2017-08-09 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

Bona fide - A promise!
by Terry Toole

I like to learn something every day, and was looking at new words, and the meanings, and saw bona fide.

Now I have heard this word all my life, but hadn't seen some of the definitions. There were several of them: good faith, honest, sincere, real, or genuine. There were several others, but what came to mind when I saw the word, it was "the real thing," dealing with someone who was considered straight.

I got to thinking about it, and some or all of those meanings for that word wouldn't be bad to be known as bona fide.

I came up in a time when if you said it, with or without a handshake, the deal was done. That won't work today for most folks, but best I remember, that was the way we were taught. If someone was bona fide you could go by what they said. Another saying was, "You can go to the bank with that."

I'm not sure when things changed so that you had better have every dot dotted and every T crossed and everything signed in triplicate, notarized and witnessed.

There is no telling how many millions of dollars I have lost for making a promise to a preacher who was also a good friend.

Back a number of years ago when the Georgia lottery was established, the right Rev. Floyd Mitchell of the Colquitt United Methodist Church asked several of us if we would promise not to ever buy a lotto ticket. I made the promise, and we shook hands on it.

Now I am not a gambler, but I was not a teetotaller on playing the lottery. Remember, Florida had one before Georgia did, and twice, when we were going to the beach, I would stop at a gas station just over the line and buy my children $5.00 worth, and I purchased $5.00 worth of tickets. I won a small amount both times, and I think the children might have. My winnings were over $100.00, but I never went back. When I was standing in line to get our lotto tickets, I saw people on welfare and social security borrowing money from each other to buy more tickets. I guess that is why it wasn't hard to promise Floyd I wouldn't buy anymore. To this day, I haven't ever bought a Georgia lotto ticket, or any other ones.

When Brother Floyd was on his death bed dying with cancer, I went by the house, and asked him to let me loose from my promise. The grand total for the lottery at that time was over $10 million. I told him that if I won, I would give half of the winnings to the church.

Now Floyd was a tough old preacher, and a good friend, but he said, "No!" He died several years ago and never relieved me from my promise.

I really don't know why I thought of this, except that every time I go into a market to buy gas, it tells me to play Mega Millions and win $50 to $100 million if the numbers run right. Too late for me. Although a small percentage goes to education, I have never helped it by buying the first Georgia lottery ticket, or any others since the promise, verbal and a handshake.

Ever so often, I look at those Mega million contests and try to think, Floyd is dead. There is none of the Ten Commandments that say I shall not gamble, but there is one that says something about lying.

Even though I have broken several of the 10 Commandments, I think when I see Floyd again I can thank him again for me making that promise to him about the Georgia lotto. I can also thank my folks for teaching me to keep my word. It has saved me untold dollars.

I have two black friends who enjoy playing lotto. I thought they may be playing too much, and made them a deal. For every dollar they won, I would give them a dollar. For every dollar they lost, they would give me a dollar, and they would keep up with it a month at a time.

One of them won big not too long ago, and I told him, I was glad he didn't take me up on that deal. It was a $50,000 win.

He said, "Mr. Terry, you would still be ahead."

I said, Thank You, Lord..

Return to top