By Reba Phelps
The sounds and smells of coffee percolating from my second-hand Keurig are the ingredients in the recipe for a perfect morning. Granted, during the weekdays, I do not get to linger and enjoy it for very long once the piping-hot brew hits my cup. Sometimes the weekday coffee has to be on-the-go and transported in a travel mug. Typically during the week I am all alone for these cups unless my oldest decides to join for a few brief moments before her classes or sometimes coffee is enjoyed while reading my daily devotions.
But, a cup of Joe on the weekends takes on a whole other life of its own. The smell is more profound. The sounds of the percolating second-hand Keurig seem to have a certain pep in their step. The weekend coffee is often enjoyed on a porch with friends as long as the weather permits. If the elements are not agreeable then we will find our way into someone’s home.
Somewhere along the way we affectionately started referring to our Saturday meetings as, “Coffee Club”. For research purposes I consulted one of our founding members, Brandy Tilley, to find out the exact date. She is our unofficial keeper of the records. If we want it to be an official club we should know when we were founded. After much deliberation she decided it was founded in 2014.
Although we would love to lay claim to this local tradition, it was not one created by me nor my immediate friend group. You could say that the Coffee Club model was patterned after a group of local men who we deeply respect and admire. We were lucky enough to have met them through our weekly Kiwanis Club meetings.
Week in and week out we would hear their friendly, and not so friendly, jabs at each other. The teasing and jeering these men could endure was astounding and very entertaining. We quickly learned two things. This witticism was normally spillover from their Coffee Club. And, these men could not offend each other. They were like brothers.
I never will forget the day that a few of us from the bank were invited to join the Coffee Club at their very own meeting location to hear all about their Christmas fundraiser. We were ecstatic. We were finally able to visit our friends at the infamous Coffee Club. While we were there we were completely blown away by the deep compassion and love they had for our community. These men were making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. It was a beautiful sight to take in.
The official name of the club was, “Walter P. Ledet Coffee Club” and they were founded in the early 1970’s. They met five days a week and would end each meeting with a coin toss to see who would foot the bill. They also would have a program every Wednesday of the week. I dare not to even guess how many projects they have completed during their time together but I can guarantee they enjoyed each other’s company while they did it.
As stated in their official proclamation, “Many great personalities from many walks of life have come and gone from this Club’s membership”… They welcomed everyone. It should also be noted, as they may not be aware, they have a whole host of imitators that hope their coffee club is as successful and meaningful as theirs. Hopefully, they know this is the sincerest form of flattery.
Our budding club has grown accustomed to meeting as often as we can. Just like this wonderful group of men, we would love to meet five days a week but sometimes work, family, ball games, travel and other obligations get in our way. But, we always find the time to connect over ground coffee beans and boiling water. We rotate house to house and we are working on building our own set of Bylaws that include a relaxed dress code, a make-up free face and It is automatically deemed a “no judgement zone”. We do not expect a clean house or well-behaved children when we arrive.
Coffee truly has a way of bringing people together.
Some might say it has never been about the coffee as much as it has been about the fellowship and sharing with friends. It has grown into an event where time slows down and nothing else matters except for the conversations had amongst friends. We were built for fellowship and not isolation from others. Quiet time is always good but fellowship with others is where we connect and show love to the people that God has put in our path.
We grow as humans when we connect with others on a deeper level.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35