A coffee club reunion

Published 8:45 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

Friends start social distance version of get-togethers


For at least 25 years, a group of  more than a dozen Albert Lea men has met every weekday morning for coffee.

They started at the Donut Kettle but in recent years have met at Hardee’s when that closed.

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When Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order was implemented, the men were forced to suspend their morning visits.

This week, however, the group decided to start them up again — with social distancing guidelines in mind.

Vern Rasmussen Sr. said he was talking with friend Don Nolander, and they thought of the idea to try to get the group back together again. They checked the weather forecast and tried to find a pleasant day, and then contacted the other members of the group to have them meet them at their frequented fast-food restaurant.

Instead of meeting indoors, however, each went through the drive-thru for their coffee and then came back around into the parking lot, parked their vehicle, pulled out a lawn chair and then sat down in a large circle with their friends to enjoy some time catching up. They had a lot to catch up on, as they had been separated as a group for more than a month.

All are retired, coming from varying backgrounds, including banking, education, law enforcement, engineering, the military,  and human services, among others.

They said there were three or four others who sometimes attended who were not there, but otherwise the whole group was there.

One member, Bob Moreau, brought cookies to share that he said his wife  had made, and after a few minutes outdoors one of the Hardee’s employees came out to bring an additional pot of coffee for refills.

The visit was cut a little short as rain began to fall, sending some to their cars, as others remained.

“We resolve or create some of the world’s problems here,” Nolander said.