“Vinnie’s Legacy”, crudely made, the sign hung askew, in a tall pine by the highway….
Look for the plaque to, simply worded, “Remember Vinnie”. On a statue carved from a cedar log, set in concrete outside the liquor store. It is customary in the tiny town, to pat Vinnie on the shoulder as you exit out the door.
A hatchet faced chap, features hewn by chainsaw with care, jeans and work shirt, boots and cap, beer can raised in the air, enshrined forever by the town he loved is Vinnie, reluctant celebrity, millionaire..
Summers and holidays, when Godfrey joined us at our cabin up the lake, we stopped partway for loo and coffee break. Godfrey, for fun would play the lottery, “When I win, he proclaimed, I will follow in the footsteps of Vinnie”.
For Godfrey, with his odd disregard for money, had a facination for the remote town, and sought out the story of the hard drinking Vinnie. Years ago, the humble logger won a million in the big lottery.
“I’m gonna blow it, in six months”, headlines read of Vinnie, and he did. “Fluff and Fold” at Vinnie Memorial Launderette”, he bought them new dryers, every kid in town got a dirt bike, or a pony. Vinnie built a new porch for his trailer with the money.
It’s a town hanging on, old men in red suspenders limp to the coffee shop. The hills about forever clear cut logging scarred, pungent fug of pulp mill, the place depressed me, still I had to chuckle over Vinnie’s legacy.
“We remember him fondly” (all but the Mayor) said to Godfrey.” He built a trailer park where all could live for free, we all got new couches, and cars recalled Mrs Rose Buskey”. He bought equipment for the bingo hall, and ice rink for the kids to play hockey. Indeed, Vinnie did spend it all.
Vinnie went back to logging, for he had worked the big woods since leaving school. Up in the coast mountains, driving truck on switch back bend, “I did what I felt like doing” Vinnie said before his liver gave out in the end.
Now we still stop in the little town, en route to our cabin, stop for loo and ice cream, play the lottery…pat the shiny shoulder of dear, departed Vinnie. No, wealth did not bestow sainthood on Vinnie ,but he left a joyous legacy, “I’m gonna blow it”, said he.
And the 37th wisdom of Godfrey states- “Should by chance fortune befall you- take care that it not change you”. Wherever dreams take you, stay the whom you be- Remember Vinnie”