In The Local’s quest to tell the story of men who meet for coffee, there was one we hadn’t heard about.
The men who meet daily, seven days a week at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club, were just a touch peeved they were missed.
And so they should be — they may be the longest-standing coffee group in town, although there are two large tea pots on the table along with assorted coffee cups.
Doug Dineley, one of the originals, sits in the cozy corner of the club house with his tea, and thinks back to the early days. He says it’s been at least 25 years they’ve been meeting at the club at 8 a.m., and he thinks closer to 30, although he can’t pin down a year.
At the club Monday morning, he is joined by Frank Harrison, Ron Rempel, and Hugh Hutton.
Waitress Cyndy McKillop looks after their tea and coffee, but not without getting in her share of digs, which she gets right back.
They accuse her of liking Dineley best, and she agrees — he is the best behaved, she said.
Rempel and Hutton vie for the least well-behaved, she said.
The group was originally mostly farmers, but not so much anymore. They are all golfers, though, with the exception of Harrison, who tore his rotator cuff and has to take a break from the game. The rest of them golf at least twice a week, in the two men’s leagues, says Dineley.
They especially like their table by the window because as they sit in their comfortable chairs with their warm beverages, they can critique those out on the course, which they do with gusto.
With two ex-Brits in the group, Brexit is one of their topics of conversation, says Harrison, along with “how to get rid of Trump and Trudeau.”
Hutton adds they like to talk about town problems, which all get solved around the table.
Whatever is current — the tree bylaw, the budget, long-range plans — “we solve them all here.”
A new carpet at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is apparently a hot topic, they explain, because it took two years of discussions to get it installed.
They also talk about sports — the Leafs and Calgary Flames are favourites.
Members not present that morning were Ken Willms, Jim Philips and Kevin Baum. Vic Martens, a member of the community centre group that meets Wednesdays, often stops by. Members who have passed away and are missed are George Werner and Bob Hunter.
The men know if they have a problem that needs solved, the coffee club plays the same role as a pub in Britain, says Harrison — there will always be someone to solve it. If you want to know how to keep your dog off the furniture, or how to repair something at home, or need a landscaping tip, there is always someone with the answer.
“If I have a problem I can come here with it and somebody always knows something about it,” says Harrison.
The golf club will close down for the winter, and the men will lose their cozy round table by the window, but they say they will continue meeting.
“We’ll be in Tim Hortons in the morning, bothering those two groups,” says Dineley.
NOTE: The printed story in the paper incorrectly identified Frank Harrison as Frank Harris. The Local apologizes for the error and any inconvenience it may cause.