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Wrapping Taters and Doing Dishes. ~ Greg Hogue

It’s hard to forget the first time I tried to earn money so I could go gamble at pool…

I was right around 12 years of age. Frank Morton, my pops, had started taking me to the Q-Spot on 31st and Sheridan In Tulsa, OK, letting me learn the ins and outs of how pool worked. Just as I loved it as a five year old, I loved it even more at 12.

As with any newly found skill, learning new things about it comes with a price.

Mine was $5 nine ball and $1 and $2 ring games.

Pop would give me 40 bucks or so each night as he dropped me off at Q-Spot’s room with the owners, Dale and Wilma Howerton. He would then go and help Mr. Tyrone run his award winning Jamil’s Steak House.

This one particular week had been pretty tough at the Q-Spot: All the much older players had beaten me up pretty badly and got me broke.

So, I went to pop and asked, “How about I come to work with you tonight so I can make some money and play more pool?”

Pop looked at me like I was flat-out crazy, but he saw how much I enjoyed pool. He said okay, and the next night I went off to work with Pop to Jamil’s.

I thought this was a big deal, with my white button up shirt, black slacks and shiny shoes. Yep, a big deal, right up until I got there. It was hot, loud and super fast-paced. There were people flying in all different directions; I was overwhelmed, to say the least.

For just a brief second I thought it was all going to be okay. Pop had put me wrapping taters and doing dishes, and all would have been fine if pops had never told me to go to the walk-in and get this huge drum of hummus.

What could go wrong here?

As soon as I grabbed the drum, the lid flew off and skipped across the kitchen floor. Freshly made hummus covered the floor like a small tidal wave in the Bering Sea.

My face turned red. I didn’t know what to do.

Pop came around the corner, shouting all kinds of words I better not use in this story. Needless to say, that was my first and last time I went to work with my pops in the kitchen.

From that moment on, if I needed money to play pool, Pops just whipped it out. He was terrified I was going to volunteer to come back to work for him again.

Miss you, Pops. You were one of a kind.

Till next time, stay silky smooth and get out and play some pool.

Greg Hogue is a part-time traveling pro from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has been a student of the sport of pocket billiards for 33 years. Greg has several tourney wins and high finishes in events like the US Bar Table Championships and the International Pool Tour. Greg has a huge heart and passion for the sport. He wants to see it step out of the dark ages and get the respect it deserves. Editor: Marcee Murray King Photo: Provided by Greg Hogue

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