The Last Windrow: Here's what I would have done if I'd won the lottery at age 25

Instead of buying used farm equipment, I'd have been able to purchase a new Allis Chalmers D-21, and a shiny new green John Deere baler, and ...

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"I bet you got a winner there!" he said with a wink.

Even though I knew he was lying, I had instant visions of wealth. The store clerk gave me a vision of what it would be like to be a millionaire all for just $2.

No, I didn't win the Mega Millions drawing last week. Do you think I would be sitting here writing this column if I had?

Well, maybe I would just because I like to write stuff, but chances are that I'd be making plans.

Of course, winning that much money at my stage of life would seem a bit futile. After all, you've got to live long enough to spend it, right? At 75, I'd have to "get on my horse," as they say.


Having those kinds of funds available to me at age 25 would have brought much more excitement and possibility. Looking back at those years there are things I would have done and not done with a bagful of dollars.

Instead of buying used farm equipment, I'd have been able to purchase a new Allis Chalmers D-21. I'd have been riding high above the Iowa sod as I pulled that eight bottom plow through the alfalfa field.

Yes, I would have probably done that.

Instead of fighting with a used hay baler, I'd have purchased a shiny new green John Deere baler. Or maybe even a New Holland.

Rather than coming up with a broken, untied bale once in a while, I'd have traveled easily across the hayfield, never plugging up or having the twine knotter going out of time.

Instead of pulling bales out of the baler in 100-degree heat, I would have been sitting inside my air conditioned tractor cab and watching someone else I paid to stack the bales on the flatrack.

Yes, that would have been nice.

If I had those Mega Millions funds, I would have replaced the worn and rickety loading chute we used to load cattle and hogs. That chute was never totally trusted to hold together long enough to get the livestock up and into the truck.


Even the truck driver wondered if it was safe to use that chute. A new, commercially built loading chute would have surely been purchased.

Instead of relying on our neighbor's silage cutter to cut our alfalfa and corn silage, I'd have purchased a new cutter to pull behind that D-21 Allis.

Our neighbor, God bless him for his good intentions, had a reputation of breaking down about once a round in the field. I was pulling a silage wagon beside him one day while he was running the tractor and his generator fell off the tractor right in front of the cutter.

Lucky for him the generator didn't get picked up by the cutter! I'd bet the sparks would have flown.

Yes, if I won the lottery, I'd have had my own new equipment and cut my neighbor's silage. I would have done that.

If I'd won the millions of dollars in last week's lottery when I was 25, I'd have bought every farm that touched our homestead and enlarged our small farm to a degree that would have made it sustainable for years to come.

At that time land in our area of Iowa was selling for about 500 bucks an acre. I heard just recently that land in our farm's area just sold for $15,000 per acre.

My investment in land would have been a good one if I'd have won the lottery.


But, I didn't win.

My wife bought one $2 ticket last week and not one number matched any called that night. We didn't even look at the numbers before the drawing, thinking we might jinx our chances.

It made no difference. We didn't get one number right. Two dollars down the drain.

But, just for a second or two I dreamed of what I'd have done with the money. Then reality came back to me and I thought of what I'd have visited upon me if I would have won.

I'd probably have had to move. Probably had to give up my garden with its weeds and bugs. Forgot about fixing the old 8N Ford tractor. Shagged off folks begging for money and other stuff that would make life miserable.

No, I'm better off for not winning. I keep telling myself that.

See you next time. Okay?

John Wetrosky
John Wetrosky (2022)

Opinion by John Wetrosky
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