Mr. Dunbar isn't there because he broke his leg. However, that does not exempt him from the lottery, just from picking out the piece of paper from the box. Usually the oldest son would pick for the family, but his son is not even 16 yet, so his wife picks from the box for the family. It is preferable to have the head of the household or male pick for the family.
Some of the villages have stopped the lotteries. They never explain why, but it is INFERRED that people do not consider it an acceptable practice anymore. Old Man Warner thinks the lottery is important. He has been doing it for 77 years. He thinks if it isn't done, the crops will fail and the town will suffer hardships. He says,
"Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more. live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon'. " (page 4)