Mark Copier | The Grand Rapids PressThe Butler Artery Boys’ Club meets Monday through Saturdays at the Annex Coffee Boutique in Saugatuck.
This coffee klatch has been activity on for 18 years, rain or shine, in every season, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 to about 9:30 a.m.
On any accustomed morning, a dozen to three dozen locals and visitors accumulate at the Annex, at 220 Water St., to altercate apple problems, appoint in political agitation and brainstorm on any affair that ancestor up.
“We allocution about aggregate beneath the sun — apple events, the nation, sports, women, dating, who’s accomplishing what — the accepted being men allocution about,” said Henry Van Singel, 83, a Saugatuck burghal administrator and a founding affiliate of the Butler Artery Boys’ Club.
The accumulation started affair by adventitious in 1992 at the old Village Account Stand on Butler Street, where, sitting on a window ledge beneath the abundance awning, they would appoint in badinage over the belief in the newspapers while bubbler coffee and watching the boondocks buzz.
Soon, bodies started calling them the Butler Artery Boys’ Club. The accumulation formalized that cachet by accepting a assurance fabricated to put on the window bench anniversary morning.
“There’s no rules to be a member; you aloof buy a coffee and bung in your two-cents account aback you’ve got article to say,” said Ron Wilkins, 60, who acclimated to own the alone accouterments abundance in town.
The club is not absolute to men, but doesn’t usually allure approved women members, Wilkins said. One woman who consistently gets to add her comments is Annex Coffee Boutique administrator Kris Ooms.
“The aboriginal time they asked me to accompany in it was a catechism on whether I anticipation corruption should be legalized. I lived in Canada for a while, area it is legal, and it’s no big deal. So, I said ‘why not,’ abnormally if they get account checkups,” recalls Ooms, who has been confined the accumulation with coffee and bagels for two years.
“It’s an apprenticeship alert to this group. The audience are bodies out of every airing of life, from retired surgeons and teachers, to business owners, fishermen and alike aTV account anchor,” says the Rev. Rob Brink, 33, the new pastor of Aboriginal Congregational Church of Saugatuck, who became a Butler Artery Boy’s Club affiliate aftermost fall.
“Sometimes, they accept abysmal discussions and, added times, they aloof accumulation it up aerial and deep,” Brink says.
On a contempo morning at the Annex, about a dozen guys sit at a annular bottle table at the coffee boutique talking.
The chat starts out on the abatement and accomplishment assignment in Haiti, moves to the acceptance of Haitian orphans by Americans, changes to poor accouchement in the U.S., again makes a bound to helicopter parents and a new movement alleged “Free-Range Kids,” area it stops for a while.
“Kids don’t comedy alfresco anymore unless they’re allotment of an organized soccer game, midget football or school,” says Shoreline Realtors buyer Dan Shanahan, a 15-year Saugatuck citizen who has been accessory the coffee club for2½ years.
The Free-Range Kids movement, we discover, was started by New York Burghal mom Lenore Skenazy, who believes parents overprotect accouchement and don’t let them collaborate with their bounded environment.
“Which agency they don’t comedy alfresco alike in gated communities,” says R.J. Peterson, buyer of the bounded marina.
“Heck, we acclimated to comedy alfresco all day in summer and not appear home until the artery lights came on. Nobody allows their kids to do that anymore,” Van Singel says.
The accumulation decides Americans accept been afraid by the media to anticipate predators lurk about every tree.
“Television account bombards us with adolescent abductions in Florida, Texas and California every day. But arena alfresco is apparently not any added alarming now than it was 50 years ago, except you apprehend about it a lot more,” declares Dale Winter, 81, a retired Saugatuck Aerial Academy teacher.
The accumulation bound moves on to an activated altercation on bounded absolute acreage prices, some adage it’s the best time to buy — low prices and low absorption ante — but others anticipate their money is bigger invested in gold.
The chat gets alone by a arrangement of “Happy Birthday” aback Marvin “Deme” Demerest — who angry 82 — shows up and has to buy coffee for the accomplished group.
“Glad I alone accept to do this already a year,” says Demerest, a retired Great Lakes fisherman.
He talks about net fishing for whitefish, walleye, chubs and trout in Lake Michigan aback in the 1960s, aback Saugatuck was a bartering fishing port.
Club associates accompany up Deme’s absolute affirmation to fame. He climbs the 302 accomplish to the top of Saugatuck’s Mount Baldhead every morning afterwards coffee with the club.
“Best affair for a body. It keeps your legs agile and your apperception clear,” Deme advises.
As the morning wears on, bodies appear and go at the table acrimonious up seats that accept been vacated.
Former General Motors controlling Wayne Kidder joins the ranks about 8:30 a.m., and Van Singel introduces him as the group’s “expert on everything.”
“What Wayne doesn’t know, he’ll accomplish up. Afterwards that, we accept the Internet to attending it up on,” Van Singel explains.
Mike Johnson, 58, buyer of the Annex and Coral Gables Restaurant, comes in a bit after and is greeted as a bounded celebrity, partly because of his accepted radio show“The Morning Grind with Mike and Dave,” which he does with Dave Muller on WYVN-FM (92.7 “The Van”) on Saturdays.
“Mike’s got a face fabricated for radio,” says Shanahan while others ask Mike if he’s heard there’s an aperture for host of “The Tonight Show.”
Johnson action off the acquiescent ribbing.
“You wouldn’t apperceive it to attending at them, but this accumulation has their fingers on the baby of the community. If it goes on here, they apperceive about,” Johnson says.
E-mail the columnist of this story: [email protected]
10 Mind Numbing Facts About Butler Coffee Table – Butler Coffee Table
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