My father was very much my mentor. He was philanthropic, loyal, reliable and honest, and I have spent a lifetime trying to live up to his example. We had similar voices, the same dark brown eyes, identical builds and so on. There was one major difference—Dad had good luck and I did not.
I never won a raffle. The only thing I can recall winning was a cheap alarm clock when I yelled “Bingo” at age 10. Dad, on the other hand, always seemed to win.
My father bought one raffle ticket for the benefit of Englewood Hospital. The mayor of Englewood, New Jersey called to break the good news. Unfortunately, he got my mom on the phone.
“Mrs. Ross, you are the proud owner of a brand-new Lincoln Continental,” the mayor proclaimed.
“No,” my mom insisted, “We don’t own a Lincoln.” The confused mayor strongly urged mom to put my father on the phone.
A couple of years later, I was on the local board of the American Cancer Society. I bought 20 raffle tickets and sold my dad one ticket. The night of the raffle I got a call and was delighted when I heard that the winner of a brand-new Mercedes was about to be announced.
“What is your father’s phone number?” the caller wanted to know.
“Why do you want his number?” I asked.
“He won the Mercedes!”
Is there no God in heaven? I could not believe it. He already had a relatively new Lincoln and I was driving an old jalopy. I had bought 20 tickets to his one. You can only drive one car at a time! Dad was beginning to think the average American simply won new cars and never needed to go to a showroom.
You might think my dad’s winning streak had come to an end, but you need to think again. The following year, my dad once again bought a single raffle ticket. This time he did not win a car but won a large color television. When he got the news, he seemed crestfallen.
“Who won the car?”, he asked me in a tone of disbelief.
“Pop, how many cars do you need?” I asked incredulously.
“I don’t need another television set. You can have it,” he said as if he had suffered a major disappointment.
I thus was lucky enough to win a television set, albeit indirectly, but most important, I was lucky to be born the son of Dave Ross.
Happy Father’s Day!