The pool hall and a guy called Satch

Seaway News
The pool hall and a guy called Satch

To most us who camped out at Central Billiards after school and on Saturdays (and the odd time during school), he was Satch, the kind soul who worked the counter for a buck-an-hour and no benefits.

Years later I was surprised to find out his given name was Ronald, as in Ronald Herrington.

When he died in July 2020 at age 85, his brother Brian (aka Rookie) shared a snapshot of Satch’s life.

Brian recalled that times were tough, so to help support the family, Satch quit school halfway through Grade 9 to spot pins at Central Bowling Alley. He earned two cents a string. Later he worked at Canada Cottons and when it closed he got a job as a bell hop at the Cornwallis Hotel, and when it closed he was hired by Joe Miller and Doug Knight to work the counter at Central Billiards, the former bowling alley, on Pitt Street, next to the liquor outlet.

He spent 20 years at the pool hall, never missing a day and always on time. He was the consummate loyal, dedicated, under appreciated employee.

How did he acquire the handle Satch? You might recall Huntz Hall who played Satch in the slapstick Bowery Boys. Ron had the same prominent protruding nose as the movie character, thus Satch.

Ron was a big fan of the Bowery Boys character who once spent a night at the Cornwallis while doing a promo event at the Roxy Theatre. This was while Ron was bell hopping.

So what was it like to meet the real Satch?

He didn’t get to meet him that day. It was his day off and he didn’t know he (Hall) was booked into the Cornwallis, recalled Brian.

“I missed my big opportunity,” Satch (aka Ron) would say.

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Retired secondary school music director Brian McCartney was a gifted – make that extraordinary – musician who co-founded and directed the Cornwall Centennial Choir.

Legend is a pretty strong word but Brian was right up there on the local music landscape.

Along with being a high school music classmate of his and neighbourhood chum, I remember Brian as a great Sunday afternoon Monopoly player at the resplendent McCartney Manor on Second Street West.

Years ago it was torn down to build an apartment building.

This scribbler, Mark Timpany and Ray Barnes would truck over to the Manor for a spirited game of Monopoly in the huge parlour (I think it was bigger than the entire house I lived in) with his mother serving us freshly baked cookies and juice.

Fews years back bumped into Brian in the Ottawa Market area. He recalled the Monopoly games and suggested we get together for a re-union game for old-time sake.

Of course, we never did. Never will.

Brian passed away on Sept. 16.

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THIS AND THAT – Police across the province are reporting record car thefts, mostly of the high-end persuasion, and the thieves are so sophisticated it is almost impossible to stop them. Unless of course, you park your car on the roof of the carport. … Talk about a paradox: High unemployment and jobs that can’t be filled. … In a documentary on the 72 Summit Series, Bobby Clarke noted that the last team to win the Stanley Cup with a lineup made up entirely of Canadian-born players was the 1974-75 Flyers. … We know our values are out of whack when a baseball (Aaron Judge’s record-breaker) can fetch $2 million. … Talk about a useless organization, look no further than the United Nations. … Add this scribbler to this fall’s growing list of COVID sufferers. Day 9 and counting.

BACK IN 1970 – A group of St. Lawrence High School students studying the effects of pollution on the environment bicycled from the city to Martintown and back to promote pedal-power. The environmental science course was aimed at making students more sensitive to the problems confronting their environment. … One of Cornwall’s oldest businesses – Prince Clothing and Cornwall Plants Ltd. – was sold to a Montreal company headed by Syd Lovell. The company was established on Marlborough Street South by the Horovitz brothers in 1912. … Queen’s University alumni member Nick Battista (chemical engineering class of 1933) was appointed by the Kingston university as regional capital fund-raising campaign chair. An estimated 240 Queen’s grads were living in Cornwall and the United Counties. … Courtaulds held its annual long-service dinner with watches and certificates given to new members of the 30-year club. The new members included Lawrence Bergeron, Leland Arbuthnot, William Hood, Gerald Samson, John Linnett, Alison Prosser and Theodore Laperle. … Cornwall Chrysler Plymouth, 1523 Pitt St., unveiled the new line of 1971 vehicles.

SPORTS STUFF CIRCA 1970 – Sonny Herrington was named winner of the Ontario Lacrosse Association “Mr. Lacrosse Award” given to the person who does the most to promote the sport. … Cornwall Minor Lacrosse Association held its annual awards day at Nativity Hall with 700 parents and players attending. The association had 591 players registered with 30 teams in five divisions. Most valuable player award winners were Jeff Carter, mosquito; Rick Lalonde, novice; Jimmy Burns, peewee; Mike Lloyd, bantam; Gary Brisson, midget. … Bruce Lauzon scored a pair of touchdowns as St. Lawrence High School Saints downed North Dundas 34-7. Gerry Lemire, Wally Baker and Jacques Bertrand also scored touchdowns. …. Tim Bertrand had two touchdowns and Dave Denneny one as Cornwall Collegiate lost a 21-20 squeaker to South Grenville. … After starting the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season with 10 straight losses, Cornwall Royals got in the win column with a 7-6 victory over Verdun Maple Leafs. Tony McCarthy and Bob Murphy had two each with Mike Ruest, Barry Brooks and Pierre Duguay scoring one apiece. … Cornwall Collegiate won the EOSSA golf championship. Team members were Blake Bingley, Robbie Bingley, Richard Greer and Doug Patterson.

QUOTED “We have the best government money can buy.” – Mark Twain

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