in a Luxembourg forest I would have purchased.

Buying into sweepstakes mania is dangerous — almost evil.

I've always hated witnessing senior citizens and others line up at the corner convenience store in hopes of hitting it big. It reminds me of a series I wrote several years ago called "Hoping for riches."

The story revealed in 2013, Southeast Iowans spent more than $15.4 million on lottery tickets. That same year the county where I once lived, lottery spending topped an all-time high at $6.6 million.

Just think what that $6.6 million would have done if it was funneled back into our community? In a state-by-state survey five years ago, it was the poorest counties bringing in the most lottery revenue.

Some studies even estimate that the poorest households — those bringing in less than $13,000 a year — spend an average of nine percent of their income on lottery tickets.

Do I play the lottery every week? Absolutely not. I'm not one of those individuals who has to make the last stop of the day to the convenience store to buy a lottery ticket.

So I didn't claim the big prize. It’s not a big deal to me.

I can now tuck away my dreams for another time down the road "if and when" I buy another ticket or enter the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, again.

Right now, I'd rather win at life and hope my Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl.

•••

One of our avid readers dropped off a copy of the New York Times his sister sent to him at my office last week, where Socorro was mentioned.

The story "Hard Times for a Hot Commodity" talked with June Rutherford.

At 95 years of age, she was crowned Queen of the Great New Mexico Chile Taste-Off, conducted in Socorro this past year.

Rutherford is the matriarch of the Franzoy family, one of the first to commercialize the Hatch chile.

She spoke with the newspaper about chile growers difficulties of growing chile during the recent climate changes and economic climate in New Mexico.

If you want to read the story, it can be found in the Dec. 18, 2019, edition on the front page of Section D.