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You bet!

"We're either rich or we're dumb" ~

The response John gave me when I jokingly asked if there was a gambling problem in Minnesota.

That was after we'd spent money on 5 different raffles and about $150 on "pull tabs" in the Onamia Veterans club last Friday afternoon.

Pull tabs (locally known as cardboard crack) are a little like scratch cards back home. They are a piece of cardboard with 3 removable strips that you tear off and hope to see a winning prize underneath. The prizes range anything from $1 to $5K and are not available in all States but by far the largest volume sold is in Minnesota.

You get a basket when you buy your bunch of cards and end up with it full of dozens and dozens of no good for nothing cardboard pieces!! Totally addictive but great craic.

We had just taken a break from the pull tabs before the virtual racing began for the meat raffle. Hoping we'd have better luck with the raffle, we picked out our numbers and watched and cheered on the "horses" on the big screen. Low and behold in came unlucky number 13! Thirteen is our lucky number for many reasons so obviously it was going to be a winner here. Rick went up and claimed two steaks from a mountain of meat being raffled off.

We chatted to John and several others at the bar, the chairlady in particular trying to coax Rick to join the vets club. Such friendly people they all were though. Copping my Irish accent immediately and asking all about home and how I was finding America. Minnesotans are much like the country Irish folk. Everyone laid back and chatty with a "you bet" or a "you betcha" at the end of a question or just because that's what they always say.

Two more virtual races, a rack of ribs and bag of shrimp later, the slagging started with the strangers in town winning all the prizes. They put the meat in a fridge with our names on it until we were ready to leave and then they put a little toy soldier on the bar beside us as a reminder to take home the bag of meat after drinking a rake of cheap beer! We entered one more virtual pig race before leaving and waited for the action on screen.

Unlucky number 13 wins again! This was the big draw so we walked away with $150 a bag of meat and fun but half serious shouts of don't come back here again "Rick the prick and your lucky Irish wife" !!!!

But we will be back, maybe not to bet, but taking a gamble on a new life up North and we cannot wait.

You betcha!

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