Once a week I meet with some guys.  We call ourselves the ROMEOs…Retired Old Men Eating Out.  The only truth in that statement is that we are all over 65.  Retired?  Not really.  Everyone one of us is involved working, volunteering, busy as ever.  Eating out?  Questionable.  Some of the guys will have coffee and have a bagel or something light but rarely do we have any kind of meal.  Some of us just show up and sit there at Panera and yuk it up.  We address the news, tell a good story, reminisce about the good old days, and try to pawn off our old magazines and books on each other.

Some of the guys meet four times a week.  I generally attend on Monday mornings.  Each morning has a little different make up of guys.  Spouses and girl friends are welcome but do not attend.  However, throughout the year there are special occasions where we come together as couples or singles as the case may be.  Fourth of July is always a brunch at the home of one of the guys.  Another guy always hosts a holiday New Years party.  Then we have our cultural events traveling, learning, and just going to a sports event.  This year we visited a waning cult called the House of David in Benton Harbor.  Then there was a trip to the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris University.

One of my business ventures is a family partnership in the assembly, marketing, and distribution of water filter products to communities of poverty and disaster situations.  Check out our websites at businessconnectworld.com and connectforwater.org.  Suddenly, we have orders and our inventory is way down.  It is late summer and our collaborating partner, 20 Liters, does not have enough volunteers to assemble the 3,000 filters we need within five days.

My son-in-law phones me Monday morning while eight of us are at our ROMEO table at Panera Bread.  I put him on speaker phone, and he asks if these guys will help out.  We agree on Thursday morning at 9:30 A.M. we will meet and put some filter kits together.  It is my birthday.  There is no better birthday present than friends working together to do something that blesses others.

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