Good friends get older but fortunately they dont grow up

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

If you have ever woken up early enough and happened across a place that has a good breakfast and even better coffee, chances are you have seen a group of retired men sitting around drinking a cup of Joe and cutting up with each other.

Unless you have had the pleasure of sitting in on a table such as this, you might think the conversation runs along the lines of talking about grandchildren or what productive things each of the gentlemen plans on getting into for that particular day. Let me assure you that is not always the case.

I happened across such a group of fellows at the Farm House Restaurant and asked them if I could sit, have a cup of coffee and maybe chew the fat. They obliged my request, after informing me that normally a newcomer had to be voted in but they would forgo the formalities this time, and even allowed me to take a picture of the group that was present at the time, which was made up of Norm Corder, Sam Sanders, Buddy Ford and Elijah Hoggle.

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I knew I had found the right group when I was asking around for names and a member present said that he could only talk on an anonymous basis. He eventually, with great reluctance, released his credentials as one Will Large &8212; later during coffee the waitress, Eva Miley, caught wind of the name and revealed to me that Mr. Large was in fact really Mr. Elijah Hoggle.

The group, where members regularly leave only to be replaced by another walking in the door, says it has property rights to its large corner table.

I then began inquiring about the group&8217;s habits for their coffee gatherings and quickly realized there was no method to the madness.

When asked whether the whole group was retired, Ford replied that, no, they were all working men but that their shifts at work didn&8217;t start until noon. I guess I looked quite perplexed at the comment because the whole table started laughing and informed me that they were, in fact, all retirees.

Ford decided to make his exodus from the table after getting me with his comment and with the formalities out of the way the real conversation began. The topic quickly turned to Corder&8217;s stint working on a riverboat in Demopolis.

After a couple more yarns about his time on the river, Corder announced that he and Sanders would have to be moving on. When pressed about what the day had in store for him, Corder said simply, &8220;I am going to do whatever I want. I&8217;ll drive around all day if I feel like it.&8221;

A few minutes after Sanders and Corder left the table, Hoggle announced that David Rivers was walking up to the building.

Rivers turned out to be as big a character as Hoggle, and the two quickly began going back and forth.

Following the exchange Rivers turned serious and imparted to the group that anyone that doesn&8217;t carry a gun in this day and age is asking for trouble.

About this time Ken Mays pulled up a chair to the table with a baby in tow.

After finding the legal owner of the infant, Mays&8217; and Hoggle&8217;s conversation turned to their post-coffee plans.

Mays confirmed that he would be heading that way after he had a cup of coffee and a big breakfast. Jim Ratcliff, who caught the tail-end of the exchange, rolled up to the table and grabbed a seat, and threw his two cents into the conversation.

With this, Hoggle and Mays slipped off from the table and got out of Dodge. With them gone, Ratcliff&8217;s and Rivers&8217; talk slowly worked into politics.

The last thing I wanted was to get caught in the middle of was serious coffee talk about politics with two men who weren&8217;t present when I was invited to the table, one of which was a big supporter of carrying a gun, so I said my goodbyes and headed out the door.

As I walked out the restaurant I thought of the group&8217;s conversation, a large portion of which wasn&8217;t fit for the gentle ears of our readers, and wondered how I would write a story.

How do you turn the conversation of a group of 60-year-old teenagers into a story?

I guess what I took away from it is that you really are only as old as you act.

Brandon Glover is a staff writer for The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by e-mail to