Local Shops Offer a Place for Conversation & Coffee
By Judie Holcomb-Pack
“When the coffee is hot and the talk is good, the feeling is easy and the laughter is light, the memories are many, but the time is too short, you know you’re with a friend.” – Anonymous.
Back in the 50s and early 60s, the “coffee klatch” was a popular way for people to catch up on what was happening in their neighborhood. After the kids were off to school, neighbors gathered to share news and advice around the kitchen table. Today, seniors are reviving this tradition, but moving out of the kitchen and into their local coffee shop.
Many coffee shops are like the bar in the TV show Cheers, “Where everyone knows your name.” They offer a comfortable and inexpensive place to relax and mingle with friends. Shop owners welcome regular customers who often bring the daily newspaper, laptop or book to enjoy while they drink they favorite cup of java.
Local coffee shops such as Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge, Krankie’s, Camino and the new Aromaz, are among the places where folks in Winston-Salem gather. Franchises like Panera and Starbucks also have their loyal following, as well as fast food places such as McDonald’s and Bojangles. One group in Kernersville humorously refers to themselves as the “ROMEO” club – Real Old Men Eating Out.
Another group, appropriately named “The Saturday Morning Coffee Group,” meets every Saturday morning at Washington Perk and Provision, a coffee shop/deli/grocery in Winston-Salem’s historic Washington Park neighborhood. Started over six years ago when two friends decided to meet for a quick cup of coffee, the group now has over ten regulars who seem to have little in common beyond their love of good coffee and stimulating conversation. The group includes people of different religions, ethnicities and political parties, single, married and partnered men and women from their mid-40s to late 70s. Such a diverse group certainly makes for lively conversation on a variety of topics and they consider few subjects
As one member quipped, “What we have in common is we love to eat, drink, and talk.” They have gone through good times and bad, grieved losses, survived illnesses, and celebrated special occasions. They share books and recipes, shopping and gardening tips, sports updates about their favorite teams, and occasionally collect dollars to purchase group lottery tickets. During the course of the morning, they offer their strategies to solve the world’s problems, only to come back the next week to discuss them all over again.
With all the technology we have to “connect” with each other, what these coffee groups provide is personal interaction and relationships. As one person put it, “This is my group therapy and adult play group, all for the cost of a cup of coffee.”