Saturday, August 18, 2012
BY THE NUMBERS
One day, when I was in the third grade, Jayne Weaver asked me, "What's your daddy gonna do with all that money he won?" We called our father "Pap". We didn't know that Pap had won any money, although we all knew that he "played the numbers" every day. The "numbers" was an illegal gambling game and was similar to what became the Ohio Lottery. Jayne's father, "Frog" Weaver, "ran" the numbers in Bloomingburg. I asked Jayne how much money Pap had won and she said $3,000. Hell, one could've bought a house for $3,000 in 1952! When I went home, I told Mother what I'd heard and when she confronted Pap, he told the sad story: after receiving his payoff, he went to Vic Donohoe's Pool Hall; illegal card games were played in "the back room" and he also played cards. He also drank liquor and the last thing he recalled was staggering outside the pool hall, where he collapsed in the parking lot. Someone had slipped a Mickey Finn to my father and he was knocked unconscious and was robbed in the parking lot.
In the intervening years I have probably told this story a hundred times, but only a couple of people have known what a "Mickey Finn" is. Today, in a conversation with a group of people, we were talking about gambling and I told this story as an example of one of the reasons I don't gamble. The group of people ranged in age from 25 to 89, and when I related the story, only the 89-year-old had heard of a Mickey Finn. He added, "And did you ever notice that the terminology is always slipped a Mickey Finn?" Yes, I had said that and also "knocked unconscious"!
See accompanying article.