You can set your watch on coffee club schedules

By Staff
SOLVING PROBLEMS n Engaged in coffee drinking and "solving" local and world problems are, right, John Holifield, from left clockwise, Earl Sikes, Bobby Rushing, Ed Pigott, Leon Jones, Henry Tardo, Jack Rushing and David Coats. This group meets for coffee at least five afternoons a week at the Waffle House in Tuxedo. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star.
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
July 8, 2001
Attendance was down slightly last Tuesday morning at the roundtable coffee club at Jean's Restaurant. Those there included Lester Barham, Champ Gibson, John "Chocho" Dunn, Oscar Pool, James Slayton and Bill Fort. "We usually have 10 or more," Barham said.
This group meets Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Jean's. On Wednesdays, they are the guests of Pool at Silver Leaf Manor.
The conversation started with a discussion on the best way to cook barbecue ribs the Fourth of July. Several members said they would be going to different places for lunch on the Fourth.
They then turned to the news, first discussing the woman who drowned her five children in Texas. Someone mentioned the man who stabbed his children to death in Syracuse, N.Y.
Nobody said anything.
The conversation drifted to the swearing in of the mayor and aldermen. From there, they started talking about the state flag. One member pointed out that there are some state buildings without flag poles, noting that the state flag is not flying in front of it as it should.
Finally, Mr. Slayton told the group about some of his recent adventures in Washington D.C. where he visited several congressmen, including U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, on a recent trip for the V.F.W.
From there, the conversation drifted to Civil War history and the Masons, and then the group basically broke up for the day.
No charge
All the free advice in the world.
You can get that and more each weekday and most Saturdays at one of the many "coffee clubs" that gather around Meridian, and other East Mississippi communities as well.
The times vary. For example, the first of three coffee clubs at Jean's Restaurant on Front Street starts about 7:30 a.m. Two others start at 9:30 a.m., according to owner Jean Bullock. One meets in the front part of the restaurant while the "important one" gets together in the private dining room in back where there is a round table.
Just around the corner at Weidmann's Restaurant, a coffee club gathers at 9:30 a.m. each day.
At News Restaurant, the gathering begins about 10 a.m. "Anywhere between six to 10 show up each morning. The topic can be anything. You name it, and we talk about it," said owner Richard Belvin.
The "breakfast bunch" gets together each morning at Jack's. The morning starts about 7:30 with regular members including Kenneth Brown, Donna Jill Johnson, Lee Shumate, Rusty Peck and Dan Self.
The Breakfast Bunch was faced with a serious dilemma Tuesday. Oglesby had decided to take a long holiday weekend and was not going to re-open until Monday. "They don't know what they are going to do, but I think they will make it," Oglesby laughed.
Like other groups, the world's problems are solved daily over breakfast at Jack's.
They may not agree on everything, but this is a tight group of friends, Oglesby said.
In Quitman, you can set your watch on Mayor Tommy Blackburn's daily coffee drinking habits. At 3 p.m. every weekday, the mayor stops off at Hardee's for a cup of coffee … and a lot of free advice.
Blackburn used to be a member of the Wards coffee club that met at the same time, but moved over to Hardee's after Wards closed. He may get fussed at from time to time, but he said this was a way to keep up with what was going on in the community.
Blackburn said recent political issues of discussion have included the execution of Timothy McVeigh, the state flag and chads.
Meanwhile in Newton, Bryan Biggers comes in about 8:15 each morning to make the coffee at the old Newton Depot coffee shop.
What has been the topic of discussion?
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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