Down on the Corner: Veterans - a Star - and Oatmeal
A funny thing happened on my way to the store to buy some oatmeal. I came across a pair of Vietnam veterans. God, I love my hometown.
The flags immediately drew my attention as I drove by, so I had to investigate. I found out they were members of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America -- chapter #864.
They're selling raffle tickets to support their organization. For $5, I was provided with a chance to win $500, which is first prize. I also have a shot at 12 other prizes, consisting of fresh meat or restaurant gift cards. The drawing will be held at a "Bowl for Freedom" event on Aug. 20.
They're calling it "The Lucky 13 Meat and Eat" raffle. If you live in the Midwest, especially northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin, meat raffles are the equivalent to church bingo games -- they're a religion. They draw a crowd. They're often held in the bar area of small town bowling alleys or in corner taps. They're a hoot! For $1, they give you a paint stick with a number on it. They spin a wheel with all the numbers on it and, if your number comes up, you win! And it's not just hot dogs and hamburger, either. They're nice cuts of meat.
They're getting the meat from Pinnon's Meat Market, as pictured. The meat market and I go way back. It was just down the street from my parent's house. Rick Pinnon, who used to own the market, was a butcher at the neighborhood grocery store I worked at during high school. He sold it to three brothers, who's father was our mailman -- long before we had to start referring to them as mail carriers. The eldest son and I used to bowl in the same league. There's not much else to do when the cold winds begin to blow, followed by the ice and snow.
I didn't pay much attention to the star they handed me for buying a ticket. It wasn't until I got home that I noticed a business card on the backside of the star. The card reads:
"I am part of our American flag that has flown in the U.S.A I can no longer fly since the sun and wind have caused me to become tattered and worn. Please carry me as a reminder of the privilege that is yours to live in the great nation which I was privileged to fly over."
Your damn right I will! It's in my wallet. By the way, I forgot all about the damn oatmeal.