By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
RAMER, Tenn. – A small Tennessee town near the Mississippi border proved a powerful draw for Magnolia State residents on Wednesday.
“Half a billion dollars is a lot of money, and you can’t win if you don’t play,” said Johnnie Brown, a Tupelo resident who drove an hour north to buy Powerball tickets.
According to www.powerball.com, the estimated lottery jackpot reached $550 million on Wednesday.
“I really don’t need all that money,” Brown said. “I’ll be happy with $1 million.”
The magic numbers in Wednesday night’s drawing are 5 -16-22-23-29 and the Powerball is 6.
The chance of hitting those numbers kept the Ramer Chevron on the west side of Highway 45 and the Citgo on the east side hopping with hopeful lottery players. Lottery ticket sales are prohibited in Mississippi.
“I’ve been dreaming all day about what I’d do with it,” said Linda English of Jumpertown. “My son got killed in April. His funeral would be paid for and he’d have a tombstone.”
“She’s still paying for the funeral,” said her friend, Barbara McCoy, also of Jumpertown.
Both English and McCoy said they’d spend their winnings on helping out family and friends first, then they’d think about themselves.
“I need a new car,” McCoy said.
“Ain’t that the truth,” English agreed. “We all need one of those.”
Tupelo resident Jessica Norwood drove up to the state line with two of her aunts. On the way, they discussed plans for their potential windfall. Again, family came first, and Norwood thought up a special idea for them.
“Maybe starting a business for the family to work at,” Norwood said, “something to keep them going so you don’t have to keep giving them money.”
Once the business is established, Norwood has a particular destination in mind.
“Paris,” she said with a quick smile. “That’s my dream trip. Oh, yeah.”
Buddy and Kaye Rowland live in Saltillo but had to be in Corinth for a meeting, so an easy trip north of the border made good sense. The Rowlands’ first thoughts were for their family, but it took little prodding to get them to go further.
“Just travel,” Buddy Rowland said, appearing to relax as he said it. “Just have a good time the rest of my life.”
According to the Rowlands, everybody else wasted their time and money on Wednesday.
“I said, ‘Look at all the people getting tickets,’” Buddy Rowland said. “She said, ‘Don’t worry about them. We’ve got the winning tickets.’”
Kaye Rowland nodded and said, “We’ve got fortune on our side.”