It was too cold for our monthly poker game. Ramon officially called it off last week and passed the word around. I was sort of glad because it was my month to hold the game here at the cabin and I didn’t feel much like cleaning up and pulling the homemade poker table out of my shed and setting it up. Dooley the dog was a bit disappointed because ever since I showed him famous “Dogs Playing Poker” picture he has been fascinated by the game. He doesn’t play yet, but he likes to watch.
I guess Ramon forgot to tell Edgar the game was cancelled because he showed up on my porch about 7pm. I’m not surprised he wasn’t called because Edgar only shows up a few times a year. Naturally, I invited him in and explained the poker game had been cancelled. He took it in stride and seemed a bit relieved (he was not a great poker player….in fact, I don’t recall Edgar ever winning a hand in our monthly games). I offered him a Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum cigar and thought this might be a chance to get to know him better. Edgar is a true red faced, rough handed, opinionated West Virginia farmer. On the subject of farming I would believe anything he told me. He is a master. A couple of years ago, however, after his son introduced him to the internet, he seems to have fashioned himself an “expert” on non-farm related subjects he really knows very little about. At the poker games he has become something of an overall wearing “Cliff Clavin” (lovable know-it-all character from the Cheers TV show) and frequently steers conversations toward the most beloved of all internet topics, the conspiracy.
I am one of those guys that, if I feel the need to believe one way or another on a subject, then I will put in the time to investigate both sides thoroughly and draw my conclusions from the likeliest scenario. An example for me was the Kennedy assassination. I set out, initially, to try and decide what conspiracy theory seemed the likeliest. After fifteen years, over fifty books (including the entire twenty seven volumes of evidence presented at the Warren Commission investigation), hours of watching old interviews on tape, visiting the school book depository in Dallas and walking Oswald’s escape route I came to the same conclusion the Warren Commission did. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. After putting in the time and effort to study the event, I felt silly to have ever considered a single one of the conspiracy theories as valid. Edgar, on the other hand, seems easily convinced by the muddy waters stirred up by internet conspiracy “authorities”. I don’t blame Edgar, his time and thinking is spent on farming. Growing up in the county instills a sense that people are basically good and honest. He has no reason to disbelieve what he reads on the internet. I think he, and many Americans also find it fun, in a way, to take an opposing view on historical events. He certainly got a great deal of attention during poker games when he maneuvered the conversation to his belief in several well- known conspiracies. Or, maybe he was just “funning” us. Straight faced teasing isn’t unknown to country folk. My mother was brilliant at it.
So this unexpected opportunity was, I thought, a great chance to get to know the real Edgar. (To be continued tomorrow)