If Kenny Rogers Was My Uncle

There’s four wonderful pieces of wisdom that my Uncle Kenny Rogers always says to me at family gatherings, Fourth of July picnics and when he showed up at my college graduation. They were:

“Paul, you’ve got to know when to hold ’em,
know when to fold ’em,
know when to walk away,
and know when to run…”

There’s two not-so-wonderful pieces of wisdom that my Uncle Kenny Rogers likes to spout after he’s finished the bourbon, had a full punch bowl of spiked Egg Nog and polished off the olive juice in the fridge. They are:

“Paul, you never count your money
when you’re sitting at the table,
there’ll be time enough to count ’em,
when the dealings done.”

Surprisingly, Uncle Kenny’s wisdom always seems to fit every situation we find ourselves in. For example, at last year’s Baby Shower for my sister, he showed up in true form – just having bleached his teeth and beard a perfect shade of white. As my sister opened her latest present, which happened to be one of those baby bjorn things (think baby in a backpack) he said to her:

“Paul, your sister’s got to know when to hold ’em,
know when to fold ’em,
know when to walk away,
and know when to run…”

Of course, my sister’s husband wasn’t too pleased with Uncle Kenny’s wisdom, which seemingly alluded to the fact that my sister should know when to hold her soon-to-be-born baby in the baby bjorn; she should know when to fold away that baby bjorn and put her soon-to-be-born baby in its crib; she should also probably know when it was safe to walk away from her soon-to-be-born sleeping baby; and she should definitely know when to run away from that soon-to-be-born screaming baby. Uncle Kenny, although not welcome all the time, had wisdom available for every situation.

There was my parents house-warming party recently. They had just purchased a brand-new house and Uncle Kenny Rogers showed up (he’s such a kidder) wearing his Dolly Parton signed guitar. He played a little music and then turned to my parents who had just dealt the family a huge platter of veggies and dip and then sat down at the end of the huge farmer’s table. Uncle Kenny Rogers was quick to say:

“Paul, your parents should never count their money
when they’re sittin’ at the table,
there’ll be time enough to count ’em,
when the dealings done.”

Which everyone sort of assumed he meant that my parents should have never sat down at the table even after dealing out the veggies and dip because who were they to sit down with all the people who just gave them house-warming presents (a.k.a. money) and relax?

Really, it was sort of rude. And Uncle Kenny Rogers exited the building earlier than most. But for him it seemed to be a growing trend.

Still, Uncle Kenny Rogers is still a pretty damn good uncle. He’s always got wisdom, a bucket of fresh fried chicken and a guitar in hand no matter what time of day it is, no matter where in the world he’s showing up. Uncle Kenny Rogers is, for all intensive purposes, a damn good Uncle.

6 comments on “If Kenny Rogers Was My Uncle

  1. Faberhorn - April 13, 2004 at 9:28 pm -

    Couple things I observed while reading about your Uncle Kenny:

    -He is to Whitening what George Hamilton is to Brownening

    -He would never say, “Half-day, eh?”

    -The chorus of “The Gambler” is one catchy little rigmarole. I will contemplate its eternal wisdom til the day I die… which sort of dovetails into:

    -With his shiny visage and quixotic catchphrases, Uncle Kenny has all the allure of a cult leader/televangelist. Now I’m not necessarily a cult kinda guy. But if Kenny started a cult, I think I might have to take a spiritual time out and hear what the Gambler Man has to say about the Universe, afterlife, fried chicken, etc. I mean, LOOK at how white that dude is. He’s practically glowing.

    -If Kenny Rogers were my uncle, I’d consider myself the luckiest man alive. The excitement might cause some adverse effects – like, say constipation, or perhaps a return of that pesky nervous giggle I paid good money to Dr. Fleischl to get rid of – but it would be sooooo worth it. I mean, imagine the bragging rights: “Wow Bill, is that a new car? Did I ever tell you Kenny Rogers is my UNCLE?” or “That’s OK, Tara. I only like you as a friend too. And Kenny Rogers is my UNCLE.” or, how about “Actually, I DO know how fast I was going, officer. I was going Kenny-Rogers-Is-My-Uncle miles per hour, bitch.”

    Paul,
    Thanks for having the bravery to imagine, if for just a brief glimpse, what it could possibly be like to have the Kenmeister as an Uncle. It is exactly this kind of social activism that is sorely missing from a lot of the blogs out there today. It’s like they’re afraid of talking about REAL issues and REAL realities.

    You keep bringing me back Pauly, you keep bringing…

    …me …

    … back.

    -Faberhorn of Nalgania

  2. Enigma - April 13, 2004 at 10:02 pm -

    oddly enough i’m singing lady and not the gambler. go figure.

  3. Sharyn - April 14, 2004 at 6:16 am -

    Thank you for getting this song stuck on repeat in my poor, addled brain. It’s also bringing back strange memories…of my first live concert…at the Minnesota State Fair when I was five or six years old. I followed that one up with Cheap Trick at ValleyFair. Good times.

  4. Jeff B - April 14, 2004 at 3:17 pm -

    Just curious…isn’t (or wasn’t) KR’s chicken roasted?

  5. Pauly D - April 14, 2004 at 8:04 pm -

    Why you gotta rock the boat, JB?

  6. Sharyn - April 14, 2004 at 10:06 pm -

    > Just curious…isn’t (or wasn’t) KR’s
    > chicken roasted?

    Whoa, the first time I read that I thought it was a euphemism for Kenny Rogers having, you know, kicked the bucket. Of chicken. But he’s still alive (according to imdb). Phew.

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