Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lottery Ticket

I think it was around 1998 when I was working at a customer's home just outside Toronto. During lunch I went to a variety store to buy a can of pop and was looking for some cash in my wallet. I didn't find any but I did find a lottery ticket that was just about crumbling in my hand. It was 6 months old. I decided to check to see if I had won a free ticket as that was just about the most that I had ever won in any lottery. To my surprise the ticket was a winner and the prize was $80. I haven't won anything bigger since.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Neighbour's Ghost

At my grandma's place, outside the city, there was an outhouse which I made sure that I used before it got dark. In a town that didn't have any electricity yet, you wouldn't want visit the outhouse in the dark. One night at dinner my grandmother told my sister, who was 8, and I that there was a ghost of a lady that sometimes appeared at night on the porch of a house just about 50 yards away from us. At around 9 o'clock my sister and I looked out the window and saw the ghost on the porch walking or floating back and forth.

Pumping Water

When I was 9, I went to my grandmother's place outside the city. She had a small house without the comforts of home that most of us now take for granted. There was no electricity, plumbing, indoor toilet, fridge, stove, or microwave. To get water I had to bring a bucket to the a water pump at the general store which was about a 10 minute walk away. Although it doesn't seem far, it felt like it was 10 miles away when I had to carry a bucket or a big jug of water.

Getting to the water pump was easy, but then you had to line up with your container behind lots of other containers depending on the time. If you arrived early evening then you would be lucky to find less that ten containers lined up. If you arrived in the morning or lunch time, you are likely to find 30 to 40 containers ahead of you. Oh yeah, you had to pump your own water. The pump handle was a six foot 2 x 10 inch piece of wood. Not so easy for a nine year old.

One evening I dropped the big glass jug filled with water just as I was reaching the house. I walked in not saying anything to my grandmother. I just waited for her to ask about the jug. I just didn't have the guts to tell her. She did ask me a few minutes later and I was lucky to get only some scolding.

Lights In The Sky

When I was 20, I saw some lights in the night sky moving together then stopped. There were about six lights that sort formed a circle when they stopped moving. Then after several seconds they moved on, separating from each other slowly then vanished.

In Between

In highschool we used to gamble for quarters in between classes and after school. Our favorite game was in between. The dealer gave everyone two cards and there is a pot with everyone's bets in the middle. We started off with one quarter from each player. Before the third card is dealt to the player, the player had to announce his bet, as low as a quarter or as high as the pot. If the third card dealt to him was in between the first two cards then he wins whatever he bet(ex. If he had a 2 and a 10 and the third card was a 3, then he wins. If the third card was a 2 and a 10 or lower or higher then he loses. If the first 2 cards where the same, then the player must bet whether the third card is higher or lower)

At one point there was about eight of us playing and the pot grew to about $150 and we were just betting quarters. But since a couple of people bet the whole pot and lost, the jackpot grew quickly. So my turn to bet came up and everyone was tense at this point since they really wanted me to bet the whole jackpot and lose. My cards were 4 and a Jack. So I really had to think if the chances of getting a card in between those were high enough to risk my paycheck that I recently received from my part time job. I made my bet and told the dealer to bet the whole jackpot and I had to show my check to prove that I could cover it if I lost. And the guys laughed and was sure I wouldn't win it. The dealer slowly flipped up the third card to me and a 5 came up.

That was the biggest gambling win I ever had. To this day the most that I gamble is $3 on a lottery once in a while.

Small Time Gamblers

When I was ten, I used to watch the teenager guys from our street play cards under a huge steel arch shelter on an empty lot beside my grandparent's house. It must have been about 15 feet wide inside it. I think the shelter used to be a container that was cut in half. That shelter was such a great hangout because we were able to use it during rainy days or just lie on top of it during hot days when it was under the shade of the coconut tree beside it.

In one particular afternoon there must have been a dozen older teenagers and adults gambling away. I got tired of watching after an hour and left to go to my grandparent's place which was just over the fence next to the empty lot. A few minutes later I heard a couple of police cars screeched to a stop at the gate of the lot. It was a raid. Through the window I saw guys scrambling for their lives. It wouldn't have been good to end up in jail at ten. We still played cards betting with coins on somedays after the raid.

I still like playing cards, for quarters and dimes.

Little Cars

When I was six, I had a friend who had lots of little cars and I had only a few. We would play in the sand and make little roads. While my friend wasn't looking , I would bury some of his cars. When my friend left to go home I would dig up the cars and take them home. I think one time he realized that some of my cars were his when I took them out to play with him. I felt bad for him because he was the only child at his place and I had six siblings.

Luckily I didn't become a professional car thief.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scary Movie Night at the Neighbour's House

When I was five in 1971, I went to a friend's place to watch a scary movie on a black and white TV. All the neighbourhood kids must have been there with no empty chairs and no empt spot left on the floor. The house seemed like a theatre with the lights turned off while we watched.

At the end of the movie it was already very dark outside. Everyone started going home and no one was going my way towards my house which was only a two minute walk away. A few of the guys gave each other warnings of things that might come out of the shadows. The images of the walking tree monsters from the movie starting coming back into my mind. Then I started thinking about ghosts lurking to the side of the exterior doors that led up to our place on the second floor of a house that we rented. I heard stories about this particular ghost but never actually seen it myself. I froze. I didn't want to go home. I knew that a ghost or a monster of some kind would jump out at me as soon as I started going up the stairs. Finally when everyone was gone I just raced home running all out. Up the stairs, no creepy hands with long nails or floating ghosts appeared among the dark shadows. The unlocked door saved me from the 30 seconds of waiting torture. Home safe at last.

There's no place like home, indoors! At 43, I still love watching horror movies.