Beers and tears

Dennis Payne’s eyes welled up and a flush spread over his face. He couldn’t believe what had just happened.

For three days — Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 — the ZF Beer Garden has been open the last hour of Seattle’s Pacific Marine Expo — free beer for anyone who enters and a ticket with a number on it. You win a pair of tickets to the Dec. 9 Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinal football game if your ticket stub’s number matches that of a ticket pulled from a pile of well over 100 other tickets.

It’s the last day of the show when just before 5 p.m. the winning ticket is drawn and the number called out. Silence. Then at a table up near the Beer Garden’s entrance, an older bearded fellow quietly asks a younger guy to read the number on his ticket — just to be sure.

The guy confirms that Payne, who is at the show with his brother Allen, has the winning ticket. Payne is near tears with disbelief because a year ago, his third brother, Paul, also won the drawing.

Dennis Payne (left), raffle winner, and his brother Allen Payne.

Since then, Paul died of a heart attack, and though the Payne brothers enjoy the Expo, Dennis wasn’t going to come this year. The only reason he came to the show is because Paul’s wife told him, “Paul would have wanted you to come.”

“I can’t believe it. I’m still in shock,” he says.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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