JHole Chill…

that ringing in your ears…

These past few weeks have been like an enormous explosion and now, it feels like I am left with a constant ringing in my ears; a proverbial pain of lessons I should remember from making similar mistakes before. But, in retrospect, it would have sucked to miss all of the fun. Being an ‘in the moment’ person means over-imbibing, hangovers and black-eyes. The story isn’t very good when you are telling it with your view from the bleachers.

I learned Sunday evening that “Papou” Pete Bambalis, the man that started Recreation Billiards in Downtown Winston-Salem over fifty years ago, passed quietly with family earlier that afternoon.  I felt the initial rush of sadness for Pete and his family and was thrown immediately into nostalgia. Recreation Billiards has long been a fixture in the downtown area and was a home away from home for me when I lived on Fourth Street for a short time. I can equate all of my closest friends to a blurry memory of cigarette smoke, the crack of pool cues and the warm yellow walls around ‘Rec’.’ It was the last place I had a beer when I left Winston-Salem for Wyoming and it is the first place I have one whenever I go home. Walking into Rec’ and not seeing Pete seated at the first corner booth is going to be hard.

Pete always kept an unlit Camel cigarette in his mouth and would roll the tan filtered end from corner to corner across his thin lips as he watched the young and drunk patrons come and go from his pool hall. I asked him once on a quiet evening if he was ever going to smoke that cigarette and he replied, “not ’til the end of month. I smoke one cigarette ‘tween the last day and the first day of each month.”  I asked him if I could have one with him the next time the 1st rolled around and he smiled and of course, said, “sure,” but I never got around to joining him. I spent a lot of time in that bar, including nights between the last and first days of the month, and never once saw him put a flame to that cigarette. I did understand the lesson, though.

For Pete: Glenn Miller – Tuxedo Junction

Out here in the middle, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Our Friday Night Supper Club has grown a little and is manifesting itself into a regular event. Good company, an occasional costume and the same stories with different players being told to big ringing laughs around the room.

Thursday night was dancing at Koshu. Cut putting on one of his best performances. Hilz got man-sandwiched by the Jackson hipsters. Plenty of broken glass and a body slam. Fell off my bike on the way home. No major damage.

Friday was Sushi Potluck: bring your own protein. Sake and Sapporo. Everybody made a roll. This was STEFFEN!!!’s last Friday Night Dinner Club, so we played Bucket. We always play Bucket. Team Wood: Hilz, Kelly, STEFFEN!!! and moi. Didn’t have the best showing, but we did have team jerseys.

Bucket led to heading out: Mojo’s via Sportsmobile. Apple martinis with dry-ice. The only thing I could say was, “this is dangerous…” and I wasn’t referring to the dry ice. Left, went up the stairs to the tavern, then back out. bought a case of beer that got ninja-kicked directly out of my hand. the whole team hit the deck picking up shaken beers. back into the Sportsmobile. back to Mojo’s. more Apple martinis. mistakes, mistakes.

Ended up making it home. late.

STEFFEN!!! and I started wrestling which led to me giving him a cheap shot the face. down for the count for a little while. bounced back. caught me off guard with a right hook. i took the hit better, but ended up with a shiner. best one to date. planning on tracking the development here.

STEFFEN!!!’s Account: Holy Cannoli

Long few weeks ahead and fall is inching its way into an even long winter. Going to try to take it easy for a little while. Not so many antics. I’m looking forward to that cigarette at the end of the month; you are welcome to join me.

Bang, Bang:

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