Did you ever win or lose a contest?

Did I ever win or lose a contest. No, because I have been living under a rock my entire life. Of course I have won or lost a contest! For pity’s sake, 100 Journal Topics. Be realistic.

There is a picture of me in my baby book, sitting on the counter at McDonald’s. I am three years old in the picture. It is a Polaroid two-step photograph – you know, the ones where you take the picture and then kind of shake it back and forth and then after a minute or so, you peel off the cover and there it is? I am sitting next to an Easter basket that contains a lot of fun things and a stuffed monkey. Next to the photograph is Mom’s writing, telling me that I’m a lucky girl and I won the basket, and that there were 530 names in the hopper.

Because of this, I have always been considered “lucky.” When Mom signs up for contests, she sometimes puts my name because I’m luckier than her.

And just now, looking at the topic, I realize that it says contest, not drawing, and that I’m going about this the wrong way. So yes, I won contests too. Tuttle Talent Show and 4-H and all that stuff. I also won a prize from the Daily Oklahoman in their Valentine’s Day classified ad contest. I’ll veer over that way for a moment, then get back to the drawings.

I read in the Oklahoman that they were having a Valentine’s Day contest. This was in the year 2000. You had to buy a classified ad, and then the best one would win a limo ride, and roses, and dinner at the Haunted House in Oklahoma City. I decided I would like to win this contest.

So I composed a poem, and e-mailed it to the Oklahoman. I paid for the ad with a credit card. The ad cost about $50, because it was so long, but I knew I would win it so it was okay. And I did win it. I felt a little sorry for all the other people who bought ads, thinking they might win, when they didn’t have a chance against my dazzling poem.

I was going to reprint it here, but it wasn’t in the first place I looked. I tried to get into the Oklahoman archives, but my password isn’t working. So I sent an email about it. And then I waited a while. And then I gave up and got back to it. You can trust me…it was a good poem. It was based on “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. It was about Ben.

So I won that contest. Ben and I went to the Haunted House restaurant with the $50 gift certificate I won. We actually had to spend some of our own money – that’s how expensive that place was. Classy. He picked up the dozen roses from Trochta’s flowers for me. I decided to save the free limo ride until Christmas, and then we got the biggest limo they had and took Mom, her friend, my sisters and their families on a Oklahoma City Christmas light tour. It was pretty neat. There was only one seat belt in the limo, and we strapped Lenora’s car seat there.

So – back to what I wanted to write about. My luck. This is a good one.

One year, Karlene, Marissa and I took mom on a little birthday trip to Cherokee, Okla. for their centennial celebration. Now, I was feeling lucky. I can hardly describe it. I have never felt lucky like that before or since. But I knew that I was destined to win something. I kept asking Ben to take a weekend trip to Kansas so I could buy a lottery ticket. I knew I would win. I knew it. It was inevitable. We didn’t go. No one believed me.

But we took mom to Cherokee, which is a mere half-hour from the Kansas border. I asked to go to Kansas while we were there, but no one wanted to.

We got our tickets for the centennial party, which included a stagecoach ride, a barbecue dinner, admittance to a play, and a chance to win both the centennial quilt or the centennial gun.

I wanted to play the lottery so bad. Instead, I found myself standing in line in Cherokee, waiting to buy my ticket. I remember looking from the gun to the quilt, and back again. I thought, word for word, Will it be the quilt or the gun? I hope it’s the quilt. Again, I knew I was going to win. There was no doubt in my mind that either that quilt or that gun would be mine. I decided that whatever I won, I would give it to Mom, since Cherokee was where she was born and it was her birthday weekend.

We had fun in Cherokee and left before the play, which is when the drawings were made. But you did not need to be present to win.

When Mom called me the next day, she was giddy with the news. She called and told me I was not going to believe it, but she had talked to Lenora P…

In my head: I know why you’re calling Mom, is it the quilt or the gun?

…and it was the quilt. I won the centennial quilt. Mom hinted around that she wanted it. I told her she could have it. It hangs in her living room now.

I knew I was going to win something. I still can’t believe how lucky I felt, and how assured I was of it.

I reminded Mom of how I knew I was going to win something. I told her that I knew without a doubt I was going to win one of the centennial raffles. I reminded her of how I had wanted to play the lottery. She asked me why on earth I didn’t talk them into taking me up to Kansas. Apparently they would have taken me if they had known that I was really going to win. Hmm.

And that’s the story of how I was lucky enough to win anything – and instead of playing the lottery and becoming a millionaire, I won a quilt.

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