The Family That Plays Together… Picks Up Strangers in Bars Together?

To say that I’ve neglected my pool game of late would be akin to saying that I think Beaujolais Nouveau is mediocre wine.  With some random free time on my hands, I decided to give my game a few hours of work.

The first hour of practice was painful for my ego.  By the second hour, my game began to resemble what it normally is, but only if you’re squinting and looking through gauze.  It was time for a break so I made my way to the bar to trade my coffee for a beer.

Around the time of my second sip, a very well appointed sixtyish lady ambles next to me and says “You’re pronating on your follow through.”  Her voice had the unmistakable lilt of southern gentility.

“Thank you, I’m trying to shake a few months of dust off my game and I appreciate any advice” I reply.

“It’s most pronounced when you’re trying to get some English on the ball” she continues in a very accurate assessment of my stroke.

“Atlanta?” I half ask half guess.

“Born and raised, but we live in Savannah now” my impromptu instructor says with the word Savannah seeming to take a half second longer to pronounce than a Yankee would say it.  As I’ve long had a fondness for southern women, I start to develop an affinity for this very married woman who could be my mother.

Just as I am about to introduce myself a booming baritone voice exclaims “Is my bride talking your ear off, sir?  If you let her, she’d talk a hole in a deaf man’s ear.”

He has the same lovely southern drawl.

“Actually she was telling me to keep my arm straight on my follow through; I’m Refugee, by the by,” I say while extending my hand.

“So nice to meet you, Refugee; I’m Sonia and that big fella there is my husband, Les.  Now how did you know Atlanta?”

“I went to university down south and got pretty good at recognizing the various accents.”

“I don’t know what you mean with that accent stuff; it’s you northerners who talk funny” Les says with a wink.

As we’re all laughing, a younger version of Sonia approaches us and says “Daddy it’s your shot and are you two ever coming back with drinks?  Oh, forgive me, I didn’t realize yall were talking with someone.”

“Refugee, this is our daughter, Alexandra” Les says by way of introduction.

She is as tall as her six-three father (with the aid of the four inch heels on her riding boots) and has his steel blue eyes, but the rest of her is all Sonia down to the dimples and freckles.

“My pleasure” I say as we shake hands.

“Refugee, would you care to join us?  We’re five now and could use a more even number” Sonia asks before changing the question to a declaration with “You know that we won’t take no for an answer.”

I grab my sticks and join them.  I am introduced to Alexandra’s older brother, Les III, and his wife, Christina, who just moved to DC a month ago for jobs.

Over several games of team eight ball, it becomes apparent – rather quickly too – that I am the worst player at the table.  Les paid his way through the University of Georgia by hustling pool and it seems that skill on the table is a familial requirement.

Hours seemed to vanish into a haze of laughter, empty pint glasses, and fascinating conversations that ranged from esoteric billiard games, the best way to make a roux, the golf courses Les won’t play because of their exclusivity, and too many other things to mention.  Afternoon stretched to evening and the whole affair seemed charmed.

Eventually Sonia asks “Refugee, this is your city, where should we go eat?” seemingly taking charge as is a matriarch’s want.

“Keep in mind that we need a table for six” the younger Les adds.

“Yes, it’s not even question, you will be joining us right” the older Les insists.

By the end of the night, too much wine had been consumed, friendships formed, and email addresses exchanged.

Before I even get home, Sonia has sent me a thank you email even though Les insisted on getting the tabs for everything – including the bottle of dessert wine I attempted to surreptitiously buy after dinner.  It was a stunningly gracious act; that she ended her message with “and keep that arm straight” was stunningly funny.


13 Responses to The Family That Plays Together… Picks Up Strangers in Bars Together?

  1. dan-E says:

    i must be hanging out at the wrong bars. stuff like this never happens to me. happy belated thanksgiving ref.

    Thank you for the holiday wishes, I hope yours was filled with joy and good bourbon.

  2. k8 says:

    How fun! I wish I wasn’t so afraid of strangers. I think I’d really like them.

    For every jackass stranger I meet, I am sure that I encounter at least five good ones… like the lovely people that night. Don’t be afraid.

  3. imgonnabreakyourheart says:

    Love this. Love. It.

    I loved it too.

  4. elle dubya says:

    my word, this sounds like my kind of night!

    It was certainly my kinda night… and Les the younger and I already have plans to get together again for some bourbon and cigar smoking.

  5. Jean says:

    Very cool. But, the part I most want to know is whether or not Alexandra is single 😉

    Alexandra is singe… and wickedly hot in ways both intellectual and physical, but lives in Atlanta.

  6. I love impromptu nights of fun and friendship. This sounds like such a night. A splendid one at that.

    It really was. In a way, it reminds me of one of those cheesy jewelry store commercials: if you’re heart is open, then good times will find a way in. Sure the commercial says love, but I think the principle is the same.

  7. brad says:

    I don’t even think it’s impromptu anymore. I’m thinking that you actually work at being accessible, which is stunning to read about, since I’m someone who almost always goes out in a state of passive withdrawal.

    I think it is something that I have passively acquired through the years, and it does make me happier to be this way.

  8. kitty says:

    how fun! i love creating stories like these.

    Found fun is twice as good as planned fun.

  9. Lisa says:

    That was sweet, very sweet.

    They really were the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. There is something to be said for southern manners and charms.

  10. Now that sounds like a fun night.

    Any day that stretches from afternoon until late in the evening almost has to be fun.

  11. Sean says:

    I love reading about all the fascinating things that happen in your life. I agree with dan-E in that nothing like this ever happens to me!

    I imagine that some of it has to do with the frequency with which I go out.

  12. Gofahne says:

    You life makes me smile. Keep it up.

    It makes me smile most days too, I try to use days like this as a shield against the doldrums of the days that don’t bring me smiles.

  13. […] mentioned my pool game before, and I’ve mentioned that I’m a pretty decent shot, but that doesn’t provide full […]

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