Bettin’ Billy walked with a swag

He’d won four grand betting on the nag.

No one else thought she would win

So the pay-off was good for him.

He looked around and saw a good-time girl

They had ten days in a delightful whirl.

Laid down some money at the next race track

Lost that time, but Billy never looks back.

He still had ten bucks after paying for his lunch

Sneaked in the gate to play his hunch. —

Now Bettin’ Billy with his belongings in a sack,

Can be found hoppin’ cars at the railroad track.


Below is a true story from my CASA volunteer days:

“I’m sorry.  I know you love her, but you can’t keep a roof over her head.  You have lost three homes, yet you continue to gamble,” I heard the judge say in a stern yet sympathetic voice.  He continued, “You lose your rights a her legal guardian.”  The girl was put in foster care.

I sat in the courtroom awaiting my clients appointment.  I did not know the people involved in this case.  I observed a man and woman perhaps near fifty years old standing before the judge with a girl who was about nine or ten.  I have never forgotten.  From experience I assume the girl was a granddaughter probable taken from meth parents and given to the grandparents.  I don’t know for sure.  But that was the predominant issue in that court at that time.

Where did the man and woman go?  Where did the girl go?  How does one gamble away three homes?

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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13 Responses to BETTIN’ BILLY

  1. lisakunk says:

    I pressed like because this a story extremely worthwhile and the poem is delightful. I wish I could press sad on this occurrence and so many more. I was a school counselor and remember many such moments where you shake your head in wonder at the weakness of people. No reflection on addiction. Just weak resolves and inability to make wise choices. Thanks for sharing.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you for this confirming comment from someone else who has seen people pushed beyond understandable limits. When the addiction first begins, the victim has no idea of becoming its “victim.”

  2. Salvageable says:

    That’s terribly sad. And I know of other sad stories involving gambling and broken families. J.

  3. pamkirst2014 says:

    I agree with Lisa–I wish I could press ‘sad.’ The disease of addiction is tearing our society apart…

  4. calensariel says:

    Such a sad story. I wonder how often it repeats itself these days. Especially now that the culture has done an about face and adult children are moving home, grandparents are raising another family, etc. And who are the big losers in all this? The kids, of course. Always the kids.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Kids need stability and that needs to be found in the foundation of the home. Indeed, it is a sorry state we have come into that that is not provided. A result of decades of selfishness. Doin’ it my way!

  5. says:

    My family wasn’t immune to this. My grandfather, whom I never knew, was a gambler. I assume he was a good man too, because he had four children who maintained some good core values. However, the gambling led him to leave that family alone to fend for themselves. Whether he left of his own free will; because he was so in debt that he thought it was he only way to protect his family, or if he was done in by those whom he owed money – I will never know the answer, because the secrets remain secrets. This addiction, like all of them, can be overcome. Your story is sad, because the child is the one who suffers most. They almost never come to realize what normal really is.

  6. Faye says:

    I also wished there was a sad box to tick. Addiction is indeed still a big curse in the lives of many families in our day.. In my country I think gambling is getting out of control. It seems to be on and in everything. Well expressed story in your blog and thought provoking.

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