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Coffee and a Story
There’s just something about coffee that really gets chins wagging.
Maybe it’s the caffeine, the aroma of freshly brewed beans, the six shots of caramel syrup... Who knows?
Old Mates are filled with stories. They’ve been around the block, ya know? They’ve seen and done a lot and have a bunch to say. The pearls of wisdom in their stories might even give your own life a little perspective, too.
They might, for instance, tell the story of their first kiss. The best day of their life - or the worst. How their learned to cook paella or that time they met their childhood hero. You never know what you might learn by hearing their stories.
So, whether you’re an award-winning barista with your own home-made cold drip, if you only know how to pour hot water onto instant coffee, or if you'd prefer to head to a coffee shop and let someone else make it for you, pull up a chair and get chatting.
This activity can be an enjoyable and mentally stimulating activity for your Old Mate. However, for some, reflecting on people, events, and times that are 'no more' may not be a positive experience and may bring up feelings of loss or loneliness.
Therefore, this is an activity to be navigated carefully. If you sense your Old Mate is not responding positively, make sure to change the subject or have another activity up your sleeve to pivot to.
We think the following poem written about Old Mates by an Old Mate, Col Hadwell, (who, sadly, recently passed away) is all the inspiration you need for this activity:
The Library Burned
'When an old man dies, a library burns',
That's what they always said.
I never quite knew what it meant,
'Til I heard that Ted was dead.
I used to see old Ted you know,
Just sitting down the beach,
Each morning with his paper there,
They said he used to teach.
I never got to know you see,
About his life and past.
He took that with him when he went,
'Cause I never thought to ask.
'Cause I was off and running 'round,
I suppose a normal kid.
I never knew how he grew up,
I doubt that many did.
I used to like him though you know,
He used to know my name.
He'd ask me how I went at school,
And when I'd played my game,
He always used to know the score,
Although he wasn't there,
It always used to have me tricked
(I guess he used to care).
He told me where to find the fish,
He knew where they were on.
And even though he never went,
He knew when they were gone.
He told me when a storm was due,
He showed be 'Mackerel Sky',
That comes two days before the rain,
I never asked him why.
Lots of times I used to say
'I'll bet old Ted would know',
But then I'd always put it off,
With somewhere else to go.
I thought that he'd be always there
'Til I had time for list'ning,
But when I finally had the time,
I found that he was missing.
The funeral was only small,
(his friends had mostly gone),
Since he had lived for ninety years
'Til he was called along.
The eulogy was written from
The papers that they found,
Among his most private things,
At the local camping ground.
He's worked on farms along the coast
When he was only ten.
Then two years on along the Somme,
He fought with full grown men.
He survived two wars, saw droughts and floods,
The Great Depression too.
He'd seen all and done all sorts of things,
The tales he told were true.
The shame is that these blokes like Ted,
Are all around the Nation,
Reading books and taking time,
To store this information,
So they can pass along to us,
Some knowledge of their past,
And we could have it all for free -
If we only thought to ask.
- Col Hadwell (1946-2017)
If you're after some conversation starters, try a few of these questions:
· What have been the most memorable moments of your life so far?
· What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
· Who was your first love? How did you meet?
· What’s the craziest, most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
· What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken? Where did you go?