Sunday 28 December 2014

Old friend I sure have missed you (but you ain't missed a thing)

A friend of mine let me know he was coming to Calgary for a few days. We had kind of lost track a bit through the years. I was recently trying to reconnect by email. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email saying he was going to be in town for a few days.

We had spent high school in a small town in British Columbia together and we both ended up in Calgary at different times. He graduated from university and moved to Brunei. He was originally from there and on his return ended up taking over a family business. Over time he opened up Pizza Hut franchises in Brunei. He would drop back into Canada intermittently through the years but the gap was longer this last time. Stories for another time.

When he and I lived in Calgary we spent too much time playing pool at a place called Sunset Billiards. The place was open from nine to five, being nine in the morning to five in the morning. The hours did not make any sense and neither did playing until we shut the place down on a frequent basis. For some reason the guy running it liked us and let us play for hours on end and never charged us. More than a few times we played for eight hours at a time for nothing. The money we saved playing eight ball and snooker got eaten by a coin operated tabletop hockey game. One time when we were playing the hockey game a guy came in and declared he was the Canadian champion, we laughed at this, and he pestered us until we played him. I played him first and shut him out. My good friend played him next and shut him out by a larger margin. He then left us alone. I still don't believe there is a Canadian tabletop hockey champion but there seems to be a champion for everything these days. When Sunset Billiards closed at five in the morning we would go over to Chinatown and finish the day with beer, special fried rice, and salt and pepper squid. Why? Chinatown was close and places were open for some reason. For the record, he is Chinese and I am not.

Sunset Billiards and our Chinese restaurant disappeared years ago. You are hard pressed to find a pool hall anymore that is just for pool. Regardless, I met my friend at his downtown hotel and we found a pub and downed a few beers and caught up. As luck would have it, across the street was a bar with pool tables that were in great shape. Even though the place was booked with two Christmas parties they let us play on a table that wasn’t in use. For a guy that hadn't played in years he was suspiciously good. I managed to hold my own. The visit was close enough to old times that the intervening years didn’t seem to matter. We left, sobered up in the night air, and parted company. He flew out to visit family for Christmas. I truly hope he had a wonderful Christmas visiting family in Vernon, British Columbia and I wish him all the best in the New Year. My plan is to save my nickels and visit him overseas sometime in 2015.

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