Meanies Playing Pool
The other day I had a picture from the book MARIETTA – THEN AND NOW of the Root House on Lemon Street.
The picture was looking west towards Cherokee Street. It reminded me of a building just outside the picture. It was a gray or white building, it might have been stucco. It was shaped almost like a block. It had a huge pipe coming out of it, as if to route steam or something. It was Red’s Pool Room.
As far as I know there were three pool halls in Marietta. One was Past Time Grill and Billiards own by Neal and later owned by my cousin Dalton Tyson; one was on Lawrence Street near the corner of the East Park Square which was where the blacks played pool; and the other one was Red’s Pool Room.
Red was a mean looking guy with red hair. Not only was he mean looking, his clientele’ were also mean looking. All of them looked like they had soon as stab you as look at you. But, first beat you in a game of pool You gotta have sport!
Neal's Past Time was very well lit, Red's place was very dark, except what was illuminated under the lights just above the pool table.
They looked like the kind of characters somebody that Dirty Harry, would walk in to ask questions and end of having to beat everybody up.
Of course doubt if we could beat anybody up, but we were pretty sure we could outrun them, if it came to that. We preferred to kid around than be serious enough to fight. The people in that pool hall played pool in too serious of a serious way.
They were a little bit too serious and mean for us. We played there a few times, but preferred Past Time Grill with Neal and his wife. They were a Mom and Pop kind of business, with their helper Howard who had a patch on one eye and had a serious limp. He reminded me of Chester on “Gun Smoke”.
After you finish your pool game and ready for another one you hollow “Rack!” and Howard would rush over limping lopsided. You flip the dime on the table, or a quarter if you felt generous.
We said we bet Howard woke up at night hearing the somebody hollowing “Rack!” – just another bad dream, and he would go back to sleep.
One night we were at somebody’s house and one of us were visiting their uncle in a boarding house and saw Howard there. So, a bunch of us called the boarding house and asked to speak to Howard saying it was an emergency. When he got to the phone he heard to the word “RACK!!!” and a hang-up.
That is about as mean as we got.