The annual Nashville congregation bingo night has always stood out from all the enjoyable social events held here. And that’s in no small part because of Arvid Simmons, beloved local member, who made it a tradition to tell (bad, silly, pedestrian, and did I mention bad?) jokes while he called out the numbers. At least once each year he’d start telling a joke but tell the punchline too soon, then laugh at his mistake as he realized what he had done, but finish the joke anyway (which was often funnier than if he had nailed the joke). It was all part of his charming and enjoyable schtick.
This year, his recent and unexpected death hung over the lead-up to the bingo evening—“who can fill the shoes of this gentle, humble, self-deprecating, hilarious man?” But all apprehension melted away as callers took turns carrying the torch. One used the same joke book Arvid used, others used their own brand of humor, but all of them engendered a positive spirit of joy.
The local members donated prizes to be won, and as the evening went on (and it seemed the same small group of people kept winning over and over—seriously, those cards are rigged), the number of winners allowed in between each card-clearing was increased until the tables lay bare of most of the choice prizes.
We all take heart in knowing that we’ll see Arvid’s smiling, laughing, joyous face again. But until then, we carry on in his affable tradition of telling bad knock-knock jokes at bingo night each year in Nashville.