One Day

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 11, 2011 in General Discussion | 2 Comments >>

How many times have you heard these words? Sometimes it means really good things, and others times it is putting off something you don’t want to fool with. It can be the day that defines the worst of your being, or it can be the 24 hours that make you who you are. Either way, one day is just that.  24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or sands through your hand.

Tom would be that man who gets his turn. His next 24 hours will define some of his life….

He came home from work after a long hard day at the mill and was covered in sweat. The days were long, but the pay was good. He always saved his money for the house in the country he and his wife always wanted. It was the thing he always talked about, and the grist for her complaining. She was never happy, and all she wanted was more. More money, more stuff, and for him to work more, so she could be happy….

It was on this day that his hours would begin. He walked in to let the dogs out, and grab a beer. He noticed that the furniture was gone, and a note that would stay in his mind for years was left taped to the wall. He walked downstairs to his workbench area, and unscrewed a jar from under the benchtop. The mason jar was $3,800 full, and it was a side savings he kept from his wife and used it to buy her the little things that make people happy. But, on this day, he was going to go out for some races and wash away his tears. So, he grabbed a 12-pack at the liquor store and drove out to the track, as night racing was about to begin in one hour.

Tom was a man who liked the races, but never got to go much… He used to say that in another life, he was there every Saturday. But, he was almost there, and he finished his 3rd beer…

He came in and you would never had known anything was wrong. He talked to the usual suspects in the same spots. He grabbed his paper and headed out to the paddock. He liked a runner who looked good in body, but poor in form.  He was ridden by a jockey who walked with a limp, and didn’t get many mounts. Tom sucked it up, and wheeled him in the double. At 50-1, he had to toss a few bucks down on him to win as well. A $10 win wager was big in his life, and on this day it would be just fine. His horse rolled like a good thing and paid $123.80 to win. His doubles were huge, and he held court at the bar acting as if nothing was happening. You wouldn’t have known it, but it was his lucky day. After a 23-1 scored in the second race, Tom had a swell $4,500 to his credit. Things were looking up for this dog, and no matter how bad things get, it can still be your day.

The pick six was coming up, and he always liked to bet $4 on the wager to take his lottery size swing at the fences. After six races, this man who had finished his day dirty and alone was $863,000 to the good. Hard to believe that how he ended his day, would have been finished by such wonderful events.

I have seen Tom at the track twice since that night… He doesn’t come out anymore. No need, he said. He has that house in the country, and has remarried. He is happy. He is a winner. The day was his, and the 24 hours that changed his life are over. But his 24 hour windfall will be remembered as the day that changed his life, and let Tom leave the winner.