Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A millionaire changed my tire

Well, he wasn’t a millionaire at the time, but still …

Last Thursday, it was announced that the previous night’s $62.8 million Powerball lottery’s winning ticket had been sold in New Mexico, but details wouldn’t be released until after the winner came forward.

This morning, as I was driving to the marina to meet Tadpole for dockmaster duty, I was listening to the local radio station, and the news was exciting.

First, the winning ticket had been sold at a convenience store in Chama, one where I occasionally buy a ticket when the jackpot gets big – yeah, I know it’s an almost certain losing proposition, but, hey, I’m making a 78-cent donation to scholarships each time I buy a ticket, and the other 22 cents is the entertainment value of fantasizing what I’d do if I won.

Second, the winner was somebody in Los Ojos. That’s the official mailing address of Five O’Clock Somewhere. It’s not exactly big, so there was a good chance that the winner would be somebody I knew.

However, the radio station manager had promised the winner that he wouldn’t identify him by name until the official press conference at lottery headquarters in Albuquerque. I sat in my car on the point above the marina, listening to the radio, waiting … waiting … and the press conference got postponed … and postponed … and finally I gave up and went on down to the docks to join Tadpole on dockmaster duty. Not that there was much going on – the only people around were the people who preceded us as dockmasters and the people who, come Saturday, will be relieving us as dockmasters, and the winds were too stiff for their water-ballasted boats.

So as the day waned, I left Tadpole camped out on the point above the marina and came back to Five O’Clock Somewhere to look up the identity of the winner.

Just about exactly three years ago, on Memorial Day weekend, we had taken the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad on its opening weekend. When we got back to the Expedition in the parking lot, we discovered it had a flat tire. Pat had recently broken his wrist, and it was rigged up in a complicated splint structure, so we called for service. Felipe Piña showed up and changed our tire.

Now he’s gone from being the owner of a struggling auto-repair shop to being a multi-millionaire. We had met him only on that one occasion, but according to the friends and neighbors that the television news people interviewed, the Powerball jackpot couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. He was always willing to help people who needed it, always willing to go the extra mile.

He said he’s always had the dream of buying old cars and fixing them up. Now we may see some interesting wheels rolling through the Chama Valley.

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