Every Wednesday morning nearly a dozen retired, church-going men meet in Book N Bean to socialize. (Sarah Grochowski Photo)

Retiree men’s group ‘solving the world’s problems’ one coffee at a time

Every Wednesday morning nearly a dozen retired, church-going men meet in Aldergrove to socialize.

Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., silver-haired men begin pouring into the local Book N Bean coffee shop at 27103 Fraser Highway in Aldergrove.

Each gathered around a long table in the middle of the cafe. Around it, rested seats enough for 10. As more men — most retired and over the age of 63 — enter in from the cold, more chairs are taken from other cafe tables to accommodate.

“We’ve been meeting every week for two years now,” said John Vanderpol, a longtime member of the Aldergrove Canadian Reformed Church (located on 267 Street).

“My father first came here from Holland in 1951. He was unable to work so he began knocking on doors, selling fish and eggs,” said Vanderpol.

“He ran his own business and supported the businesses of other Dutch migrant men in this very community – it’s a similar story for many of the men here,” he said.

Harold Ludwig — the founder of the weekly coffee group — sits at the head of the table, confidently, with his fingers crossed out in front of him. Ludwig underwent intensive treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer this year.

“He used to have a very long beard,” one of the coffee drinkers joked aloud, breaking a moment of silence.

“We know too much about each other sometimes,” admitted another reluctantly. “We’re all brothers from the same church.”

Ludwig admits two years ago he saw a need for socializing amongst retired men at his church. With the cancer treatment out of the way he can finally get back to meetings with the men.

Cafe owner Alana O’Connor has been witness to the men’s social group throughout the year.

“Considering one of their members has had a major, life-changing illness, they all really rallied together for him,” said O’Connor, who first opened Book N Bean in August 2016.

Though their church’s congregation — with attendance up to 400 — meet Sunday morning and afternoon for services, these men meet faithfully every Wednesday as well.

“It’s so nice for these men to have this type of support system,” O’Connor said. “They always say that they’re sitting here, talking, ‘solving the world’s problems.’”

The group discuss plenty in the two short hours they meet: politics, their married lives at home, World War II, cars, Donald Trump, international news and local happenings in Aldergrove.

For every honest remark there seems to be an equally as viable quip aimed from one man to another.

When asked what keeps them coming back every Wednesday, one retiree was quick to reply:

“We really just like to tease each other,” he said, grinning.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Ryan’s Regards: Farewell to Langley landmarks

Gabby’s Country Cabaret and Mary’s British Store will be missed

Retired Langley RCMP officer publishes book of memories serving on the force

What Cops Talk About Over Coffee features array of stories from different police officers

Vancouver Giants to stream 2007 Memorial Cup championship game Saturday night

Giants versus Medicine Hat Tigers can be viewed on YouTube at 7 p.m.

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Nearly 6,200 Langley students set to return to school June 1

School district shared COVID-19 update during board meeting

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Most Read