Virgil speaks like a preacher imitating God teaching Sunday School. His voice is deep and resonant, his tones round, his words ar-TIC-ulated in-di-VID-ually, his meaning plain, shaded toward the platitudinous. But then Bible verses haven't changed much in the last few thousand years.
He also sings. Croons. Tony Bennett. Vic Damone. Sinatra. Not the entire tunes, just lines from their greater hits. He's always upbeat. It's hard not to be, quoting the Lord and Sinatra.
Curtis, on the other hand, conducts long and detailed disquisitions on a variety of topics. Last week, his main topic was drones and the technical specs of various model turbine engines, but we also dipped into more personal territory, as well as revisiting his disdain for people who drink vodka.
He sneers at Schmeernoff's as if it were a curse word.
Ellie expresses her concerns about the Dakota Pipeline protests, a past protest against the beer sellers in Whiteclay, Nebraska, and a renewed move to legalize alcohol sales on Pine Ridge Reservation. Proponents say that instead of enriching white trades, the tribe could better police the alcohol trade, keep its money within the reservation and direct the proceeds to treatment facilities. But Ellie fears bringing alcohol on the rez would mean the end of the Native people.
Conversations with "Bob" tend to be more two-way and he tends not to talk about himself. When a topic is controversial, he doesn't just argue his point of view. We dig into the Federal Reserve, the national debt, corporate cronyism and how infrastructure and assistance for people on the edge is so much better in Minnesota than in other states.
People don't realize how good they have it here, he says, and he's worried that under Trump America may be headed toward all-out war.