“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to the piece of cardboard on the staff room table. It was squared off with numbers from 0 to 9 written across the top and down the side and people’s names scrawled in the squares.
“Our football pool.” One of the guys picked it up and explained that it was for the Grey Cup game. Our team was playing so interest was high. “Say the final score is 24 for us and 17 for the other guys. We go to the column with 4 at the top and then down the side to 7. He ran one finger down the number 4 column and another along the number 7 row until they met on a square. The winner is the guy with their name here. Got it?”
I nodded. Seemed simple enough.
“So, are you in?”
“How much?” I asked with trepidation. I had 35 cents in my wallet. It was my first teaching job and I was just getting to know the staff. I didn’t think I could say no. I didn’t want to say no.
“Twenty-five cents a square.”
A little sigh of relief. “I’ll take one.” I fished my wallet out of my purse and handed over a quarter and scribbled my name in one of the squares.
“Ah, come on,” someone called out from the kitchen. “Four for a buck. Fork over a dollar.”
I didn’t have a dollar and wouldn’t until pay day. “Ah, no!” I waved my hand dismissively. “You only need one ticket to win.”
Monday morning a ten and a five-dollar bill were taped to the blackboard in the staff room with my name written below as the winner.
Me!? I won? Wow! Fifteen whole dollars.
I endured a whole lot of teasing—little “Miss One-ticket-to-win”—but that money went a long way at the grocery store.