Des can stop worrying about bills
HE didn't look like Rockhampton's record lotto winner, until he flashed me a million-dollar smile that is.
Yesterday, on the eve of the $32 million Gold Lotto, Australia's biggest, I found "Des'' in T-shirt and shorts under his modest Wandal home listening to the Test cricket.
Des (not his real name) told me was still pinching himself five months after his $3m Powerball windfall.
"It still hasn't sunk in,'' the happy retiree in his mid-60s said. "I'm still trying to realise it happened to me.''
And while he has not spent a great deal of it on himself to date, the money has brought him peace of mind and escape from a life of poverty.
"I'm sitting back and enjoying life,'' the former battler who doesn't drink or smoke said.
"Every time I used to see an envelope with a window face I would worry about it being a bill,'' he said about his pre-lotto win days.
"I was even frightened to answer the phone.''
In fact Des's old car broke down on the way to confirm his winning numbers in July.
"Blew up,'' he corrected me.
"The radiator had run out of water and the RACQ told me it was shot.''
Des has bought a new car for under $35,000 and fixed his teeth, as well as helping out his three grown-up children.
"They are set for life and I'm going to enjoy what is left,'' he said.
A sports fanatic, he has already seen his first cricket Test with the Australian win over the West Indies in Brisbane last month and plans on seeing a few Cowboys and Bronco NRL games next year which will be another first for the former representative winger.
He also intends to travel.
"I haven't seen a lot of Australia yet and after that I would like to go to America and Europe. Rome is a place I have always wanted to visit.''
And while he has the travel bug there is no doubt where his heart lies.
"I was born in Rockhampton, I grew up here and I'll probably die here. I love Rockhampton, I love Queensland and I love Australia.