Friday, September 7, 2007

Life's Little Lottery

I just found out today that one of the four winning tickets from last week's $330 million Mega Millions lottery was sold at the little tiny corner store, just half a mile from our farm.

Apparently, no one knows yet who the winner is. But the fact that someone in our little county---with a population of 16,000 spread over 581 square miles and a per capita personal income of less than $14,000---is now $82.5 million richer is pretty amazing.

You have to understand, this is a county so rural that the big front page news from the most recent issue of the local weekly paper, the Buckingham Beacon, was that the Board of Supervisors has approved the plans to allow the area's first McDonald's restaurant to be built in the little town of Dillwyn.

We don't have a lot of rich people here. The largest employer in the area is the county jail. According to the 1999 statistics listed on the official county website, there were only 9 families in the county that had an annual income of $200,000 or more. A full 16% of the population lived below the poverty level, and that figure rose to 27.7% in families with children under 5 years old.

I'm not saying it's a bad place to live. Quite the opposite---I love it here. We moved here BECAUSE it was so rural, and we hope it stays that way.

But, in our current desperate-for-money-just-to-pay-our-bills situation, I can't help taking a moment to pause and think: "So close, and yet so far: $82.5 million. If only it had been me."

It's a pleasant daydream, thinking about what I could do with all that money. We'd pay off all our bills, of course, and give some to family, then fix up the farm to the true splendor it deserves. Make all the repairs and renovations that the house so desperately needs, reseed the pastures, build a proper barn. Hire a landscaping team to beautify the yard. Fix up the old historic county store and post office on our property, maybe turn it into a little gallery or community theater. And then, with all the rest... Buy land!

I dream of buying up as much beautiful countryside as possible to protect it from developers and preserve it as small farms and wildlife habitats. I once asked Ken, "If we won enough money in the lottery to buy the entire county, would that make you a Count?"

It's not so much that I want to DO anything with the land, I just want to keep anyone from turning it all into strip malls and housing developments.

Since I almost never buy lottery tickets---and none of my other pursuits seem likely to turn me into a millionaire---this dream most likely will never become a reality. But who knows, maybe the new winner will do something great for the county too. Whoever the winner is, I hope the money will be a tremendous blessing for him.

As for me, I like to joke that this local lottery win is just a sign of the Universe starting to swing a tide of prosperity in my general direction. So the lottery was a near miss... No big deal. It takes a while for the Universe to perfect its aim. I can wait. After all, Fate can't exactly help me win the lottery if I don't buy a ticket, can it?

But there'll be other forms of prosperity and abundance coming my way soon. Maybe they won't have quite so many digits after the dollar sign, but they will be wondrous and fulfilling in their own varied and surprising ways.

I look forward to seeing what the Universe can come up with.

1 comment:

Mark said...

So many lottery winners have stories that end badly. Many end up a year or two later broke and broken. Yours is a tougher row to hoe, but you'll make it, and you won't even need a lottery win to do it. Hang in there Nancy!