An Encouraging Word – Old dog among new tricks

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

Do not cast me aside in my old age. Psalm 71:9

One of the things I like to do in retirement is to drive down to Sunergos Coffee shop on Preston Street, next to Nord’s Bakery. In reality, it has become sort of an addiction. I used to make coffee at home, even the good stuff, but somehow it doesn’t taste as good as the coffee I get there.

I think it is more about the atmosphere than the coffee, however.

I always swore that I would never be caught meeting with other old retired guys who hang together and gossip till noon everyday over discount coffee at McDonald’s or White Castle.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem as pathetic to meet with other senior citizens and blend into the regulars — many of whom are tattoed, ear-pierced and bohemian — in a place such as Sunergos.

The noise level and the sometimes bizarre music is the only turn-off for old dogs like me, but it’s not a bad trade-off to the nursing home atmosphere of mornings at a White Castle.

Phyllis, Mark, Jan, Gary and I usually sit together. Phyllis and Jan like to work crossword puzzles. Mark likes to design cars on his tablet. Gary likes to click his pen incessantly and eat strange food from plastic containers he brings from home.

We usually know many of the other regulars who pass through on their way to work, including the editor and one of the writers for this paper.

I like to introduce myself to the young men and women, alone or in groups, reading their Bibles. I usually begin with, “How’s Sunday’s sermon coming along?” Some are evangelical seminarians or student pastors of small churches. For others, it is merely for personal growth.

My connection to the Sunergos people goes back several years. They are the people who helped me decide what equipment I needed when I started the coffee shop, called Jack’s, at St. Meinrad Seminary several years ago. Jack’s at St. Meinrad’s still buys its beans from Sunergos.

Sunergos on Preston is a very interesting place. The people behind the counter are friendly and helpful. The crowd is very diverse. Many times it seems like a cross between Woodstock and a day care center or a seminary dining room and a rock festival.

Half the room is filled with young adults who bring their toddlers and feed them doughnuts from Nord’s, while they sip their latte’s and cappuccinos. The other half of the room is filled with young adults with their umbilical cords permanently connected to electronics devices. Sprinkled among the group are a few aging old hippies like me. It’s fun to watch!

If I have offended the seniors who meet at McDonald’s or White Castle, too bad! If you want to have it out, our gang will be happy to meet your gang for a rumble any morning about 5 a.m. at any McDonald’s or White Castle of your choosing. No canes allowed.

To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog: FatherKnott.com.

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