The Weekly Meeting at the Coffee Shop

Mar 6, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

I often feel that the heart of America is sound. I visit football stadiums where they all stand as the National Anthem is sung. I visit schools where kids are engaged in learning, reading, spelling, writing and doing arithmetic. Some are already on computers and surfing the net.

And then we have some of our finest citizens in America meeting to have some coffee or perhaps tea at a local establishment. Some of these citizens are senior citizens, some are still actively involved in their own endeavors. Yet they share a love of country, while bemoaning a concern as the direction it is taking.

I attend these weekly meetings at various “coffee shops“ or restaurants on occasion. Some I frequent more than others. It seems that there are four main areas of concern. I call them the four “ P”’s.

Politics seems to be high on the list of things to be discussed- followed by budget. These individuals know about balancing a checkbook- and the high cost of borrowing, and they understand the concept of “rates of interest “. You can dress the budget up in fancy names and terminology, but these individuals who have worked for many years understand the importance of balancing a budget and coping with interest rates.

There is some concern about Leadership in Washington. There is some discussion that our leaders are not representing the individuals who are paying taxes. Perhaps our Senators and Congressmen are now representing those individuals who are not paying taxes. Perhaps our Senators and Congressmen are no longer concerned about the individuals who fought in World War II, or Korea or Viet Nam.

Parables are often shared from the Bible ( gasp !) and some of our learned individuals are able to quote from what is still regarded as the “ Good Book “. The words of wisdom are shared, mulled over and digested along with some type of biscuit or burrito. There is a clear sense of right and wrong as the coffee club group comment on current events in the world.

Pain is a common topic as is aging. Unfortunately, as we get older, our aches and pains become more predominant and our concerns about our health assume a larger amount of our time. Doctor visits are more periodic, and when something is broken, either taping or a cast becomes important.

Yet offsetting these concerns is the wisdom of the ages- Mark Twain, the book of Genesis in the Bible and simple camaraderie of fellow travelers on the last legs of their journey. Yet still the values of the “old school” dominate. Hard work, studying, reading, the importance of education, and learning, and the hope that the teachers of the world, though far from perfect will do the very best they can with the students that are assigned to them.

I think there are a lot of unsung heroes who have done a lot for our country, our children and our citizens. Perhaps instead of visiting the coffee club next week, I will visit the local fire house- as those firemen and women need some recognition too. Then the week after, I will check on our local policemen and policewomen. And then I need to visit the local church-I hear attendance is down. And maybe I can visit a local hospital to see a few friends or to support those nurses and physicians . And of course, another school needs to be visited. And maybe I can provide some moral support for those teachers out there. I am sure there are many more people that make this country run that need some recognition and a great big hand. More to follow…..

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