Lady Bountiful

I normally stay away from lotteries and sweepstakes and slot machines and every other kind of gambling, but this year I’ve been filling in the ridiculous Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes forms. I’ve been feeling lucky — or rather, I had been feeling lucky — having a house (a home!), a nice town to live in, as well as friends is luck indeed, and on the off chance that this lucky streak continued, I went ahead and played their silly game.

And it is a game. They hide the necessary stickers among copious ads for things no one needs in the hope that those foolish enough to enter will think they have a better chance of winning if they buy something. I have a hunch, if I read all the small print, I would discover that I had entered various drawings. The winner the first few times was supposed to win $7,000 a week for life, and the last form said the winner would receive $5,000 a week for life. So . . . games.

Mostly, I was playing a game with myself, thinking of what I would do with all that money. I don’t need it all (a couple weeks worth each year would be riches for me) and would have no way of spending it. I did think it would be fun to turn each week’s check over to a local organization and let them deal with spending it for the good of the community. It certainly would have brought much needed cash to this rather impoverished area.

I don’t really feel that lucky any more — not that I am unlucky, because I’m not. All the things that made me feel lucky are still in place, but that moment when I felt it possible for the universe to open up a crack to shower me with enough riches to play Lady Bountiful seems to have closed. And anyway, the more I think about it, the more dreadful it seems — every week, for the rest of my life having to figure out where the money would do the most good, and then having to make the effort to get it to the proper organization (as well as trying to keep my name out of the public’s eye so as not to be inundated with people’s outstretched hands).

If that had a become a problem, there would still be other ways of using the money for good, such as buying up one of the derelict houses around here and flipping it or tearing it down (it’s costly to tear down some of these houses because of the asbestos issue) and creating a green space. But even that seems like too much work.

Besides, my own property still needs work, and for now, that’s enough riches and enough of a responsibility to keep “Lady Bountiful” occupied.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.


Stuttering Start

Yesterday I went to get gas and to run a last few errands before I started my trip. I was distracted at a light, and stalled my car. It’s not hard to do when one is weak from being sick — apparently, I did not have the clutch pushed in all the way. That’s not a problem. It happens. But what has never happened before is that the car did not start afterward. Nothing. No grinding, no sound at all. Just a dead click. I was in the middle of three lanes of rush hour traffic on a horribly busy highway. (60 miles per hour on the road, and stoplights every mile or so. Yeah. I know. Crazy.)

Cars all around me were trying to pull into the other lanes, and I just sat there with no way to pull off to the side. So I called my mechanic. We decided I’d have the car towed to him, but I tried one more time, and after a grumble or two, the thing started. So I headed to his garage, thinking all the while how silly I was to stall the car and then not be able to start it again. I mean, it’s not like it’s an unfamiliar car or anything — I’ve had it for more than forty-two years. (Wow. That sounds absurd. Who the heck owns a car that long?)

Everything was fine, and I felt sillier and sillier. Then, on another super busy highway, I heard something metallic fly off the car. So, I pulled over to the side and somehow stalled the car again. I couldn’t find what I’d lost (it was only later I realized the frame around the headlamp had flown away in the wind), and the car did start, but with that same grumbling noise.

About that time, I stopped feeling silly. Obviously something was wrong more than a weak clutch leg. As luck would have it, the mechanic finally heard the noise too. Apparently, the starter was stuttering, a sign of it going bad. So, instead of heading out early this morning, I head out to the mechanic for a new starter.

Someone told me that having the starter go out before a trip is good luck, and it certainly is. Better to have it happen here with a mechanic I know than out in the middle of nowhere with no mechanic at all.

This trip certainly has had a stuttering start, what with my getting sick and now car trouble. Let’s hope this new starter presages a new start for the trip, albeit several hours late, and that my luck continues to hold.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.