A retired men’s group meets 8:00 AM daily for morning coffee
By Patricia Minkiewicz
In the year 2012, Eagle resident and retiree, Jack Bearden, was sipping his usual early morning hot coffee at the family-owned Burger Den on 2nd Street downtown. A true people-person, Jack found that daily morning coffee by oneself can become a drag over time. One morning, Jack entered the Den and spotted a man sitting at a table, eating a light breakfast and appearing somewhat forlorn. Jack walked over, introduced himself, started a friendly chat, and asked to take a seat at the same table. That was okay with the fellow, although it turned out he did not have the gift of conversation. Regardless, Jack felt good about the experience and decided he would enjoy his early mornings a lot more if there was one, two, or even more to join him on a regular morning basis. In time, that is exactly what happened, and the small group of retirees became the founders of the ‘Old Guys Coffee Group.’
After six months, the early morning coffee group moved to venue number two, Rembrandt’s eatery on Eagle Road downtown. Why? Because the ‘Old Guys’ liked to meet daily, but the Burger Den was closed on Sundays. It turned out venue number two already had an early morning seniors coffee group. In only a short time, the separate groups conferred and decided to join forces and move to venue number three, McDonald’s eatery on Plaza Drive across from Albertson’s. The change offered a quieter separate room, featuring windows and more tables, chairs, and space to grow – which it did over the next seven years. The staff was supportive and supplied nametags. Word got around, and the membership limit of 30 older retirees was met and remains today. It is comprised of men mostly, but women are welcomed.
In the meantime, the combined coffee groups had decided to agree on a new name which was provided readily by member Scott Cleveland, and the “Council of Wisdom” was born. The mascot? An owl, of course. Several members chose to purchase caps and red polo shirts with the new name and logo and wear them at meetings and around town.
Scott, who is said to have a savvy mind, chose to bypass retirement and continues to run an Eagle business named 4c Financial Group LLC. He is skilled in what he does, even teaching a Smart Phone class to senior citizens. That said, he serves as the Council’s Financial Advisor and was elected to be Chairman of Communications, handing the group’s emails.
After seven enjoyable years with McDonald’s, a new daily venue was sought when the eatery closed their interior in early February this year. A major interior remodeling project would begin and required two months’ time to complete. In short order, Eagle’s BanBury restaurant at the golf course became venue number four and offered the Council a quiet, spacious, carpeted room with a magnificent view.
Most Wisdom Council members are married, and ages span from 47 up to 95 years. A diverse group, there are several former ‘captains of industry’ as well as represented occupations from commercial real estate, car salesman, schoolteachers, tech inspector of race cars, small businesses, managers, a pilot, and many more. Their total work experience after retirement was calculated to be at least 2,000 years.
Founder Jack enjoyed his former job as Director of Attractions at Georgia’s popular Stone Mt. Park. His two children, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren now live in Idaho. Jack serves on Eagle city’s Historical Preservation Commission.
Personable Ian Burnett is a retired fireman, rescue worker, developer, and moved his family to Idaho in 2012. His favorite pastime is cars & more cars. He says modern computerized motor vehicles have cut back the amount of unhealthy emissions to the environment. Ian serves on Eagle’s Urban Renewal Agency.
Member Fred M., age 95, is a former ‘celebrity dentist to the stars in Hollywood’ and he married one. He enjoys retirement in Idaho.
Metallurgist, Paul, also age 95, says his former profession determines which metals and alloys work together best for various kinds of construction projects.
Musician and singer, Dave Frizzi, is a skilled performer and sometimes brings his guitar along to Wisdom Gatherings.
Tom Anderson, from tiny Mackay City in Idaho, drives a new Corvette every year. His 2020 model is slate gray and was greeted at the dealership by Wisdom Members upon delivery, referred to as an ‘unveiling party’. Mackay City’s Rodeo trips are scheduled regularly and several wives choose to join along for those.
On another note, Ian says, “We love our veterans who represent all military branches, the national flag, and our guns.” Caring about each other runs deep as well, and many shoulders are offered to lean on when sick, sad, or needful. Birthdays, illnesses, and life changes are all acknowledged. Former member Morris “Butch” Hull, a retired logger, died two years ago in his 70s and the Council arranged to donate a Park Bench to Eagle’s Merrill Park Field of Flags in memory of him. His widow shared her belief Butch “lasted two years longer than expected due to the camaraderie he found regularly in the Council of Wisdom.”
Members agree they are a fun loving, friendly, sometimes comical group until someone gets serious about a need. Then it’s “what can we do and let’s get it done NOW!” Help is provided when a member needs assistance with repainting, repairs, handrails, car issues, and unofficial “taxi service” for doctor appointments, airport runs, groceries, errands.
As to politics, such talks do arise occasionally at meetings, and Ian jokingly replied, “a few Democrats are Council members in the spirit of inclusiveness.” Jack added, “Never an argument, though, whatever the topic – just state how you see things.”
Ian added, “Why do I participate in the Council of Wisdom? Not only for the conversation, but maybe I can make someone’s day a little better… or someone can make my day a little better.”
Writer’s Note: After 27 years of doing business in Eagle, the family-owned Burger Den closed its doors the end of January this year. However, it remains the special place where Jack Bearden started something worthy that would benefit other retirees like him.