Every Tuesday morning they gather.
Fine weather and they sit around one of the round, wooden tables just outside their favourite café.
If inclement, or if a chill winter wind blows, they head indoors into the café. Willing hands help to rearrange a table and chairs while some sit on the long bench seat which was once upon a time, a church pew.
Fair weather or foul, nothing stops these men from their weekly social get-together.
A jest lightly thrown into the air by one has the rest of them beaming broad smiles, or laughing. Never mind the white hair and skin well-leathered by spending many-a-day in the sun; their faces wear the bliss of social belonging.
This week, and there is the tale of an unexpected meeting with a mate a long time not seen. Heads nod at an opinion expressed: ‘He’s a good mate. I’m glad he is well and you had a chance to catch-up.’
And over the hot cuppa of their choice they continue to discuss topics of interest: the latest movie seen, even an upcoming film release one or another is keen to see; and books. Fiction, non-fiction: it doesn’t matter which.
Relaxed, they chat and gossip until almost midday when to a man, they look at their wristwatch.
‘I need to go,’ says one.
‘Me too,’ says another.
On cue, one by one, they stand. Chairs are returned to their original position and the table is moved back to its proper place. One or two even return their crockery to the café counter.
‘Next week boys,’ says one.
‘Yes, same time and place,’ says another.
Leaving, one by one they turn to smile at the café owner.
‘Thanks,’ they say.
‘My pleasure,’ she says, smiling. ‘See you next week.’
Copyright Jo 2015