Throughout my life I’ve spent a LOT of time playing pool. To me, pool has always been a great male bonding activity. It all started at my Uncle Roy’s house (Roy Bafaro) in Lincoln, Rhode Island. He had a table in the basement and the men would always spend hours down there at get-togethers shootings stick and talking guy stuff.
I didn’t even have to be playing to enjoy time around the table with my uncles, grandfather, father, cousins and other family and friends that would visit “Unc’s” house. Just listening to them talk and joke gave me perspective of what it meant to be part of our family.
Later in life I spent many hours playing pool at my friend Don’s place on Burnside Ave in East Hartford. Tommy, Limbo, JT, Donnie, Noel, Tanya, Hank and many other friends would meet there as our under-21 hangout.
Don, who owned the place use to let some of us hang out there after closing and we’d set up every single table and go from table to table playing – mostly 9-ball. We even got busted by the cops one night, who didn’t believe that we had permission to be in there.
Besides my Uncle Roy, my Uncle Dennis also was a huge influence in my life. He gave me the boating bug and I always looked up to him as a business owner. In many ways that influence drives my life even to this day.
Den had a beautiful pool table at his home in Marlborough. A Madison, by Brunswick with leather pockets. Den remodeled his basement to be a billiard room and I always dreamed that some day I’d have a billiard room of my own.
My uncle Den passed away a couple years ago from cancer. It was a really tough time for our family, but especially for my Aunt Jackie. She just recently retired and bought a place in Delaware near the water. A place, I’m sure, my uncle Den would love.
In preparing for the move she offered me uncle Den’s pool table. I’m not sure she realized how much that gesture meant to me. Its much more than just a pool table. It represents many memories of many great men from our family and a vehicle for communicating what it means to be a man in our family.
I now see myself as a steward of this table, and will use it to create that connection between generations in our family going forward. I hope my Aunt Jackie knows that it will host many gatherings of men in our family for years to come and will be a place where lessons I learned from Den, Uncle Roy, grandpa Joe and others will be passed down through fun and laughter.
The table was moved here yesterday. I’ll post more on the remodel and how the table will fit in later. But here is a sneak peak of what the general layout will be.
We had the table re-felted in tan to match our color scheme.
Stay tuned for the full reveal after this remodel is done.