A Pool Boy’s Pride

Like many a young  American boy, I learned how to play pool at an early age and by the time I entered the Army, I was fairly proficient at the game.

A few years later when I got married, almost every week I was invited to play with the ‘old’ guys, who included my father-in-law, and two of his brother-in-laws, one of which was Uncle Leonard, and it was his house where we played.

While the wives did what wives do, upstairs, the men played in the basement, hitting these colored balls all around this table in a room filled with smoke and wild stories of the ‘old’ days….that meaning the ’30s and ’40s.

The sharpshooter was Uncle Leonard, and with the stories, too.  All three were heavy smokers and I just breathed it in.  But they all three could talk and shoot and at a masterful level and I was….well…..proficient.  But they all, willingly, taught me the ‘finer’ points of the game for which I have forever been grateful.

Whenever we had three players, we played 15 ball rotation and played ‘pea pool’.  That’s a game where you draw two numbers from a flask of 15 and choose one to ‘break’ on and one to hold and try to sink that numbered ball before anyone else did.  Money was always involved.  Whenever we had four players, the game was 9-ball with money on the 5 and 9.

I paid for years but that was okay…..by the time I could beat them regularly, because they were getting feeble, it wasn’t any fun.  I never had any fun beating the masters unfairly.

I received a great education from my elders and they treated me with much respect.  God Bless them.

This poem honors….Uncle Leonard.

A Pool Boy’s Pride

Hello 4-ball, why don’t you drop down.
Hello 4-ball, you’ve been messin’ around with me.
I can’t shoot the ‘five’ if you’re still alive
but I can make the ‘one, two, three’  so come on
‘four’ ball, drop in a hole for me.

Did I ever tell you ’bout my Uncle Leonard?
He’s the best that you will probably ever see.
He can shoot the ‘five’ into the ‘nine’ and bank it off the side
but in the corner he’ll make the ‘three.’
He can shoot the ‘ten’ two times across and drop it in the side,
he can keep the ‘cue’  from going far or send it for a ride
Uncle Leonard…… he’s a Pool Boy’s Pride.

Did I ever tell you ’bout my Uncle Leonard?
He’s the best that’s why you’ll probably think he’s great.
He can shoot the ‘six’ into the ‘ten’ and bring it back across
but in the corner he’ll make the ‘eight.’
He can shoot the ‘two’ into the ‘three’ and billiard in the side,
he can blindly drop the ‘four’ and ‘six’ before you’ve even tried
Uncle Leonard….he’s a Pool Boy’s Pride.

Did I ever tell you ’bout my Uncle Leonard?
He’s the best you’ll probably ever see alive.
He can bank the ‘six’ across the way or run it rail to rail
but in the corner he’ll make the ‘five.’
He can shoot the ‘ten’ into the ‘twelve,’  ‘eleven’ in the side and
when he’s done he knows just how to make the ‘cue’ ball hide
Uncle Leonard…..he’s a Pool Boy’s Pride.

Hello 4-ball, why don’t you drop down.
Hello 4-ball, you’ve been messin’ around with me.
I can’t shoot the ‘five’ if you’re still alive
but I can make the ‘one, two, three’  so come on
‘four’ ball, drop in a hole for me.

copyright © 2012 T.J. Gargano

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