Like clockwork, a group meets each weekday morning 7:30 for about an hour to talk about whatever happens to be on their mind – be it national news or personal matters.
They discuss politics, health care, plus lots of local news and happenings. They also laugh a lot.
Bob Merchant, a local artist who was once a designer of hotels and restaurants worldwide, recently invited me to join him and a group of “regulars” who meet informally for coffee every weekday in their own special corner at Corner Bakery.
According to Merchant, this coffee club tradition was founded about 10 years ago and has gradually grown.
I enjoyed being welcomed and greeted by a mix of cheerful architects, artists, a doctor, an actor-speaker, businessmen and an author, all of whom exuded fun-filled smiles and hospitality.
And while bursting with laughter and camaraderie — everyone was talking at once — members proudly boasted that their group represented a wide diversity of backgrounds, demographics and political viewpoints.
So I couldn’t resist inviting everyone at the table to very briefly share their individual views about the group’s value and what it has essentially meant to them.
Briefly, here’s how they answered: “You’ll find out what’s going on in Redlands right here at our own Redlands ‘Cheers’ bar each morning,” said Bill Stokes.
“We’re the island of misfit toys,” said Dr. Lori Uber-Zak. “It is great to engage people with different points of view. We aren’t always able to convince each other to change, but the value is trying to understand why they think differently than you.”
“Question authority, educate yourself to the truths of this world, think for yourself, love life, honor truth and embrace love,” said Keith Suchow, architect and natural fruit grower.
“No two people think alike, so listen and respect,” said Steven Matthys. “The conversations go in circles, but it wakes you up! It gets my blood moving so afterward I go to the gym and work out. This is also an opportunity to share ideas, plus to ask ‘Who are you using for a plumber or carpenter these days?” asked Bob Merchant.
“Like ‘Cheers,’ it’s great to meet friends in the morning where everyone knows your name. The conversation knows no bounds,” said Roger Burgraff.
“Sinatra said you gotta’ love living because dying is a pain in the —–. It’s easier to love living with these guys,” Eric D. Anderson.
“When you come here with a downer, you leave with a hug and a smile,” said Roger Schneider, who some regard as the group’s founding father.
According to Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor of social psychology, the desire for social contact is never-ending.
And to be sure, a coffee club is a wonderful outlet, something to look forward to, especially if it helps energize you for the day ahead.
Corner Bakery is one of many gathering places where parking is not a problem and where folks can meet informally and linger.
The group seems to provide a support network in which they are very accepting of one another’s viewpoints and needs while “resolving” the world’s many problems.
Having their own corner at Corner Bakery gets their day off to a great start.
Jan Fowler is an award-winning columnist and author. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org