Nick Richardson has played more than a few rounds of poker since he and wife Sue built a new garage next to their historic home in Jefferson in 1991.
“We knew when we built the garage we wanted a game room in the upstairs,” Nick says.
A building contractor, he came up with his own plan, which included an upper floor strong enough to hold the old pool table his father bought from a bar in Bagley.
During the years, the Richardsons have used the game room for activities from regular poker games with Nick’s friends to birthday celebrations and holiday gatherings. Their three sons have spent many hours in the large room that includes a pool table, ping-pong table, poker table and foosball.
“With three boys, they just lived out here, and we knew where they were and who they were with,” Sue says.
One of the most interesting family reunions they had included a garbage can party. No, it didn’t have anything to do with garbage punch, but it had everything to do with interesting food.
The process begins with a 20-pound bag of charcoal, bricks and a metal garbage can. The bricks are stacked above the charcoal with a screen added at the top of the bricks. Sweet corn is placed in the husk standing up from the brick, and another screen is added. Potatoes, cabbage or anything else that will fit is then placed at that level. Sauerkraut makes another level, and the top layer is made up of brats or hot dogs — but brats are the best, Sue says.
“It is absolutely delicious, and it feeds about 40 people,” she says.
The game room also has a Hawkeye theme because Nick’s father was on the Hawkeye football team. A framed program from 1943 with his father pictured as part of the team hangs on the wall, along with other Hawkeye memorabilia. Another photo shows a longer-haired Nick popping a wheelie on his motorcycle.
“I think that was taken before we got married,” Sue says.
She and Nick were high school sweethearts.
The garage is much newer than the house at 506 S. Wilson, which has been in the Richardson family since 1924.
“We are fixing things up and getting ready to put the house on the market,” Sue says. “With all the boys out of the house, we feel it is time to downsize.”
They admit they will miss the roomy upstairs in their garage, but have decided a game room will be included their next home. The couple plans to stay in the Jefferson area.
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