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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • How to spend share of Mega Millions Jackpot

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  •   Just over a month ago, there were three winners of the Mega Millions Jackpot, which was a cool $656 million, or about $218 million apiece. One of the winners was from Kansas, but chose to remain anonymous. Today, I am announcing that I wasn’t the winner. As the old saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play. I used to play the lottery. A couple of dollars here, even splurging at times (after pay day) for $5 worth of tickets. But as with my golf game, no such luck. Never a sniff or a whiff of being a big winner. After it was revealed the Kansas winner would be one of three to garner $218 million, it got me wondering what I would have done if I would have won. Let me start out by saying that I wouldn’t know what to do with that much money. Heck, I don’t even know what to do with my income tax refund, an amount to some which would be an insult but to me it seems like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. To say I’m a person of modest wealth is an understatement — my friends associate me with the sound baby chicks make. You don’t get rich being a sports writer. It’s one of those jobs you do because you love it, not for financial gain. I have no chance of retiring early, because I’ll have to work probably until the day I die just to survive. I never married due in large part that I would have had to find a woman to support me, not me supporting her. There’s not many willing to do that. When looking to fill out my wardrobe, I check for all the bargain-basement deals, and find gems at Apartment 6 or Save ‘N’ Share. The late Johnny Watkins, who was the sharpest dresser I ever knew, often would surprise me by leaving some nice sweaters or shirts in the front seat of my car after he had decided to upgrade his wardrobe. I had friends say, “What a nice sweater,” and I responded, “It’s a Watkins original.’” I also never go on vacations, unless I win them in a contest like the time I won an American Publishing golf trip to Florida for a week — all expenses paid, of course. I need my income to cover my bills and cover my golfing losses, which have become more frequent now that my game is in the toilet. But a guy can dream, can’t he? If I won the $218 million, I know I would probably give a lot of it away because I’m just so used to living conservatively that it’s become second nature. But if I did win, here’s a few things I would do: • Retire immediately, though I would likely contribute as an unpaid sports correspondent. I love covering local sports and would miss the relationships with the coaches and kids. But having done this for nearly 40 years has taken its toll. • Donate some money to The Sentinel. We’ve always talked about new carpet and computers, but it always finds a way to slide down to the next item on the to-do list. • Buy a cellphone. I may be the last person on the face of the earth that doesn’t have one. • Buy my own personal computer. I use one the office provides, and it would be nice to have one I call my own. • Buy some fancy camera equipment. Kendall Shaw is my hero with the Sports Illustrated-type photos he provides us. I’d never be as good as him, but better equipment would be a start. • I would spring for some new digs, even though Bill Sheets has been the greatest landlord a guy can have. It would be nice to experience more than a two-bedroom apartment. I’d like to have a putting clock in my backyard, because golf would be at the top of my agenda. • I would buy a second car — just to say I have one. I’d like something of the 4-wheel variety like the old Jeep I used to have. • I would give my sister and her husband, along with her two kids, a nice chunk. For my sister and husband, it would allow them to retire a couple of years earlier than they had planned, because they love to travel. For my niece and nephew, it would give them a head start on their lives, though both are enjoying successful careers in their early years in the workforce. • I would like to donate to charitable causes. One would be the Community Building, as it’s kind of like the Fenway Park of McPherson. It has that folksy charm that has been a McPherson staple for many years. We need to keep alive our traditions. • Another donation would be to the McPherson school system. The schools have played an important role in my life, and I would like to give  our kids the best of everything, both academically and athletically. • I would donate to Turkey Creek, the golf course I belong to. I would give them funds to make upgrades, like more trees, sand traps, etc. • I would donate to cancer research. Some day maybe they’ll find a sure-fire cure for the disease that took away my mother far too early. • I would help out my close friends if they have a need. They have been good to me. • The rest, who knows? Since it will never happen, the dream ends here.
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