This section of the website is more for family memories that for the person looking to learn more about billiard collecting or selling me their billiard cues. However, read on if you have great memories of playing pool in your younger days with your family.
A renowned Iowa artist Donna Guy (1933-2019) known for her porcelain painting and water colors did the water colors of my parents for me as seen in the picture below.
While my parents have passed, Donna’s depiction of my parents is how I will always remember both parents as they were always hardworking and always making something.
We grew up on a small farm in Brighton, Iowa with not a lot of money to spare however we always made do and enjoyed what we had. Did you ever play Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and have gun fights and run around the house chasing each other? Well we did and it was great sport. The younger generation today are missing out on the simpler things of life that we enjoyed decades ago. I remember my father always saying “why buy something new when you can buy something old and restore it making it your creation”. It is from this humble background that I still look for things that I can buy, like billiard cues and other antiques and make them look like new and admire them as my creation. Making something or creating something new from something old is such a great feeling of satisfaction when it is done.
I have been fortunate to have had a successful corporate career, and I was able to retire early at the young age of 56. In the spirit of making something new, my wife and I that same year started a company, “Water Tight Technologies”, which after 20 years continues to grow and prosper to this day. Nevertheless, now at the young age of 76, I am mostly at home in the shop working at restoring billiard cues, billiard tables for my sons and creating stained-glass pieces some of which you will see if you tour my billiard room or find in the homes of my children.
In retrospect “Like Father Like Son” as it relates to billiards goes back to when I was quite young. Not a prosperous family, my father always cut us three boys’ hair on a stool in the kitchen. Actually, my dad did a good job since giving a flat top cut, the going style at the time, was relatively easy to do, so I should think. You think I am kidding about the flat top don’t you, see the picture below. I wonder how I would look with a flat top today? The look below is shocking isn’t it as compared to me at 76 in the picture at the top of this page??
There is a reason I bring up hair cuts as it relates to my lifelong interest in billiards. We lived in the small town of Brighton, Iowa. I say small meaning there were more tavern than churches in a town of 700 folks. Actually, the town was just right for a shy person like myself in my early years. While we boys got our hair cut at home, my father went into town to Kenny’s Barber Shop to get his hair cut. A picture of Kenny Farrier (seen below), a good-looking guy, as he sits in front of Kenny’s Barber Shop at the time of his retirement and closing of the barber shop and billiard room in, we think 1982.
Kenny purchased the building and barber shop in 1950 for $5000. In the back of Kenny’s Barber Shop was the pool hall where the local men gathered. The pool hall consisted of 3 pool tables. The manufacturer of the tables in the back room is uncertain. If anyone has a picture of the billiard room, please send it to me. Kenny closed the pool hall in 1960 but the barber shop remained.
Often on a Saturday afternoon when dad got his hair cut, he would hang around and play pool with his brothers and other locals. I was excited whenever I got a chance to set in a spectator chair along the wall and watch my dad and his brothers play pool and interact. Setting in a spectator chair, to me, looked like my feet were always so far off of the ground and I needed help getting down. I talked to Kenny Farrier a few years back before he passed. He said he charged by the rack which was ten cents rather than using a Time and Price Register. The usual game was pea pool which often meant the game got over quite quickly thus meaning more revenue for Kenny. Google “pea pool” to learn about the game. I remember it was not unusual for someone to go a few doors down to one of the local taverns and bring back beer while the games when on. In retrospect, it was one of the few times I remember my father having a drink when we were young. I wonder if my mother knew. Certainly, we did not tell.
Like most things in the small rural town of Brighton, Kenny’s Barber Shop closed although I am not sure of the date. My dad’s interest in the game of pool became even more evident when he added a two-car garage and game room attached to our two-story farm house in part, so he could have a pool table. The table was an 8-foot Frederick-Willys. It did not even have a slate bed and the cushions were not so good. Nevertheless, whenever family gathered for holidays, we all congregated with Dad around the pool table. The best part of the pool table was it had a ball return which fascinated the younger children as the balls clamored into the tray. You will see quite a few pictures of the Mineart family playing pool on Dad’s table in the picture collection below.
My first pool table was a Brunswick that I purchased at a local auction in Indiana for not much money, I think $150. I restored it and put in our basement in Noblesville Indiana when my boys were growing up. I knew nothing about restoring a pool table or setting it up but it turned out well enough even without the internet to search for advice. That pool room in the basement was a great place for my 6 children to play both pool and use the space under the table as a play house.
The pictures that follow below are four generations of Minearts gathered around a pool table playing pool. This is a tradition that continues to this day for my four sons now have a billiard table of their own that I have restored. I apologize for the quality of early picture. Aren’t we lucky to now have digital cameras for technically incompetent persons like myself?
Mouse over the picture below and click to see all pictures: