The Real Rewards

A few months back I learned that a former co-worker had hit the lottery.

About three years ago they left the company I work for to go back to their former employer.

That person and about 9 co-workers had combined their funds and played the Powerball.  Although they didn’t win the “Mega” prize they did win $2,000,000.

The individual  shares of the prize amounted to roughly $145,000 after taxes.  Not the millions that everyone thinks about when you hear that someone hit the lottery, but still a real nice chunk of change.

My first thought was “good for them”.

My other thought was “that’s the closest I’ll every come to winning the lottery”.  Basically the closet for me is knowing someone who did.

I’ve never won anything of any size or any significant amount of money in my life.

My biggest win was one time when my kids were Powerballyoung.

We had recently moved into our house and my wife bought a dresser at auction for around $25.

We put it in our daughter’s room.  A couple of days later my kids, who were five and nine at the time came out of her room with a wad of twenty dollar bills.  It totaled $400.

Of course our first question was “where did you get that?” and they said it was in the dresser.  They had found it in an envelope under the paper that lined the drawers.

Whoever had sent the dresser to auction failed to thoroughly search every drawer.

My wife called the auction house the next day.

As she started to explain the situation she was able to get out these words, “I bought this dresser at your auction.”  Before she could say anymore the person on the other end rudely interrupted and emphatically said “All sales are final!  All items are sold as is!”

My wife responded with “Thank you very  much and sorry to bother you.”  Obviously they didn’t want to hear her story and so we bought it “as is”, with $400 in one of the drawers.

That $400 came in real handy since we had a vacation to Disney World (our first with the kids) scheduled for the following month.  That $400 in 1992 was like finding $700 today.  It helped cover our meals and some spending money for the week.

That’s the biggest windfall to date in my life.

Sometimes I ask myself, “Have I already hit the lottery and just don’t know it?”

I have a great family. I did OK financially over the years.  I’m debt free and managed to have a decent amount set aside for retirement.

I worked for all of that and I earned it.

Some may look at me and say you hit the lottery with your life if you compare it to mine.

Maybe I did.

I was blessed with parents and grandparents who loved me and gave a damn.

I never wanted for any of the essentials in life, I never wanted for what was really important.

I have a beautiful and loving wife, smart and honest kids and a grandson who’s as smart as a whip.

But again, all of that took work.  All of that was earned.

Anything worthwhile having has to be earned.

The real rewards are the lessons learned while earning it.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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