What would you do if you won a million dollars?
Better yet, what would you do if you won millions and millions of dollars?
It's fun to daydream about that sort of thing, isn't it? Getting lost in the fantasy of it all, coming up with all sorts of things you could do with that kind of scratch, and then come crashing down to Earth with the reality of your particular life situation. Nothing like a cold splash of reality to wake you up.
My dad Jack played the lottery every weekend, routinely stopping in at the Red Rooster in Outlook to grab a Lotto 6/49 ticket or two. (Everyone mostly knows this place by its real name, the D&E.) If there was ever a guy who deserved to win big, it was Jack Edward Ruttle. I remember accompanying him on Saturday afternoon cruises to Outlook to get his tickets, and I'd more often than not come away from the trip with a slurpie, hurriedly gulped down (Brain Freeze Central!) before we got home so Mom couldn't give the lecture about spoiling my supper. I wonder how many times she fell for it, considering my tongue carried shades of blue, green or purple over the years.
No, unfortunately Jack never won The Big One in all the years he played, but man oh man, he never gave up trying! Of all the things you could've called my dad, diligent was one of them. He never wavered, and he never missed a week. Maybe he'd win $2, maybe he'd win $20, but he never stopped chasing it; that dream of finally winning it big with a capital 'B'. I don't believe he wanted it so much for himself, I think what Dad wanted was to be able to give his family everything they could ever want. That was my father to a T - a provider who never stopped giving, even if he was the one who needed something more.
I play the lottery somewhat sporadically, buying a ticket maybe once a month, if that. If there's a big jackpot up for grabs, then hey, I'll put a few bucks down in the hopes that my numbers align and give up the goods. That's about the extent of my "gambling". I don't have any interest in slot machines and I've never been one to make friends with VLT's either.
What would I do with my winnings, should my numbers ever line up? What would be my next move if the gods ever smiled down at me and allowed me to hit it big? Well, let's dream together...
First off, I would not only check my numbers and recheck them, I would probably not stop checking them until I had an *official* phone call from the *official* lottery commission, with an *official* person telling me that I've *officially* won the lottery. Hey, I'm not taking any chances here! I want it on the record books that I've won and I want all the required T's crossed and I's dotted. THEN I'll allow myself to start celebrating.
And how would I celebrate? Well, I'll be completely honest with you - I would burst into tears. Straight up, and not a word of a lie. I know for a fact that I would begin balling my eyes out. I would remember all those weekend trips that Dad took to get lottery tickets, all those slurpies he'd buy me for being good and going along, and the tears would flow freely. Dad would definitely be at the forefront of my mind and in my heart. Mom too. Both of my parents would be on my mind because I know that if I ever did win it big, it would honestly be something of a shallow victory. Mom and Dad aren't with us anymore, so I can't shower them with riches and spoil them like crazy for all they did for me and my brothers while growing up.
That's what ALL of us want, isn't it? The opportunity to say 'Thank You' to our parents in the absolute biggest way humanly possible?
Knowing that Mom and Dad aren't around for me to spread the wealth around, the next best thing in my mind is doing something with my winnings that will help ensure that the legacy of Jack and Lynda Ruttle lives on in the community. I would establish scholarships in both of their names, which would be given to deserving students at graduation time every June. The Jack Ruttle Memorial Scholarship would go to a student who was looking to enter the field of equestrianism, or to put it simply, looking to work with horses in any way possible. Those animals were my dad's life, so I'd love to be able to help any student who was looking to make them a part of theirs. As well, the Lynda Ruttle Memorial Scholarship would go to a student who was looking to enter the field of barbering and hair styling. Mom loved cutting hair and making others look and feel beautiful, and she was incredibly skilled at it for many years. I'd love to be able to help someone who was also looking to go down that path in life.
In other charitable efforts, I'd love to be able to give to children's hospitals, as well as animal shelters and SPCA locations across the country. When it came to winning the lottery, I've always told myself that it's important to help those who can't help themselves. Who can't help themselves more than sick kids and defenceless animals?
I haven't forgotten this neck of the woods, let me assure you. Next on my list is something that a whole lot of people are pining for and wanting to see happen - fixing and reopening the SkyTrail walking bridge in Outlook. I'd be more than happy to sit down with whoever happened to be Mayor at the time as well as the rest of Town Council and come up with a plan to see the bridge open back up. If it meant opening up my wallet to a very large degree, then so be it. Some things in life are more important than money.
But hey, if you want to read about how I'd go about spoiling myself, I can do that too! One thing I've always fantasized about, and something that all of us have seen on about a million TV shows, is going on a big, luxurious family vacation. I would talk with the rest of my Ruttle siblings and their families, coordinate with all their schedules, and I'd book a week-long vacation down in Hawaii. First-class air travel, top-notch hotel with amazing ocean views, and all the amenities that came with it. Done. Paid for. I'll foot the bill for all of it. It'd be simply incredible for all of us Ruttle kids and family to be together in one location and just drinking it all in. The stuff dreams are made of, I'm tellin' ya.
Other things I'd buy would include a nice big home in Outlook, a few new vehicles, and I'd buy some land up at Candle Lake to develop a custom-built dream cabin. A real vacation getaway to the point where I'd probably spend my entire summers up there.
It's probably not healthy to come up with these very specific things I'd love to do if I suddenly won millions of dollars, but hey, a guy can dream, can't he?
Can't win it if you're not in it!
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.