I love when the weather begins to cool off. I can turn off the air conditioner and open my windows. As I sit at my desk writing this post, I can feel the breeze touch my arm. I can hear the crickets too. Their chirping is soothing coming in through my window and if I stop to listen long enough, the sound has a tendency to lull me into a sleepy trance.
I can also hear my neighbor who lives directly across the water canal behind my house. He is in his garage playing billiards. I can hear the balls make contact with one another.
We had a pool table when I was a kid. My dad was able to get a good deal on one when a pool hall in town decided to replace the ones they had with the coin operated tables. I was so excited when he brought it home. My grandfather had played pool semi-professionally before I was born and had a case full of trophies from tournaments he had played in. When he and my Grandma would come for a visit, I loved watching him run the table. It amazed me almost as much as his ability to slide his teeth out of his mouth and quickly slide them back in.
My brothers and I played pool everyday for months and months. Sometimes we would play by the various sets of rules and sometimes we would make up our own games. I remember one such game we called Mr. Magoo. We got the idea because of a television show we used to watch that had this character, Mr. Magoo, an elderly bald man who had terrible eyesight and seemed oblivious to the accidents he would narrowly avoid throughout the show. In our billiards version of Mr. Magoo, one of us would roll the cue ball (a.k.a. Mr. Magoo) across the table while someone else would stand at one end of the table and roll the balls (a.k.a. the cars) toward Mr. Magoo. Mr. Magoo had to make it across the table and back again without being hit. If he was successful, Mr Magoo lived to see another day.
The pool table took up the back half of our family room. The family room was a sunken room with high ceilings. Our furniture was at one end and the pool table was at the other. We had so much fun with that pool table but like with so many new things, the excitement wore off. We stopped playing pool and only seemed to play when friends came over. Eventually, even our friends got used to having it there and we stopped playing all together.
My mom took notice of our lack of desire to play billiards. It was the first week of December and the question that needed answering every year at this time was upon us.
Where should we put the Christmas tree this year?
Yep, that was the decision.
We covered the table with a king size white sheet and up went our 20 year old artificial tree. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Looking back on this decision, it now strikes me as a little unusual. It makes me curious too. I wonder if any other families ever set their Christmas tree up on a pool table or if we were the only ones?
I don’t know. But every time I visualize it up there, I smile. Perhaps, I should suggest this possibility to my billiard playing neighbor across the water canal?
Should the game of pool ever lose its excitement for him, I see an opportunity.