Seems like only Tuesday, August 1, that I was bemoaning the fact that I haven't found a penny since July 20. So you know what happened Wednesday, right?
On Wednesday, my favorite gambling aunt picked me up on the Save A Lot parking lot to drive me to the casino. She's been out of action with a knee replacement, and missed Casinopalooza 2. Now that she's on the mend, and Hick is out of my hair, we figured there's nothing we'd like better than a casino trip.
I loaded up my recent scratch-off winnings (managed to fit them in her small SUV, no need for a U-Haul, thanks) and we hit the highway. We made really good time. Only 45 minutes from Save A Lot. I didn't even have to close my eyes. Sometimes, I get a little nervous about Auntie's driving. You'd think a long-time passenger of Hick's would not be so faint of heart.
We both had a losing session at the casino. But lunch was great. I sprung for Auntie's chili and onion rings. Being more of a conventional gal, I had an actual burger at Burger Brothers. We were bumfuddled by the fact that instead of handing us one of those round, vibrating, light-flashing disc thingies...the cashier said she would call my name. Not a big deal when it's MY name. But Auntie and I about split a gasket listening to that cashier bellow other people's names. Our fellow diners also felt a jab in their funny bone. We were snickering openly. Not even a pretense about the silent shaking mirth like happens in the midst of a faculty meeting when your best friend looks at the matronly librarian who has just stood up to speak, unfortunately having a crack attack (and I don't mean drugs), and whispers matter-of-factly, "Her butt's having lunch."
Maybe I'll share more casino weirdo interactions later. Maybe not.
Anyhoo...we stayed a good long time, Auntie deciding to sit out front in a cushy chair and read a book on her phone while I continued to lose more money. We left at 6:00, avoiding rush hour traffic. I know that Auntie did not partake of demon rum while we were there. It's not like Vegas, where you get free drinks. She did, however, have a cookie. I don't know what was in it, but the ride back raised a bit more hair. Not necessarily Auntie's fault. When you are in the right lane, and signal to take the ramp from one highway to another, you don't expect a pickup truck to rush up and try to pass you on the right.
Auntie had me back at Save A Lot, unscathed, by 6:50. I told her I was debating on where to get my 44 oz Diet Coke. Free casino Diet Coke doesn't count.
"I think I'll just go over to Orb K. I was in the gas station chicken store this morning, right before you picked me up, cashing in some winning tickets for more casino bankroll."
"You can go in a store more than once a day, you know."
"Yeah. But Orb K is just across the road, and I don't have to go back through the lights. But the gas station chicken store has better Diet Coke. Ehh...I already bought two tickets there this morning. I can get some at Orb K. I don't want them asking about my winnings I cashed in this morning when I cash in my other tickets. I'd feel like I had to tell them I lost it at the casino."
"You don't have to tell those people anything."
"I know. But I'm a regular. They chat. It's probably a different cashier by this time...and the owner won't be there this late. Hmm...no, I think I'll go to Orb K."
"Let's do this again."
"Yeah, I had a really good time. Even though I lost."
"Yes, it was good to get out."
Auntie headed for home, to dig into the Chex Mix that I gave her as a token of appreciation. I headed over to Orb K for a 44 oz Diet Coke and two new scratchers that came out on Monday. I had to wait for two other customers at the soda trough. I'm sure that wouldn't have happened at the gas station chicken store. AND my Polar Pop was hot. I should have had a clue when the taped-up handwritten sign said to use the Pepsi ice dispenser, because the other one was broken. I didn't think it mattered, because I don't put in much ice anyway. But apparently that ice is what makes the soda come out of the fountain at such a chilly temperature.
I got in line behind the two soda swillers, and set down my Polar Pop. Handed the guy my $30 and $10 winners I was cashing in. I stepped over by the lottery ticket display that sits on the floor, leaning against the counter by the left-side register. I told the older clerk guy my ticket selection. I've never seen him working there before. He was being all cheery, saying, "Here she is, the luckiest person to come in here today."
I thought he was referring to my winners. That nobody else had cashed any in. Then I decided that he was saying I was going to buy a winner. You know. Hedging his bets in case it was a big jackpot, so I'd remember to give him a cut in appreciation. I resisted the urge to tell him that I had just lost a bundle at the casino, so obviously I wasn't THAT LUCKY!
Back over to the right register, to pay for my soda and get my change back. I always pay separately for my magical elixir. No lottery money involved. Orb K has a little slide thing hooked onto their cash register, for the coins to come down and land in a round cup part at the end. Their 44 oz sodas are 83 cents. I picked up my coins, thanked the guy, and he said
"Now you have a couple of pennies to scratch your tickets."
At that moment, as I turned to leave, I looked down and saw TWO PENNIES!
"Yeah. And I just found two more! I consider them good luck. So I'm keeping them."
Uh huh. Val isn't donating her pennies from heaven to the TAKE ONE coin cup any more!
There they are, posed in all their shiny glory on the console of dirty, dirty T-Hoe. One is 1989, and the other is 2012. No meaning for me in those years.
Funny how just the day before, I was whining about not finding any pennies...