Monday, February 7, 2011


Growing up on the bald prairie, the pool room was in Steve Kish's barber shop, and the swimming pool was a local slough. You could skate on the slough in the winter, swim in it in the summer and raft on it in the spring thaw. It was fun and all your naked friends were there to swim . In the pool room you could watch Cheekus Bellrose take quarters off all the visitors playing snooker or eight ball and drink a coke with your friends and play against Steve Kish for nickels if he didn't have a haircut to do. There was always something going on. When we built a house much later in Lotus City, despite the pianist's misgivings,I wanted to recapture the feeling with a pool table and a swimming pool. You can never go back! It had nothing to do with blue water and green felt! It had nothing to do with affluence or lack thereof. The children learned to play pool reasonably well but a parent is only so much fun! We eventually got rid of the pool table since it was attractive but bored! "Use me or lose me",I heard it say. The swimming pool was a somewhat different matter for about three years. It required a lot of work to keep it clean, with it under the trees, in migratory bird lanes, and enjoyed by all those water loving algae. When we first moved in, in November 1970, I kept the boiler on to heat the pool through the Christmas season. I must have been mad, mistook myself for King Farouk, and have caused all the fog on Ten Mile Point that winter! By 1974 I had heated the pool for the months of May through to July and observed that no one else had swum in it. I jumped in from time to time because I felt guilty that this pristine womb was so lacking in the pleasure of fecundity. "Use me or lose me ",I heard it say. I turned the boiler off. No one noticed it was cold for the rest of the summer because no one swam in it. At the end of September I announced that the pool heater had been off for three months. They were all mad at me. C'est la guerre! It was all my fault in the first place. You may try to go back but you can't take them with you.

1 comment:

  1. Actually the pool table was a rite of passage for us of the Boy's Home (Werdale House)in Montreal. A novel name for those of us who had been disowned, tossed aside, sentenced by a Judge. In fact we lived in lower Westmount thus allowing us to attend schools that those of entitlement felt were their right.
    When you reached the grand age of 15+ or were working then you crossed over to the other side of the games room where the seductive image and smell of the large green felted pool table resided. This is where we learned to play pool correctly and mastered the trick of a shot with your arms behind you and the cigarette dangling from your mouth with ash intact.
    This was maturity in its prime though we still could not drink in the bar, the next step.