Teri White Carns
A half dozen cardboard raffle stubs are crammed into the back corner of my desk – the pieces that you keep in exchange for your twenty dollars and if you still have them, it means you didn’t win. Didn’t win the “Pot o’ Gold” $15,000 gamble. Didn’t win the SnowCat that would zoom us around mountain passes in bright winters. Didn’t win the bison hunt on Kodiak Island. A few winters ago the guy across the street stuck his fresh-dead bison head in a pile of snow in the front yard, by the kids’ teeter-totter. Tongue out, ears, eyelashes over the dark eyes, brown rough hair, a little blood on the snow, a beast all his because he won a lottery.
We gave our twenty-dollar bills to the vet with rheumy blue eyes whose white hair lit up the shadows at the back of the church. He sat with his cane, catching people as they came to dip their fingers in the holy water font. We haven’t seen him for years, and are left with the stubs for the money handed over to the Knights of Columbus. They spent it for politics that we didn’t approve of, but Jim thought our friend might get a few bucks for every ticket he sold. Once, we won – enough to make a small donation to the church.
at the base of an old birch