I first found out that my daughter is a winner when she was nine months old.
As a bookkeeper for a restaurant, one of my job duties involved making the daily bank deposit, and picking up coins so the cashiers could make change.
One day, as I was making my deposit, the bank manager asked me if I wanted to sign up for a drawing for a special toy giveaway. It seems the bank was changing hands, and their stuffed bumblebee mascot was no longer going to be used. They were giving away all excess stuffed bees. I signed up three-year-old Daughter Em for the drawing and tossed her name into the bucket.
As I was walking out the door, it hit me. I had two daughters now. Granted, Kay was only nine months old, but shouldn’t I enter her name as well? I turned around and signed an entry form under her name.
When Kay was about 4 years old, our local grocery store had a coloring contest. Both Em and Kay were excited to enter so they could win some cool prizes. They did their best coloring jobs and entered their masterpieces in the drawing. A few weeks later, while grocery shopping, the girls noticed that the winners were displayed in the customer service area. We hurried over to see if either of the girls had won. Kay was excited to see that she won a happenin’ new soccer ball. She proudly carried that ball throughout the store while we shopped.
It was around that time that our shopping mall got a new store called Mr. Bulky. It was a bulk candy store and both girls had a grand time whenever I would allow them to pick out their own bag of candy. They loved hearing the sound of the metal scoop digging into the candy bins. In front of the store was a giant gumball machine with huge multi-colored balls of gum displayed through the glass globe. The store had a policy that if anyone paid their quarter and received a blue gumball, that person received a free grab bag of goodies from the store. Many times Kay got to march into the store, proudly display her blue gumball, and receive her prize bag. Em most often got to watch, though Kay was always good about sharing.
One day, Kay took her friend Jonna to the mall with us. Jonna had never seen the huge gumball machine so Kay excitedly explained to her about the lucky blue gumballs. Knowing Kay’s proclivity for winning
ev-er-y-thing, I suggested to Kay that if she did indeed win the blue gumball again, she let Jonna have it this time. Kay agreed and let Jonna go first. We were surprised to see Jonna hold up a blue gumball! Kay went second. Guess what. She got a blue gumball too. Both girls were overjoyed as they compared the contents of their goodie bags. The blue gumball gods did indeed shine upon my second-born.
My brother visited us one year and wanted to take my girls and me to a dam that was in our vicinity. It was an afternoon’s drive there and back, so we stopped out of town for a bite to eat. When traveling, we like to eat at local restaurants, rather than the franchises, hoping for a unique experience. At the restaurant we chose, they had a coloring contest, with a variety of different prizes. Em and Kay stayed within the lines and colored their best. A few weeks later, a postcard arrived in the mail, addressed to Kay. Not Em. It seems Kay won a free dinner at the restaurant. We never did go back, due to the distance, but Kay chalked up another win.
Kay was about eight years old the day we walked into Reel-to-Reel at the mall. I was looking for a new anime movie and Kay saw something that caught her eye—a 6-foot tall poster of Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall. Wouldn’t you know, the store was having a drawing for cardboard Brad, and Kay felt that he must be hers. The next week, I came home from work to hear this message on our answering machine—“Hello, this is X from Reel to Reel and I am calling to let Kay know that she won the stand-up Brad Pitt and can pick it up anytime.”
I had one happy skipping girl as we walked in to pick up Brad. We waited behind an elderly lady who remarked, upon seeing cardboard Brad, “My, that is one handsome man.” Kay informed her, “He’s mine. I won him.” The lady smiled and replied, “Well you are one lucky girl.” To say the least.
We walked down the mall, past the stores, Kay proudly carrying Brad under her arm. I’ll never forget her face as she looked up at me and said, “Mom? I rock.” Brad stood guard in our living room for quite some time after that. I figured if his cardboard outline freaked me out in the middle of the night, it might do so for an intruder as well.
After she won Brad, I was walking past Maurice’s in the mall. A t-shirt shouted to me---one saying, “I’m Not Lucky. I’m Just Good!” The t-shirt of necessity became part of Kay’s wardrobe, and the saying became her motto.
Over the years, Kay continued to win various items. She called me one night from college to tell me that an event she was attending was giving away a video camera. She gushed, “I told all my friends not to bother entering because I win everything, and guess what? I won!”
I was reminded of all her winnings earlier this week when Kay posted this on Facebook: “Won Jason Aldean tickets for Thursday!” She just “Facebooked me” from the concert, saying, “It’s amazing!”
You do rock.
P.S. Daughter Em called me recently and said, "Mom, you know how I never win anything? Well I just won free portraits! Finally, I won something!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that everyone who enters wins a free portrait---that it's their way to get you into the store. That'll be our secret, right? Shhhh...