During the COVID-19 pandemic, three Cairo men (near Coalgate, Southeast Oklahoma) have played a card game called “Oh Hell!” for over 100 nights in a row. Pake McEntire, Johnny D. Ward and Carl “Rupe” McEntire (turn 97 years old in September) have met each evening at Pake’s house playing cards at his grandfather’s John McEntire’s table that is over 100 years old. Guests have played Oh Hell with these guys includes Pake’s sister Country Music Singer, Reba McEntire. On occasion, we will have sit-inns such as Pake’s girlfriend Tommie, Johnny’s wife Debbie, friends, and family. An article was featured in the Coalgate newspaper on April 3rd.
“It is a game that is easy to learn but hard to conquer. Best thing about it, one does not have to win to have fun at it states”, Pake.
Pake states “I know families are handling the pandemic Coronavirus in different ways – some choosing not be near their friends or family members- but we are handling in our own way. Trying to be safe – but considering, like Gus McRae in Lonesome Dove said “It ain’t dyin’ we’re talkin about here, it’s livin!”
There are many humorous sayings said during an “Oh Hell” game card. Examples include:
“Slicker than a sow meek on a slick creek bank”
“Makes you want to pull covers.”
“That ain’t right”
A celebration party with cake, party favors and decorations was held for their 35th, 50th, 75th and 100th nights.
Recently, Carl became ill and was admitted in the hospital for five nights. This did not stop the guys from playing “Oh Hell”. Each day, Pake and Johnny D. visited Carl in the hospital and played “Oh Hell!”
The word has gotten out about these guys card games. Since State Governor has open up the state again for group gatherings people in the surrounding communities have begun hosting “OH Hell!” game nights and inviting these famous guys to their homes for dinner and to the play the card game. They were even invited to a Wine Tasting Party and later played cards with the guest. For their 100th celebration, the guys with family and friends met for dinner at the historical Pete’s Italian restaurant located in Krebs. While everyone held a cold glass of “Choc Beer” a toast was given to celebrate the rare occasion.
As these three guys friendship continues to grow they still plan to play “Oh Hell” each night as long as they can. Plans are to have another big bash on the 125th night.
Contributed by: Tommie M. James