Thinking about how many people tonight are riding money a football game.
In my sleepy cotton town, the bookie joint was like an Elk's Lodge.
Situated in the alley behind the row of cotton factors and brokers, you
could walk in and hang out all day long, have a coke, crack open some
whiskey, make a bet, read the paper, watch sports, talk shit.
My father enjoyed taking me there just to see the characters drawl on. They were an assortment of cotton factors, farmers, cops,
lawyers, and two-bit county politicians. There was a stove, a counter,
four tables, and a coke machine. The whole room was no more than 30' x
30'. The mayor of the village nearby would drop by and make deer
sausage with cheese grits.
Stacey, the bookie, would be
updating the point spread as the day went on, and joke around with the
characters. You could bet on anything ten dollars and up, straight bets,
teasers, round robins. I watched a card game once when I was in there
with my father- I was maybe twelve- where a fellow lost a hundred acres
of prime land on a single hand. I've never been tempted to gamble.