Euchre - the only team sport that uses playing cards.
He lived in the Carlton Hotel,
An old run-down place in a small Wisconsin town,
Built in the late 1800's,
With a bar in the lobby,
And two floors of drunks and lost souls above,
A God-send at $30.00 per week.
The crowd would gather on a Friday night at good ol' Steve Kessler's place,
Stick Man who looked like Festus only taller and way skinnier,
A decent soul maybe a little lost,
Russell and Mikki who were brother and sister,
One cool and one beautiful,
Egor of the silence with a vacuous but deceptive smile,
Rotundo the Young and Round,
And of course,
The beer was bought,
The kitchen table set,
The cards were readied,
The first two teams of partners chosen,
The contest began.
In Euchre the deal always passes to the left.
Steve's house and cards,
Steve's first deal,
Who's got the Jacks,
Who's got the Aces,
Who calls trump,
Who's laying in the weeds?
First points earned,
An all-nighter fore shore.
Deal passes to Dan,
That special deck of Steve's,
The slow methodical shuffle Dan uses,
Old-school let the cards fall over the cards,
Intent with focus he shuffles and shuffles...
"Will you quit shuffling and deal already?!"
...the final card fall he feels it,
One more time over and the cards are dealt.
The light over the table is burning bright,
The crowd around the table watches,
Sure enough someone calls Trump,
The inevitable words are spoken:
"I'm going alone."
It's a little bit heebie-jeebie,
But when Lone-Hand Dan deals off THAT deck of Steve's,
Somebody is getting dealt a loner,
Might be Dan's team,
Might be the other,
But SOMEONE is going it alone.
The deal passes to the left...
And THAT my friends,
Is why in Edgerton, Wisconsin,
Where they still have a Tobacco Days festival,
THIS poet will always be known to a certain crowd,
As "Lone-Hand Dan."
By: Daniel A. Stafford
Entirely true story, Any resemblance to persons living or dead is blatantly intentional, and in their memory. It was uncanny, even to me.
(In fond memory of Steve Kessler, who rode off into the Sunset some twenty-three years ago. I hope your butt is living it up Up There, ya ol' coot.)