Hello to all....
I just got off the phone with Bert and decided to write this little story. I hope all of you enjoy it.
As many of you know we relocated. My wife had never been to California and she wanted to "see California". So, one day we made the decision to take a trip and see some friends in LA and San Diego as well as making a slight detour to Lake Isabella - home to Bert and Pat Schrager. This was August, 2005. The ride was absolutely beautiful as I believe it took us around 5 or 6 hours. They live up in the mountains and the drive up is all along a winding cliff. In fact, if you sneezed you would be off the road into on-coming traffic or into the mountain itself. The road leading up to Lake Isabella is a very narrow two lane road; very narrow. As we were driving up, I said to my wife Joanne, gee I wonder how people move up here as this road is far too narrow for a 'semi'. Well, wouldn't you know it just as I opened my mouth, there came a huge semi and the road seemed narrower! My wife was scared to drive and I asked her to pull over to which she replied, "what do you think I'm crazy; no way am I letting you drive". She knew I'd treat the road like the Daytona 500. She says I'm the only person she knows who 'steps on it' coming into curves. I had to ride shot-gun driving back down as well.
As I said, the drive up was magnificent. I printed out MapQuest directions but my wife left them on the computer table (a better way of saying I screwed up). As such we were winging it. We pulled into Lake Isabella after getting wrong directions from Bert to which Pat finally straightened them out for us. We were sitting on their corner, yes right on the corner and Bert sent us about 10 miles up the road! Thank God he builds cues better than he gives directions. We all had a good laugh over that one. We finally arrived around noon and pulled up to their home in a small village. We walked up to the side door and there was Pat and Bert sitting at the kitchen table. They invited us in and we immediately felt at home. Although Bert and I have never met, we've had numerous phone conversations over the years. After meeting with them, my wife and I felt as if we've known them for 30 years. We all talked for a couple hours and then left for lunch. Berts appetite is still pretty good. We then drove to his shop. Joanne and Pat got lost while Bert and I traded war stories as we had a few laughs. And of course out came the cues, many of which were in early stages and some nearing completion. These days, Bert has a helper named Doug Ketchum who is assisting him with finishing cues. We then drove back to their home and sat around over coffee for about an hour or two.
As an aside, Lake Isabella is truly a real nice little town that's hidden away up in the mountains. Beautiful get-a-way spot with nothing to do. It looks like a one horse town where the horse had died. Now don't get me wrong as we love sleepy little towns and this one was truly beautiful with wonderful scenic views. Oh, and yes there is a beautiful lake as well. :-)
All in all we had a great day with two very nice people. While many of you know that Bert had been ill, he is recovering nicely and doing quite well although moving a little slower. He's sharp as a tack, still quite witty and feeling better as each day passes. As I previously mentioned, I just got off the phone with Bert and he said it would be wonderful if I would post the picture I had of him and Pat taken during our visit this past August. I've attached a photo of Bert and Pat to share with all of you of one wonderful day spent with two lovely people.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed the trip and visit. Happy Holidays to all.
P.S. My wife was not impressed with California. :-)
Updated 2022: For those of you who don't know Joe, this was written around 2005 when Joe was married and living in Las Vegas. Bert is long gone but his cues live on.
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