The Washington Times-Herald

Our Perspective

December 23, 2011

Christmas and people on the other side of the economic table


Richmond —

States are under a lot of pressure to legalize casinos and slot machines, and just like the lottery, most of them eventually will.

When I was growing up, my father would go around to the sleeping room hotels and give out bottles of low cost champagne at Christmas.

I'm not sure about the logic of dad giving alcohol to men with drinking problems but his heart was in the right place.

Often the three-dollar bottle of champagne was the only Christmas gift they received.

Society had written them off. They were thrilled that dad remembered them.

I have an unusual perspective on gambling. Gambling dollars are what fed my family through my childhood. They allowed me to go to private schools and get an advanced education.

Being a successful gambler allowed my father to rise from extreme poverty to relative affluence.

Dad's trips to the soap kitchen and giving gifts to lonely men in sleeping room hotels reminded him about where he came from and a segment of society he couldn't ignore or write off.

As a nation, we can't afford to write those people off either.


Don McNay is a columnist for the Richmond (Ky.) Register. Contact him at

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