Long live informal small town gatherings!
by Rick Schara, Live Wide Open Coordinator
Many years ago, I was staying at a lakeside cabin near Battle Lake. One Saturday morning, I ran over to a little bait shop/restaurant/convenience store to pick up a cup of coffee.
I walked past the only table in the place where a three fellows sat nursing their coffee. I saw the sign propped up in the middle of their round table: RESERVED Saturday mornings for the TABLE of KNOWLEDGE.
I poked a little fun at those fellows but I’ve stolen the phrase and gotten a few chuckles using it in other community gathering places.
When you grow up in a small town, people know those gathering places. The coffee shops and hometown restaurants and new fast food joints have social gatherings once a week, sometimes once a day.
A group of ladies here in Fergus Falls were gathering at the local bakery but thru aging and other circumstances, they continue to meet at a local senior care center. It’s very convenient for their friends who reside in the center. And they still refer to their meetings as “donuts” even though the treat is often some homemade bars or cookies.
In my observations, these informal gatherings are usually one gender, mostly retired folks who meet at roughly the same time on a regular basis and last for about an hour. No one takes roll call, there’s no agenda, no one calls to say they can’t make it. They simply gather their crowd.
These type of gathering have gone on for generations. Hopefully, they never change.