"Trouble, that starts with "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for Pool! We've got trouble my friends, right here in River City!" I'm sure you'll recognize those words of Prof. Harold Hill in "The Music Man!" Heard the lyrics the other day and I started thinking about the pool hall in Cedar Vale! I'm sure many of you remember the pool hall as an integral part of your education! So, here goes with a few memories of our pool hall!
Art Radcliff was the owner and Sonny Duensing was one of the faithful employees. Remember Sonny's great smile? He even showed us how to "rack" the pool balls! Well, you walked in and to your left was the "buy-things-off-the-shelves" merchandise, like candy, gum, cigarettes and chewing tobacco, among other things! Then came the "snooker" table. I held it in awe! A bunch of us young sprouts practiced "pool" on the tables in the back of the room. Never made it to the "snooker" table! Once, I worked up enough courage to ask ("Nick Adams?"), a famous C.V. snooker player, if I could play a game with him. He said, "Don, just keep practicing on those back tables!" He wore a beautiful ivory-colored Stetson hat, shirt pressed just so, and a crease in trousers that cut butter! He had a fancy belt with an elegant buckle, but not the kind that blinds you when the sun hits it. He was a kind of hero to me! Well, I've been "snookered" many times, and when that happens, I just go back to the "back tables!"
In the left corner of the large room, was the poker table! I can remember the chips. They were made of thin metal with scalloped edges. I can hear their metallic sounds as the players exchanged this strange sort of money! We" youngin's" kept our distance as we watched the "men" wheel and deal! Once in a while a lively game of pinochle was played. It was o.k., but it was those poker games that fascinated us!
On the south side of the room was a bowling alley! On occasion, a few of us got to be "pin-setters!" We sat up on a ledge at the end of the alley, watching those balls spinning their way toward the pins! Then came the explosion! Pins went everywhere, denting the wooden/hard plastic pit where they landed and once in a while, some flew up to where we were sitting! Sometimes a "7-10 split" would occur, when only the two pins on the outside of the back row were standing! One could almost hear one pin say to the other, "For sure, one of us is going a'skiddle, unless his beer makes him roll it right down the middle!"
I've probably gone on too long. Got started and couldn't stop! I'm anxious to hear your "pool hall" experiences right here in Cedar Vale City, and that starts with "C," which rhymes with "P," and that stands for POOL!!!!