Farming and gambling

Sometimes I just feel like reaching around and patting myself on the back for being such a great mother to Joey and Russell.

I could ask either one of our sons to pat me on the back, but I know they would suddenly remember something I did that didn’t quite jibe with what they thought was appropriate or right.

I know, I know. It’s seems impossible for a mother to do something that would make her sons feel embarrassed or angry.

At this moment, I am sitting here trying to think of a specific example when I have totally embarrassed or made Joe and Russell angry and I cannot think of a single instance.

Aha, one just popped into my head. The other day I asked a TOTAL stranger if he knew where the corn-flavored ice cream was at Farmfest.

“Typical woman,” Russell said. “She has to ask for directions!”

This brings me to the topic for this week’s column. I don’t get to spend too much time with just Joe and Russell, but Tuesday was the exception.

Russell had been searching and searching for someone to go to Farmfest with him. Pa was busy at meetings. Wait a minute. He said it was a meeting on the golf course.

I mean, Russell was really searching. Russell asked his uncles, he begged his cousins and pleaded with his big brother, but nobody really wanted to attend.

I volunteered to go with him, but I’m last person an 18-year-old son wants to spend a day looking at monster combines, augers and grain bins at Farmfest. He is probably quite certain, in his teenage mind, that I will embarrass him.

And I did.

For the second time in less than a few hours, I asked a total stranger, “Where is the drone demonstration?”

In the end, I didn’t have to spend the entire day alone with Russell.

Out of the kindness of my heart Monday evening, I poked my head into Joe’s bedroom and asked, “Joe, I would really appreciate you going to Farmfest with us tomorrow. I am the last person Russell wants to spend the day with at Farmfest. Would you please go with?”

After much groaning, Joe agreed, but I had to add on stipulation to the agenda.

“We can go to Farmfest, watch the drone demonstration and then we can surprise Russell with his first gambling visit to a casino.”

Both Joe and I enjoy going to the casino and losing a few dollars.

We budget what we are going to donate.

OK, OK. I know, I could be teaching them a life-ruining addiction, but I prefer they learn about it from me and a friend that doesn’t know about how to stop putting crisp dollar bills in the machines.

Learning about bad habits with their mother has been my life philosophy with my boys. So far, it’s been working.

I gave Russell $20 for his first foray into gambling. I did it for Joe and I have to do it for Russ.

At one point, Russell and I were each down five bucks and Joe had cashed out because he was up a total of $8. Joe was thrilled, and rubbing it in something fierce.

I was getting cleaned out. I changed machines as Joe sat back down at his lucky machine, even after I stated, “You never sit back down at the same machine. It’s bad luck.”

It was getting to be time to leave and I still had $15 of the allotted $20 to lose.

“I am going to sit here and get it over with,” I said as I sat between Joe and Russ.

I put in my voucher, made the max bet and won $100.

“It’s time to go!” I exclaimed. “Let’s pack it up and get out of here.”

“Just wait, I am going to lose it all,” Joe and Russ said in unison. I think they thought my good luck was going to rub off on them.

As we walked out the door, Russell added, “That was so dumb. My mother gave me $20 to play at the casino and rather than just saving it, I lost it all. That was the dumbest thing I have done.”

And that is exactly what I was hoping would happen. I know how “dumb” I feel when I walk out of a casino having lost $20, and I was hoping Russell would feel the same way.

It’s too bad my sentiments weren’t the same.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at

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