Since Karen lived slightly more than a one hour drive from Atlantic City we ventured down several times and toured the casinos, boardwalk and beaches. We engaged in petty gambling, sightseeing, and on one occasion tried to gain admittance to an audition for contestants on the popular television game show Jeopardy. We missed the first cut. Our excursions provided relief from the hot sun baking Karen’s roof during the middle of the day. By the time we got back to her house, we could spend the brief time before it got dark preparing her roof for the next day's work and covering it with a huge plastic tarp in case the dry spell turned wet.
When we finished, we had to return to our respective homes. Karl lived in Bradenton, Florida, Joe in Atlanta. Both had flown up. Joe had picked up some things that he would not be able to carry home on a plane. Karen offered her car, so we could carry Joe and his belongings home. Karl would go with us then fly the final leg to his home and I would drive her car back. I looked forward to returning via the Smokey Mountain Parkway and Skyline Drive. This was a trip I wanted to take since I was a youngster hearing tales of my grandfather’s excursions on this route as he traveled annually from Florida to Michigan.
When we left we decided to have on final go at the Casinos so diverted our route through Atlantic City. Joe liked playing slots and Karl and I preferred table games. We wandered around inside one of the larger casinos. Every once in a while, Karl and I would connect up then head into the maze of slot machines seeking Joe. He would be easy to locate since he played machines at the end of the row. He had a theory that they placed machines that produced more winners near the ends of the aisles. He reasoned that people walking by would notice when the bells and whistles notifying that a winner was being paid and be enticed to enter and fritter away their money in the rest of the slots. He did seem to find machines that paid enough winnings to keep him engrossed and financially viable.
On one of our searches, just as we approached, his machine went into its clamor announcing a winner. The display on the machine showed a jackpot winner with three big number sevens lined up in a row. But unfortunately the jackpot prize was only awarded if you played five quarters per spin. Joe had only wagered one. So even though he hit the jackpot combination, it paid out the paltry lowest prize, a handful of quarters. We commiserated with Joe about his lack of fortune not playing enough to win the big one, then returned to our walk through the aisles of table games.
Shortly, Karl and I bumped into one another again, and figured it was time to leave the casino and begin our drive to Atlanta. So we headed back to the slot machine area to retrieve Joe. We found him at the same machine as before and the scene repeated just as we approached. Again a jackpot combination showed up and just like before, Joe had only played one quarter and hence awarded the lower prize. Seemingly his theory about end of aisle machines paying out regularly held some credence but it did not guarantee that you placed large enough wager to gain top prize. We each had money enough to finance our trip home, so we left as winners and headed out on the road.