I Won!

In general, I consider myself a winner. Each time I overcome an obstacle, witness family achievements, wake up to coffee prepared by Hubby, or have lunch with a friend, I am reminded that I’m a big time winner. But winning recognition or a reward is not something I have experienced often during my lifetime.

My narrow definition of winning includes: 1) acquiring something for which I gave nothing in exchange, 2) coming in first, or 3) being recognized for unusual accomplishment. So, according to my definition, the lottery is excluded. Purchasing of lottery tickets must logically be categorized as high-risk investing.

Winning has happened for me a few times in my life. My first big win happened in third grade. My teacher, a person I remember mostly for her big jewelry and bright red lipstick, gave the class an assignment to write a paper about fire prevention. Then she told us we needed to do an excellent job because our writing would be entered in a contest.

As a young child I was rather uptight, and near the top of my uptight list were things like staying out of the principal’s office, pleasing my teachers, and receiving praise from my parents for good grades. Therefore, as with all assignments, I worked diligently to complete my paper. But this assignment was of more interest to me than were most assignments. Fire prevention is a big deal in Colorado, and Smokey the Bear was one of my childhood heroes, ranking right up there with Superman and Uncle Sam.

Once my paper was drafted in pencil, I carefully recopied it using my big kid dip-pen. Then I turned the paper in to the teacher and forgot about it. I already knew from almost three years in the system that writing assignments usually vanished into the vast unknown, never to be seen again.

Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when Mrs. H. stood before the class and announced that winners of the fire prevention writing contest had been chosen. I came in second. My prize? Along with the first and third place winners, I was invited to read my winning essay on a Saturday morning radio show. My dad’s prize was to drive me to the station, wait through a long rehearsal, and stick around until the show was over.

Subsequent winnings have been few, but special enough to me that I will mention them here. My sixth-grade pencil sketch titled, “Llama,” won first place for my school and was displayed at the Fine Arts Center; at a home show my name was drawn to receive a beautifully matted and framed picture; and during conferences and meetings I attended, I was chosen to cart home such things as a science fiction novel, a certificate for a complete dental check-up, and a bouquet of flowers.

Recently, I won again. Just a few days ago I received an email that read: “Congratulations! You were the 10,000th visitor to the blog, String Too Short to Tie. You have won this email from the owner of the blog, who appreciates your patronage.”

This is my brother’s blog and I am a faithful reader. Among his writings one will find original essays, historical accounts, trips down memory lane, humorous personal experiences, biographical sketches, reports of notable events, and descriptions of interesting places. You might enjoy visiting Dave at: http://vanilla-ststt.blogspot.com/


  1. Wow! What a plug! Thank you, thank you. I know that that "prize" was not much alongside the privilege of reading your essay on air. ;-)

  2. When I was in 6th grade I won the fire prevention poster contest. I got to ride in a fire truck and blow the siren! This was a big deal!