Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Mandarin Orange Lottery

Ever since my family and I moved back to Southern California and felt we were settled enough in Ventura, Mom and Dad began playing the lottery again. Not to as great an extent as those slot machine players I'd see sitting for hours at the casinos we went to in Las Vegas, nor the poker players who looked like they had been there for days. The important things, like when the Powerball goes above $300 million. Same with Mega Millions. Of course, in response to this, Dad went a little overboard with tickets, playing six sets of numbers on one ticket and a few on another. Understandable, though, just for that slim chance. It's the usual assertion that all it takes is one. I suppose it's worth a try in that way. Thankfully, not all the time.

When we lived in Santa Clarita, Mom loved the scratch-offs. Again, there was a limit. Just a certain amount for the month for scratchoffs, mainly the dollar ones, unless there was something that looked interesting in the slightly higher-priced ones. It's the same here again. Just a scant few dollars a month for scratch-offs, although with Dad's additional interest in it, we've bought a year of those Year of the Dog scratch-offs. In our house, it's been 27 years of the Year of the Dog. So it fits us.

Myself, I only do a scratch-off if presented with one, such as it has been with Year of the Dog. One I did had two $888, but not a third. You need three to get the amount. The latest one netted me $2. Enough for two more of those scratch-offs, but I'm not going to chase down the $888.

However, I will chase down the glory can of mandarin oranges. Sure you can get mandarin oranges anyway, especially canned, but I only like to get them at Ralphs because they're the only ones that are steeped in mandarin orange juice, not light syrup.

I usually get four or so cans every time we go to Ralphs since I like to have it every day. But opening the cans is a gamble, my kind of gamble. Sometimes you get a few whole mandarin orange segments, along with mandarin oranges that look like they were shot to pieces by a gun from Men in Black. I had one can the other week that was nothing but that. Sometimes you'll get the mandarin orange massacre along with a few thinly-sliced pieces of mandarin orange, lopped off from a bigger mandarin orange segment. This is why I like to buy cans with different dates on it. All of them now expire in 2020, but there are some with one January date and others that are two days earlier. It might be different days of production for wherever this is packaged, so I want to see what different days have brought.

The day before yesterday, I hit the jackpot. I opened the can, dumped the mandarin oranges into a small bowl, and every single mandarin orange was plump and whole! No ragged pieces! No thin slices! In the five months we've been there, that we've been shopping at Ralphs (we also go to Vons and Trader Joe's, especially for the latter's new tuna salad, which is a masterpiece, and reminds us of the slightly smoky tuna salad we used to get from Lox Haven in Margate, Florida), I've never gotten a can like this. It gives me hope that this particular Ralphs store, the only one we have in Ventura, will get more.

Of course, I don't get canned mandarin oranges just for the hope of that. They're the only oranges I eat, and the only way I prefer them. The less work I have to do with peeling, the better. And it's always interesting to see the differences between cans. I prefer gambling with 89 cents a can.