Baby Boomer Memory Lane: The Small Town Pool Hall
There was a day, and it doesn't seem all that long ago (but hey, it probably is), when every small town had a pool hall. It was always on Main Street, probably somewhere between the bank and the grocery store.
If it was a Saturday night in the 1960's, we were going to Edgerton see the Grandma's ( the Grandpa's had already moved on up to their reward). We'd drop Mom off at Grandma's house and Dad and I would make our way to the Pool Hall.
An old, old building even back in those days, for a while it was run by 'Uncle Pool Hall Jake' and then by ol' John. 2 tables in the place, a regular table in the front and a snooker table in the back.
The old boys would always be back at the snooker table and that's where we made our way to as well. The bar was there, on the left, and Dad would order a tap beer (Grain Belt or Hamm's, that was it, what'll ya have?) and I'd have myself a Coke and make my way to the top of the bar stool.
I remember the ol boys (including my dad) would shake a little salt in their beer. I loved watching that salt slowly make it's way down that golden beer in the glass. There were "pull-tabs" on the bar and usually a jar of something pickled and sour!
The snooker table wasn't like that regular table, no, it was tougher! As I recall, the balls were pretty much all the same color, the pockets were smaller and there were wires above the table with washers on them. My dad or one of the other guys would sink a shot, lift the pool cue, move a washer from one side to the other and shoot again.
They were keeping score.
I'd sit there and stare at the Hamm's beer sign behind the bar, up there on the wall. It was a plastic sign with lights behind it that made it look like the "sky blue water" was running down the river. And the Hamm's Bear, he was smiling. I thought that had to be the coolest sign in the whole world!
Did my Dad win those snooker games? I don't know. Doesn't matter. He'd have one beer, maybe two at the most, then we'd be off to Grandma's house for coffee, cookies and conversation.
I didn't know then that we were making lifelong memories in that old wooden building on Main Street in that little town. Heck, i was just having a Coke and looking at a lit up plastic beer sign.
No big deal.
Who knew it would be such a big deal more than a half-century later.