It had been so long since I experienced this that I’d forgotten the pleasing rush that accompanies the moment–that sudden sense of elation, the titillating thrill, the lasting tremor of triumph when one claims the prize.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a winner.
Realizing this may come as a surprise to you, please allow me to clarify.
Two weeks ago, while careening down the dark streets of Worthington en route to my church choir rehearsal, I had absentmindedly adjusted the radio dial to a local pop-rock station–not my usual choice, but an occasional option.
As a song ended, the bubbly female announcer said, “And we are giving away a $10 gift card for Jimmy John’s to Caller #2.”
She had me at “giving away.”
Instantly, I pulled over to the roadside, grabbed my cell phone and dialed the radio station’s number before continuing on my way.
Phone to ear, I listened to the “brrrringgggg, brrrringgggg, brrrringggg,” and thought, “I missed it; it won’t be me.”
Then, a cheery, almost over-the-top, “Hello, who is this?” reached my ear.
“Uh, it’s Jane Moore.”
“Congratulations! You’re Caller #2. Stop on out to the station anytime in the next two weeks to collect your gift card. And thanks for listening.”
Wow, I really was a winner!
Memories of childhood days spent listening to KTOE in Mankato on our kitchen radio, eager to be Caller #9, or #3, or sometimes even #20, flooded over me; was it to win a pizza, a burger meal at Hilltop Tavern, a holiday turkey, a free oil change? Hard to know, but the recollection of a pounding heart and against-the-odds hopefulness, all wrapped up in sweaty fingers gripping the nine-foot curly telephone cord, momentarily returned to me.
Once in a great while, my older brother or I actually prevailed and DID manage to be the caller of the moment; the excitement was even greater if the announcer talked to you on the air for a few seconds.
As the recent Wednesday night Caller #2, I happily walked into the local radio station last week to pick up my prize. The administrative assistant obligingly shuffled through a folder, and my heart sunk a little as I saw at least a dozen other gift cards and certificates labeled with other winners’ names; maybe my win wasn’t really that special after all.
But as I drove away, I smiled to myself, thinking of what a simple pleasure it would be to order a Jimmy John’s meal with my winnings–provided I don’t cave in to the more typical “mom sacrifice” and use the card to buy sandwiches for the kids.
Hey, you don’t get this lucky every day.