I remember the picture of the little boy being carried by the bigger boy, and the caption underneath stating, "He’s not heavy, father, he’s my brother."
That was the signature poster of Father Flanaghan’s Boy’s Town.
You know I’ve always told you that I’m the luckiest person you’ll ever want to meet, and that I try to stay lucky.
One of the reasons that I think I am lucky is that I picked my parents well. Another is that my parents had a plan to have enough sons to field a basketball team, then their dream expanded to a baseball team.
Well, they never quite got the full nine for the baseball team, but they did have seven of us boys and I was their youngest.
So, I never had to worry or fear anything or anybody; no bully on the block would ever dare to mistreat me or take my candy from me because I had all those older brothers who would guard and protect me from harm’s way.
And my oldest brother, W.N., would carry me around on his shoulders and I was just like the little boy in the Boy’s Town poster. He would say he’s not heavy, he’s my brother. And W.N. would ride me on his pony all around the ranch.
But one day, when we were out riding, we went under some low hanging limbs and he ducked but I didn’t duck. Well, the limb hit me, and I hit the ground.
My brother carried me in his arms to mother and asked her, "Do you think he will be silly?"
That is the only time I think that mother was ever wrong when she told him no, that I would be all right.
But I am sure sometime when I’m playing a hand of poker and I make a bad call and lose a nice pot, that fall may have made me a little foolish sometimes and maybe even a little silly. But I just look up and say, Brother (he is playing in the big game up there), you should not have let me fall on that rock, but then of course I say thanks for all the other things that he did for me.
You know that I come from Oklahoma, and we have a saying for a lot of things that happen in life.
Yes, there was another fellow named Will Rogers, who was another one of us Oklahoma Boys, who added to the folklore and sayings, making Oklahoma proud of him in the process. Two of the sayings that come to mind today are "All I know is what I read in the papers" and "I never met a man I didn’t like."
It just so happens that the "W" in my oldest brother’s name (W.N.) stands for Will. And I’m happy to tell you that I said of my big brother, W.N. Hale, when he went to play in the big game upstairs, "He never met a man who did not like him."
Yes, those were the happy days of my youth. You can read more in my newest book, "Sixty-five Ways to Improve Your Life and Your Poker Game." The book is almost complete; if you want a copy let me know.
Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week
I was talking to a great poker player, "Miami" John Cernuto, a member of "The Seniors" WCOP Poker Players Hall of Fame. And he told me, "Don’t ever give up! Instead, get back to the basics, hang in and keep swinging. I’m not a math whiz or a poker genius, so if I can do it, anyone with poker knowledge, dedication and discipline can achieve his monetary goals at poker."
Thanks, John, may I add what I say at times: "Keep swinging, you may hit the long ball."
Until next time, remember to stay lucky.