Yesterday, Mimi (86), Leonard (86), and their designated driver, Mark (92) went on a little errand. Picture Meems and Leonard toddling all the way to the lobby from their respective Raider Ranch apartments, ambling out to Mark's car which I'm envisioning as a mile long American-made luxury sedan, and slowly, but surely, folding their creaky bodies into the car. And, that's just the first 10 minutes of the errand.
Mom tells me that Mark is a "real good driver." Seems like Leonard has mentioned something about how slowly Mark drives. Either way, I don't like knowing about these errands until after the fact. One less thing to worry about.
Mark slowly pulled out of the Raider Ranch parking lot onto 43rd St. and inched the purring vehicle up to the light at Milwaukee. According to Mapquest, there is a Stripes Convenience Store 1 min./.63 miles from the Ranch. Just a block and a half north on Milwaukee. Putt. Putt. Putt. Putt. Putt.
At Stripes, before they unfolded their little bodies and slowly pulled themselves out of the sedan using every handle and sturdy surface available, they sat still for a minute like they always do. The elderly never just jump out of a car. There is always something to discuss. Here is how I imagine the conversation went...
Leonard: Unbuckle your seatbelt, Helen. We're here.
Mimi: Is this Stripes? (They only went on one errand yesterday, so she could have ruled out the cleaners or the grocery store.)
Mark: Yes. This is Stripes. (Mark is a man of few words.)
Mimi: Is this where they sell lottery tickets?
Leonard: That's what the sign says. "Lottery Tickets Available Here." I guess that means you can get 'em here.
Mimi: I can't find the seatbelt buckle. (Mark slowly reaches over and released the buckle for her.)
Like a little band of turtles, they perambulated into the store with Mark and Leonard holding onto Meem's elbows "just in case."
At the counter...
Mimi (a little too loudly because she doesn't think that shop keepers or department store salespeople can hear very well): WE NEED LOTTERY TICKETS! HOW MUCH ARE THEY?! (mumble. mumble. mumble.) I WANT THE ONE THAT WINS THE MOST MONEY. I WANT TO PAY MY GRANDDAUGHTER'S TUITION TO BAYLOR. (mumble. mumble. mumble.) TWO DOLLARS? I'LL TAKE ONE!
Each adventurer bought one Powerball ticket for $2.00. According to Leonard, they let the computer pick their numbers.
On the way home from church today, Mom reminded Leonard that they needed to check the winning numbers to see if any of them had won the jackpot of $94,000,000. What? They didn't check BEFORE church?!
As I was kissing Mom goodbye, she told me that she sure hoped she won the money. "I'm going to pay Kelly's way to Baylor. Then, I'm going to send the rest of the money to my brother (who has Parkinson's disease) so he can get the best care money can buy!" (Lucky brother! The "leftover" lottery money would provide the best care money can buy on the beach of his private island.)
There was no mention of springing for our ever-growing debt to Baylor University times two. No mention of buying me a dream house. No mention of replacing our two very tired vehicles (see: BU tuition X 2). Nope. I would get squat. Her only living child. I'm not bitter.
When I asked mom about the distribution of wealth and my dream house she replied just as serious as a judge, "But I thought you already HAD your dream house." Yes, Meems. According to 98% of the people on the planet our home is a dream home based on the mere fact that it has both electricity and running water. According to her "anticipated" lottery millions, not so much. "Hmmm. A bigger kitchen would be fun," I replied. I mean...it's the thought that counts.
I can see it now. A month from now, the State of Texas will be waiting for the person who bought the winning ticket at the Stripes on Milwaukee Avenue in Lubbock, Texas to come forward to claim the prize. And, Mom will have no idea which purse she left it in.