And, speaking of swimming, SalGal and I are literally 'awash' in the gene pool of gambling. We just love it when someone asks us about our ancestry.
Our great grandfather was a rapscallion and scallywag whose destination of disembarkation upon arrival in America in the 1800's was NEW ORLEANS. Need I say more? He didn't figure there was a need to go anywhere else, for pity's sake and had an excellent stake to work off of since he'd won a BUNCH of money from his fellow travelers on the boat over.
The only traveling he ever did was up and down the Mississippi river on a steamboat playing poker. He was always able to handsomely reimburse himself for any business expenses along the way. And, he dressed the part, wearing spats, a derby and swinging a cane as he sashayed on the ship's deck.
Apparently he never saw it coming, but his future bride knew exactly what she wanted. They became 'the' couple of New Orleans (probably more as entertainment at parties rather than a high society pair). Instead of being known as Mr. and Mrs. Martin Lee Kelly (he dropped the O' when he walked off the transatlantic ship)...his moniker was 'Honey Bunch' and she was known as 'Gran Money.'
Although Martin's son and our grandaddy, Edward, tried to buck the gambling gene and become a respectable businessman in Lubbock, Texas during his lifetime, he could beat any oncomers at poker, with his little daughter (The Ancient One disguised as The Yung'n back then) glued to his side soaking up every flush and full house. The woman he married was like every other woman when she saw him drive up to her house in a CAR (a Model T). She liked both 'the good life' and a rascal with a car. We think that his lack of success at being a cotton merchant back in the early 1900's was in direct proportion to her demands that he give up any notion of gambling beyond trying to sell west Texas cotton. He usually lost his shirt.
All I can say now is...NEVER play poker with The Ancient One. She might not be able to remember her own name at times, but she'll bluff you up one side and down the other until you're pissed off and borrowing money from your own children to stay in the game.
I don't even know how to play poker, but I've gambled on dreams and goals and risky ventures my whole life. I can honestly say that so far, I'm well above breaking even, and woulda played the same hand in all but one instance. I never would have married, Number Two, Little BigMan!
Oh, it's so true that life is a gamble. Our daddy, Frank Jackson, gambled big time...on oil wells. He was a Wheeler Dealer alright. He would have loved the movie business too. Producers, directors, studio VIP's etc. often bet their fortunes and houses on a story they are convinced will be a big, honkin' blockbuster. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they end up selling maps to the stars' homes on Sunset Boulevard, serving burgers at Mel's Diner or married to Brittany Spears.
Yep, gambling is in our blood. I remember coming home from school on Wednesdays and there was our beautiful mother and four of her BFF's sitting around her octagonal, green, felt covered poker table. Cigarette smoke swirled in the air and the clay chips clinked on the table as the girls laughed, sipped on Manhattans and cleaned each other out of the milk money. It's no wonder that to KK and I the sounds of ice clinking in Waterford crystal, poker chips on felt and Zippos flicking open flames on Lucky Stikes meant life was good, the equivalent of living in a demented Disney Land. The whole scene had me at my mother's velvety order, 'Five dollar ante'.
I have to gamble. I have to gamble that life always gets better, that KK and I will age gracefully, and that Twin Liquors won't run out of Black Jack.