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  • Paul Davidson

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.

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