Stray dogs are like pool tables. Once you take in one, when the next one comes along you will get a call that goes like this ... "I have this really cute, well trained, older dog that needs a good home." Unless the mutt rips your hand off or humps your best pool cue case you are likely to respond that "I'll try to find him a home" thereby solidifying your position as the stray dog catch-all go-to guy. LOTS of strays will be coming your way.
Used pool tables, especially broken down antique tables, are sort of like stray dogs. People have empathy for them but don't want to shelter, feed and maintain them. We know dogs eventually die and go to doggie heaven. What happens with old pool tables? Do they die and go to the great billiard parlor in the sky? No such luck. It is a wonder we aren't overrun with pool table carcasses. Maybe they wind up as firewood and the slate becomes someone's gravel driveway or road bed?
Well I got such a "We found a stray' call and got an Anniversary that way. That would be my second Brunswick Anniversary model and I loved that table. I thought I was married for life to this wonderful oversized 8-foot antique.
Mom was advancing in age and could no longer handle matters; Dad was already gone; and so out goes the Anniversary and in comes Mom. Well, time marched on and Mom went to be with Dad. I miss both of them very much.
The next "Stray" call came in. Someone had a really messed up Brunswick Arcade that needed a loving home. I went to see it and was smitten. I was sure I'd never get to play on a fine Arcade, much less own one. A year later after pouring dollars on it's rehabilitation, this is what took up residence in my pool room.
I was in love. This delicious brunette had entered my life and she was mine to use ... but not abuse. I often touched her sides, top, bottom, legs, and explored her every nook and cranny. I was committed, heart and soul, to her. It would be incredibly easy to insert woody jokes here if I were an insensitive Cad. Then the next fateful "Stray" call came in.
The Fateful Call
A Kling carcass could be mine for mere thousands. I had to go look. I lied to the Arcade, telling her I had to go out on business. I slunk away to see if that tramp of an Kling could be had. I was as giddy as a teenager with his first Playboy hidden under his bed.
The Brunswick Kling table is named after Johnnie Kling, a Chicago Cubs catcher that won the World Championship of pool during a baseball strike. After his baseball career was over he opened a pool hall and had his design of pool tables built by Brunswick for his parlor. This is one of them.
I was shown a decrepit relic of a broken down harlot on her death bed but I could see in her continence a great possibility. I was smitten as hard as if I had been hit with a 50MPH 9-Ball break shot, right between the 1-ball and the 2-ball.
I, a pool-dog from the gutter, was about to abandon a classy polished got-her-total-act-together brunette to take up with a fallen-blond former-showgirl. It was as if I were sitting in the back row of a burlesque house and winking at an aging dancer on the stage. I was giddy with hopes of illicit immoral pleasures played out upon her various surfaces and niches.
The brunette quickly picked up on my indiscretion even as I began diverting critical funds from necessities to fund the rebirth of the blond. Over time I even slipped a time or two, calling the table by the wrong name. I was so embarrassed but I lied bold face lies to the brunette to save face and buy time. "Honestly, I am not playing on anyone else!" My nose grew and cold sweat gave away my deceit. The brunette was on to me but she was doomed nevertheless.
When I could no longer manage the deceit I sold the brunette to an oil man over in Fort Worth who had a vintage home worthy of a vintage Arcade table. She fought to the bitter end, she even pinched my fingers with her slate on her last day, but she accepted her fate and has taken up residence in a non-pool-playing family home with young children and has shown her true inner class and holds her rails up high.
Back to the hot blond. Yummy. The Kling was resisting efforts to revive her look and feel to a level of being presentable to my Mother's prior residence. It was if I were bringing home a street hooker and putting her in my Mother's room! Oh, the evilness of it all! Indecency reigned supreme.
But the blond has since risen from the ashes and now graces my arm, heart, and fields my caresses as if she were mine and only mine ... having left her sordid past on the floor of the refinishing booth. What had her former life entailed? I don't ask and she doesn't tell. The final touch was a pocket job to give her perky pockets and new top-of-the-line Simonis cloth to cover her aged torso.
I now present my new, and last, Lady Love, a 1910 Brunswick Kling 9-Foot, Simonis, newly revived keeper of my heart strings.
Ain't she a beaut?
I wonder if I'll ever get another call? Who knows!
But I'd still go take a look. Hey, so I'm a dog? Handle it.
Check here for photos of the rebuilding process and more of the final table.
Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it. Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.
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