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Louise White, 81, is presented a check for $336 million by Gerald Aubin, (l) director of the state's lottery, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee, (center) at the Rhode Island Lottery headquarters in Cranston, R.I.

Right about now it sure would be nice to have Louise White’s bank account. If you haven’t heard, she’s the 81-year-old grandmother from Newport, RI, who recently came forward to claim her oversized check for $336.4 million, winnings from the Powerball jackpot she won back in February. The prize money is reported to be the third-largest in the game’s history, according to abcnews.com.

On February 11th White and her son went to a local Stop N Shop where he picked up some rainbow sherbet and she spent $3 on three quick-pick tickets. A family spokesperson told reporters that until White was able to get to a bank and put the ticket in a safe deposit box she tucked it into her Bible and slept with it.

Smart move if you ask me.

As the sole winner, White opted to take the lump sum of $210 million instead of the 30 payments that would be spread out over 29 years.

Another smart move.

The prize money will go to the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, named after the dessert that her son just happened to be craving on that fateful February evening. (Yes, the spelling for sherbet is “different” but that’s what was used.)

Whenever I hear stories like this I always think, “Dang! Why couldn’t that be me holding that big jumbo-sized check?” Obviously, it’s not my turn to be filthy rich. Every once in a while, usually when news like this pops up or when there’s a ridiculously huge lottery jackpot up for grabs, my family and I sit around and play the fantasy game: “What would you do with your share of the loot?” We talk about what trips we would take, what companies we’d invest in, what companies we’d create, who we would give what to, where we’d live, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.

The logical side of my brain knows that money is not everything and that it won’t solve all of anyone’s problems, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. And I’m fully aware that there are plenty of stories about people who have won lotteries and have managed to make a mess of their lives and hit rock bottom. Again, that’s a big, fat chance I’m willing to take. Why spend time focusing on the negative when it’s so much more fun to think about all the happiness a huge payday could bring instead?

I won’t tell you ALL my loot-spending plans (just in case I do win someday), but I will share a couple with you:

  1. Payoff all debt. Mortgage, car, bills – all of it. (That’s a no-brainer.)
  2. Take a much needed vacation to someplace that has water so clear I can see the ocean floor (Guests will be notified via private invite only).
  3. Start a college scholarship fund for minority students interested in pursuing creative occupations.
  4. Open up an artist in residence location/grant for writers, designers, visual artists and musicians.

Those are just four things on my fantasy spending list. Please believe there are plenty, plenty more. But a list like this means nothing if you don’t take action. Now, that doesn’t mean that I use my hard earned cash to buy a lottery ticket every single week, but I’ll admit if there’s a nice sized jackpot just waiting to be collected I will drop a buck for a ticket (or two) if I’m feeling lucky. After all, you can’t win if you don’t play. Right?

Until next time,


Before you go “leave a comment” telling me what you would do with your share of lottery loot.

Photo: ABC News, AP