Monthly Essays

The Paints on That Wall

It’s been over a year since our son took Jim’s pool table, as I wanted it moved out of the family room. I wrote an essay (April 2019) about putting my jigsaw puzzle table in its place.

What also went to Morgan’s house were the chalkboard and the pool cue holder, which Jim made out of crown-molding-style wood from the headboard of his grandparents’ bed that we’d been sleeping in for years. Once during a horrifying two a.m. thunderstorm, all three little boys scurried to our room and jumped in bed with us. Of course, there was no sleeping, so we turned on TV and watched reruns of that ancient show, Ozzie and Harriet.

The thunder got louder, and the boys kept getting spooked, for they were not spellbound and transported in time by Ricky Nelson’s crooning like I was. With one horrendous crash of simultaneous lightning and thunder, the startled boys (and their scared mom) made sudden bold movements, and the bed fell apart, leaving us sitting and lying on a slant. Our shrieks turned to laughter, and we forgot about the storm as we five manhandled that bed so it was flat.

Jim wired the bed together the next day, and it held for a while, but then the wood was salvaged and repurposed into the pool cue holder. Jim’s design was in two parts. The bottom part was a piece that served as a shelf to hold the upright cues, the table brush, and chalk. For the upper section, he drilled good-sized holes in the wood for those cue sticks to poke through.

The clever pool cue holder was screwed to the narrow (about 4-foot) wall between a floor to ceiling window and a corner of the room. The holder framed the score-keeping chalkboard (which had earlier been necessary because boys are nothing if not competitive, and they were too young and too poor for a quarter to change hands), so cues stood tall on each side of the green chalkboard.

Sometime in there when the cue holder was still a bed, I’d painted that stark white wall around the chalkboard a cream color.

Later, after the cue holder installation, I painted that wall again, this time a different shade of eggshell.

When my crew (all three sons) took it apart to go to Morgan’s house, left on the wall were the outline of the chalkboard and the outlines of the two-part holder. There are three colors of paint on that wall, all various hues of white. I filled the gaping screw holes with pink Spackle that dried yet a different shade of vanilla, but I had no green paint to match the adjoining wall in the family room. (June 2017)

Not wanting to dash to the paint store, I merely hung three of Jim’s acrylic paintings on that wall. The canvases were all different sizes, and I didn’t measure or anything crazy like that before I hammered some nails into the wall. The result pleased me. It was a cryptic wall of pool playing history coupled with Jim’s artistic bent.

I suspect the next owner of this house (years down the road) will wonder what items left their odd shadows before she slaps some color on that wall.

I’m not one to criticize, but really, we don’t all have good taste.

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