Some say I drive too slow and always follow the rules. I cannot tell a lie and prefer to not jay walk. I take my vitamins every day, save money every month and recycle. I got my COVID vaccine and brush my teeth twice a day, but I love to gamble!
I love the lights, bells, whistles, and smells. I get invigorated when I hear cards shuffle or someone yells, “Seven-eleven, baby needs shoes!” And although I do not smoke, I love the casino’s smokey smell and faint mix of cheap liquor and cheaper cologne.
Years ago, when my children were young, I despised gambling and the toll it took on my marriage, at the time. I prayed for all those people gambling away their grocery money or milk for their babies. I detested seeing little old ladies being pushed up to a slot machine, cup of nickels in hand, and an oxygen tank attached to their wheelchair. The whole environment made me feel unsettled and out of control.
But, twenty years ago, when I took a gamble on Boo, everything changed. I never feared he might bet the deed on our house or sell my wedding ring to pay off a debt. Boo was disciplined in how much he allowed himself to gamble and when our money was gone, it was time to go home. Not to the ATM.
We’ve gambled on cruise ships in the Caribbean, in Louisiana, Colorado, Vegas and once in an obscure casino in Montana. Two years ago, when we went to Niagara Falls, we stayed at the Seneca Casino and Resort which was just blocks from the beautiful falls.
Once, and only once, we stayed at the Isle of Capri in Bossier City, Louisiana, way before their remodel. Boo was more excited about the buffet than gambling, but “I got us a great room,” he said. We checked in and when we opened the door to our musty smelling room with bright green carpet, there was a huge hot tub right next to the bed.
“What in the world?” I gasped!
“I thought you’d like it!”
Three years ago, we stayed at the Paris Hotel, in Vegas. Our ‘gambling’ trips to Vegas are really more about people watching, seeing shows and walking the Strip, but one night I stumbled upon a Britney Spears penny slot that was life changing. For the next two days, I was all Britney, all day! Every time I hit big, she sang “Baby One More Time” and as I tumbled into extra spins she belted out, “Oops! I Did It Again.” Even as we ate lunch or walked down the strip, I could hear Britney in my ears, singing away, coaxing me to come back. It was “Toxic!” In two days, Boo and I won $900 and bought a Britney CD.
Just two weeks ago we went to Coushatta, in Kinder, Louisiana, surprisingly, the home of Britney Spears. We were only staying one night and by 9:30 p.m. I turned to Boo and whined, “I hate this place. I’ve lost all of my money! I wanted to play the Heidi’s Bier Haus penny slot, but it’s too crowded and no one will leave. I’m going to bed.”
Boo leaned over and handed me a twenty spot. “Here, go see if Heidi’s got an empty seat.”
As luck would have it, I found an empty chair at Heidi’s. I put my $20 in and I knew, betting sixty cents a pop, I could at least play for fifteen minutes. The second time I hit PLAY, music started blaring and Heidi popped up, pouring beer, and spinning reels. Even the guy next to me said, “Oh, you’re going to win big.”
I said, “Thanks, but it’s only $7.50.”
He looked at me, pointed to the screen, and said, “Lady, that’s $750.00!”
I looked around for Boo, needing his validation that this was real, when I suddenly hit on forty extra spins. End of story, I won $1000.00 with Heidi, betting sixty cents with Boo’s twenty- dollar bill. There was a small crowd around me and an old man singing the German beer songs right along with Heidi. Boo videoed the whole thing.
I gave Boo back $30 as interest on his $20.
“I thought we would split the whole winnings, Love Bug.” He said.
“No way! I’m saving it for Vegas and your birthday trip to the Venetian.”
I safely hid my thousand dollars in my sock drawer as soon as we got home.
Being such a high roller has not changed me. I’ll still continue on my Safety Sue lifestyle of driving slowly and flossing my teeth. I’ll always try to tell the truth and tithe to the church. But, as long as we’re able, I hope Boo will take me gambling, at least to the Winstar, every year until I’m one hundred years old. Heck, if I make it to a hundred, maybe I should double down and go twice a year to improve my odds. Why not?
Seven-eleven…baby needs shoes!