A Perry asset uncovered in retiree coffee groups

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2054
Retiree and near-retiree coffee groups mark birthdays and other occasions, as in Thursday's birthday gathering of local quasi-retirees, clockwise from left, Gary Becker, Roger Emmert, Andrew Bambrick, Don Meyers, Dick Ehlers, Phil Stone, Larry Blaker, Ray Harden, Jim Haas and Dan Spellman. Lou Hoger is not pictured but was present. Harden and Stone are celebrating July birthdays. They were treated to a homemade cake at the Perry Perk Coffeehouse, 1218 Second St., by owner Tari Mason.

Our consumer-driven society emphasizes performance, efficiency, outcome measurement and resilience. Scant attention is paid to those whose numbers are large yet are still perceived to be marginal.

I am referring to the not-so-recently retired.

The retiree group comes in various shapes. One such group is the coffee dependents who make frequent treks to various coffee stations in Perry: Perry Perk, Hy-Vee, McDonald’s, Casey’s, the McCreary Center and Burger King, to name just a few.

Typically, members are “BCers” and “BDers” (befoe computers and before digital apps). Their ritual is activated over a cup of joe, an eye opener, morning starter, the elixir, mood lifter, sustainer and conversation starter.

A ritual is a practice repeated in a special manner to satisfy its importance. The aroma, the warmth of the cup, the first sip — thus commences the ritual.

To be a member in good standing with the group, you need to exercise selective listening. Everyone repeats stories now and again. Second, tolerance for sudden shifts in the conversation is a virtue. Third, it helps if you leave your negative feelings outside the coffee station. Fourth, bring current information to the group regarding Perry, the state of Iowa, the U.S. and yourself.

Everyone needs to be a contributor.

Over the past seven or eight years, I have been able to identify 10 factors that contribute to the overall mental health of coffee-dependent groups in Perry. The factors are support, comfort, encouragement, bonding, caring, strength, purpose, consensus building, elevated expectations and a sense of community.

Perry’s ritual coffee groups have different signatures. Sometimes the signature is erratic and introduces too many topics in too short a time. Other times the signature is illegible. The hot topic lacks a clear focus. On a good day, the signature is clear, and the discussion moves forward while respecting the differences among the group members.

What assets have you uncovered while participating in coffee groups in Perry? There are hundreds of uncovered assets that need to be exposed to reveal Perry’s true worth: its people!

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