Let it be known: The Pelican Rapids “adult day care center” is again open for business. 

After a long shutdown during the pandemic, the Pelican Rapids Pool Hall reopened April 1—and this was no April Fool’s Joke. The coffee was on by about 7 a.m., and many of the regular gang began shuffling in within the first half hour. 

The pool hall, operated as a non-profit in conjunction with the Pelican Rapids Masonic Lodge, has been variously described as a “micro-community center,” adult foster care center, or “day care” for local, mostly aging, pool sharks and wannabe pool hustlers. 

Mainly, it’s a place for coffee and fellowship—with occasional birthday parties, gatherings and roundtable discussions. Topics such as religion and politics are not totally off limits, but officiated as necessary. 

Profanity is discouraged, though not strictly enforced. The Army veterans, by and large, get along with the Navy guys. 

Tolerance is a guiding principle, for the most part. 

The first morning open, outspoken Pool Hall Gang kingpin, Chet Nettestad—himself an endangered species, as a Democrat on the Western Minnesota frontier–hardly blinked when one of the guys sauntered in with a Trump “Make America Great Again” red cap.

Full-blown arguments are infrequent–except for disputes over whose turn it is to clean the rest rooms. 

The coffee is…coffee. 

Not caramel almond parfait latte. 

Cookies and goodies are, on occasion, homemade. 

The public is invited—women too. 

The room, which is essentially one of the last remaining, traditional pool halls in the region, is next door to the Pelican Public Library. Open from approximately 7 a.m. to about 1 p.m.–Monday through Saturday. 

 By the end of the first couple mornings, the pool hall was already up to nearly 100 memberships—at $20 bucks a year. 

Memberships aren’t required, but the dues help pay the bills and keep the joint operational.

—Louis Hoglund, managing editor