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Sunday, October 12, 2014


The phone call was expected by everyone except me, on Monday.  Although the caller was not specifically known, the nature of the call was not a surprise.  The words, "Of course you have", came out, in unison, and almost belaboured, as I announced, "I have won!"  The phrase, 'You have to be in it, to win it', was the only one I could think of to respond to those around me, who did not appear to share my excitement.

My phone rang around mid-morning.  Although I did not recognise the number, I answered, as always, with a simple, "hello".  The person on the end of the phone was rather more animated, and questioned, "Tracie?"   After confirming that I was indeed the named person, he introduced himself, and advised me that he was calling from the local radio station.  I had won a prize!  Excitedly, I thanked him, and took down the details of where I had to be and when. "Tomorrow.  Come around 11am, so we can give you lunch and all that good stuff".  Despite my tongue being tied in so many knots, I managed a couple of coherent words that caused him to stop the termination of the call.  Explaining that I am a slight competition junkie, (I was reprimanded for using a blatant understatement,) I asked if he could let me know which competition I had actually one.  Laughingly, he told me that it was for 'Beauty and the Beast'. 

After my victory lap around the office, I remembered that there were three competitions for one of Disney's finest, one of which was entitled 'Broadway in Austin. You and Your Beast Lookalike'! I had not checked the details of this particular entry and became a little concerned that I would have to go somewhere with Frank, who although not my beast, would be more readily received than my 'pet rock', but who would not behave himself as well! However, I probably look more like my pet rock than I do the dog! I made a mental note to be more cautious about my contest entries! By the time I made it back to my computer, to visit the radio site and decipher whether I was going to have to give the prize to a more deserving pet owner, or forfeit it altogether, Samantha's curiosity had got the better of her, as during my telephonic conversation, the words, 'for two people', had hit her ears first!  Upon further investigation, I found that I had not won the tickets to the stage performance, more's the pity, but neither had I won the 'pet and owner pampering' package.  The prize was a private performance by the stars of the show, and lunch at the radio station. 

Dana agreed that the opportunity was too good to miss, and as I was not aware of anyone who would be able to take time off work during the middle of the day, other than my daughter, who had already claimed the 'plus one', he suggested that we both take advantage of the unique event.  

Before returning my attention to the work that was starting to pile on my desk, I checked my emails to see if I had received anything confirming the telephone call, and found that I had won two additional prizes.  Two sets of tickets for previews to two movies that were being released at the end of the week!  Although legitimate 'wins', the tickets were not actual seats in the cinema, but the opportunity to queue with several others in order to gain entry to see the film.  I did not relish the prospect of standing in line for over an hour, in the hope that there would be seats available in a preferred area.  I left the tickets on the desk in the front office for anyone to claim, should they wish to be the first to see the two future blockbusters.

Leaving the office around 10:20am on Tuesday morning, Samantha and I contemplated whether we would be the only people at the 'private' show.  We were not.  It appears that this was the radio station's way of 'giving back' to those who freely give their time to help others who are less fortunate.  We sat with a group of volunteers who were being 'honoured', for their efforts.  Lunch was delicious.  It was catered by Texicana Cafe, who served fajitas and all the trimmings.  As usual, the English accent was a great ice-breaker, and we discussed all things British, with seated at our table, such as Dr. Who, comedy shows, and this year's World Cup!  As we were enjoying the scrumptious repast, our host appeared and advised us that his crew were currently performing sound checks and as soon as they were complete, we would be invited into the 'other' lounge for the show!  He further added that as a special 'thank you', all volunteers would be receiving tickets for the opening performance of Beauty and the Beast, and for those of us who merely won the opportunity to join in the festivities, if we wished to enter into yet another competition, and put our details on one of the small sheet of paper he held in his hand, and put it in the bucket, he would be drawing winners after the 'Questions and Answers', part of the recital!  It took all my self control to stay in my seat, and not rugby-tackle him to the ground, in order to make sure I had the slip of paper on which to put my details, and then put in the bucket.  On the outside I looked the epitome of nonchalant, but on the inside I was screaming, 'give me the pad!!' 

Eventually, we were led to the lounge.  Approximately twenty people, with around fifty seats.  Samantha was ahead of me in the single-file line of bodies, but as she reached the seating area, I watched as a handbag was hurled over her head, and deposited on the sofa that was directly in front of two microphone stands which stood in front of two tall stools.  Surprisingly enough, the bag was not mine!  The two ladies that separated me from my daughter in the queue, had decided that they were going to be in pole position.  Finally, I was in competition with someone as competitive as me! 

Two very delightful ladies were introduced to us mere mortals, and they proceeded to sing a couple of songs from the show.  After rapturous applause, we were invited to ask questions.  However, without warning, the young girl who had introduced the two stars, hurled several questions herself, thus rendering most of my queries redundant!  As I was a guest, I chose not to make a fuss, and allowed her to continue interrogating 'Belle', and 'Mrs Pots', and waited my turn.  Eventually, our hostess had to take a breath, and opened the opportunity up to the audience!  'Don't be shy', she said, obviously unaware of the fact that the dozen or so questions she asked were those that everyone had on their lips!  I was not backwards in coming forward, and put up my hand.  'Who were the actresses that inspired you?; I asked, very confidently.   'Mrs. Pots' stole my heart as she answered, most sincerely, 'Julie Andrews'.  My heroine!  The remainder of questions and answers paled into oblivion as I wondered if we could put everything aside and just take part in a Sound of Music singalong!  However, my singing anything would probably have cleared the room, and while this would have made it much easier for me to win the tickets to the evening performance of the show they were actually promoting, it would take away the opportunity for the radio station to give the 'honoured' guests their certificates of appreciation. 

Before 'photos with the cast', the draw took place.  I am unsure as to whether anyone in the audience shared  my first name, but as soon as our host dipped his hand in the bucket, pulled out a sheet of paper, and said, 'Tracie', I had leapt over several bodies and retrieved the pair of tickets that had barely been taken from his inside pocket!  They were mine, and no matter how many sofa spaces were saved by handbags, the executive seating in the front rows of the theatre, were going to be occupied by the winner!  Samantha sat back, without showing any signs of emotion.  'I had no doubt', she said, simply! 

After having our picture taken with the two stars, and spending enough time mutually appreciating the one and only Julie, I bid a fond farewell to 'Mrs Pots', and my daughter and I headed for the car.  I called Dana to let him know that we were on our way back to the office, and on confirming that he had no objection, I offered the tickets to Samantha and Edward.  Although I would have enjoyed the show, I felt it unfair to deny my children a 'date night' that would probably be more appreciated by them, than by my husband.  It was!  Opening night was magnificent, and the seats were, as promised, superb. 

At 10:30am, Wednesday morning, I made the shocking announcement that I had been at work for two and a half hours, and not won anything!  Shock and horror ran through the office and everyone in the surrounding area expressed amazement and disbelief.  Was I losing my touch? 

I still have several emails in my 'inbox' requesting my participation in some up and coming contests, and all have been acknowledged with their entry form being completed.  As long as they need no more than my name, email address and perhaps a phone number, I am willing to oblige.  If they need any more personal information, I become a little more objective, as this usually means that I will be hit with a lot of 'spam', and unwanted information, none of which will result in my 'winning' anything. 

Everyday brings forth new opportunities, and I shall continue to put my name 'in the hat'.  If I am 'not in it', I cannot possibly 'win it', and to those who have asked me to pick their 'lottery numbers', I am sorry, but 'luck' does not play a part in any of this.  It is merely a mathematical probability.  If you buy one lottery ticket, your chances are one.  If you buy several, the odds of winning increase.  I have 'lost' far more contests than I have 'won'.  As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, with the rain pattering gently on the window, I wonder if there will be any more phone calls or emails bearing the words, 'You have won', during the next week.  We shall see in ....... another story!

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