Monday, November 7, 2016

We Walk into a Bar at an Undisclosed Location

Today's post is just between you and me. We’re trying to keep this one on the down low.

This “bar” is in one location where checking I.D.s is pretty much unnecessary. Underage drinking is unlikely, because you need to be at least 62 years old to be a part of this institution. And there's a two drink maximum, because this bar is only open for an hour each week.

Last week we had an opportunity to visit a retirement community. It has the kinds of activities one expects at such places: crafts, card games, exercise classes, worship services, singalongs, and movies. And every Friday at 3:00 pm, there’s another get together called “Cheers.” Residents are welcomed to what’s usually a sandwich shop for drinks -- wine and beer with a two drink maximum.

I’d rather not mention the name of the place because there was some controversy about allowing this event when it began three years ago. Some people prefered the community to be an alcohol free zone, but the drink  time survived. Now, it’s a pleasant weekly social time, but a staff member asked us not to post pictures of the event. Temperance sentiments still simmer, and it’s best not to stir things up.

We were still able to spend time with some good folks at what they call “Cheers” (and what we’re calling our bar for the week).

It was interesting to see that for the most part, the group segregates themselves into two, with a table for men and a table for women. We (Mindy and Dean) took turns integrating both tables, first the men and the women. When Mindy sat at the men’s table, one of the guys said, “We promise not to tell any dirty jokes. Because we don’t remember any.”

We were even able to ask our weekly questions of “What makes for a good bar?” and “What makes for a good church?”

People were more than willing to include us in conversations, though it was harder than we expected to get answers to our questions.

One man told us that a good bar had “friendly people and not too loud music.”

Several agreed with one man who said, “I don’t frequent many.” A few of the men suggested bars, including a nearby Greek restaurant that has bellydancers on weekends.

Several agreed when one man said, “This right here, this is our bar.”

Another said, “It’s not dark, but it’s a good bar.”

We learned more about the churches people attend (most of them do attend a local church, and a number of those churches provide transportation on Sunday morning). Most of them have attended their current church for decades, and all agreed that friendliness was an important part of a good church.

Several women mentioned that they’ve always been made to feel welcome when they visited churches, but one woman (who’s moved to the area more recently) said, “I’ve been in churches as a stranger, and nobody talked to me.”

Other stories swirled around us. Mindy overheard part of another story about visitors sitting in one woman’s usual pew. Dean talked to a man whose children, raised in the Baptist church, are all attending Catholic churches now. “As long as they’ve got a religion,” the man said. “They wouldn’t miss church for anything.”

A couple other men told us about their church, which is practically next door to a local university. “There’s not enough young people,” one man said. “We need young people.” They told us that the college was discussing buying the church buildings while allowing the church to continue using the property. Both men felt this would be a good option all the way around.

There are a number of good worship options available for the people of this retirement community. It was fun be with people enjoying “Cheers,” the one onsite “bar” option.

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