Social groups meet weekly for coffee, conversation
The men and women meet at different times in different places, but the concept behind their gatherings is the same -- coffee and conversation.
On Wednesday mornings, a men's group converges on The Lodge for about an hour or so to drink coffee and talk.
The following day it's the women's turn to do the coffee drinking and talking.
On Thursday mornings, a collection of women, most of them the wives of the men that meet on Wednesday, gather downtown at Espress Yourself for the weekly hour-long coffee discussions.
The ritual of meeting weekly began with the two groups a few years ago.
"We're a bunch of golfers," Kirby Hayes said of the men's group, "and our wives would go for coffee when we golfed."
"We started out as a golf widow's club," Pinky Hayes, Kirby's wife, said. "We started because the men went to coffee on Wednesday and went golfing on Thursday."
But the groups aren't exclusive and there are others that join in that don't golf or have husbands who golf. The women's group usually has at least six or seven who show up each week for coffee while the men's group can have upwards of 11 or 12 coffee drinkers.
Mike Gammage said he thought the coffee group resembles a weekly meeting.
"But we're not trying to accomplish anything and we don't have a budget either," he said laughing.
Conversation topics in the two groups range depending on who's there, but often include local and national news, family and friends, religion, philosophy, sports and health.
"The conversation just goes from one thing to the other," Georgiana Monninger said. "We go from the ridiculous to the serious."
Reminiscing also plays a big part in their conversations.
"We try to reminisce a lot," Marlene Courtney said, "but we usually can't remember everything."
"That's why it takes us so long to meet," Bootsie Lauridsen said.
Politics is also sure to make its way into the conversation.
"When Ralph Tanner's here, us Democrats get on him," Kirby Hayes said.
"And some of us Republicans, too," Bert Hitchcock added.
Sometimes there's so much to discuss, more than one conversation gets going.
"Sometimes we have three conversations going on at the same time and we want to be in on all of them," Courtney said.
But there is one thing that usually doesn't play into the conversation with either group.
"Silence," Monninger said. "We don't have that very often."
Both groups said they like the chance to visit with one another and catch up on what's going on.
"It gets pretty interesting sometimes," Don Nutt said. "But we just have a lot of fun."