Lottery winners and farewell…

Got two or three things going on at about the same time here on Sea Palms Drive in Newport today. I am trying to listen to the NCAA Tournament, pack to head for home and write this column. So far so good.
Yes, the Springer’s are packing getting ready to head back to the West Virginia Hills following another fine, enjoyable visit to Texas. We really like it here during the winter months. This is our sixth and I hope we have many more in our future.
I started this column in the Star-Courier and other family newspapers by telling you all how great I thought you had it by residing in the Crosby area. After six years my opinion hasn’t changed. I have lived all but four of my 77+ years in the hills of West Virginia and have loved every minute of it. However, this too is a great place to live, raise a family and have a successful career. Unfortunately, the latter is the one thing that is hurting in my favorite mountain state.

Except for careers in the service industry or government the private sector jobs have moved out of the mountains to other states and foreign lands. But, by the time you read this I will be back in the mountains watching the first blooms of spring at home that have already passed in Crosby and environs.
I am heading back to a state that has at least eight new millionaires since I left there in January. You probably saw in the newspaper or heard on radio or TV that eight women in the sheriff’s department tax office, Monongalia County (Morgantown, home of West Virginia University) won the national lottery a few days ago. According to the Chronicle the eight hit on the Power Ball game for $276.3 million. After taxes they will each receive $11.9 million. Not bad for a $5 each donation. I wish them all good luck with their winnings.
Hopefully they will do much, much better than our last big lottery winner, Jack Whittaker, was a lone winner a few years ago, brought down a cool $150 million or more and has had a fistful of problems since then. He owns a large contracting firm in West Virginia and is said to have been a millionaire before his win. Since then he has gotten a divorce, lost a grand daughter (“the love of my life”) due to drugs and has had several bouts with the law over theft of several thousands of dollars from his car, alcoholic problems and deals with men and women in “Gentlemen’s Clubs.”
His ex-wife was quoted the local newspapers saying “I wish he had never won that money.” I hope the eight winners from up-state have their feet firmly on the ground.
I bit farewell to Crosby, Huffman, Highlands, Dayton and the rest of northeast Harris County.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!