By Jug Varner
For a number of years the Houston Chronicle newspaper has carried a popular thrice-weekly column by Leon Hale, an excellent writer of random musings about life in general and Houston in particular.
Leon has compiled many of these columns in several published books — most of which I have in my library. I am a fan of his not only for his down-home humor, style, and interesting approach to life, but especially because he has crossed that threshold of 80+ years and is still actively engaged in life.
On rare occasions he writes about the “Old Codgers Club.” He says he is the “recording secretary” and makes no decisions in this small group. It meets at a local icehouse at no specific time schedule, to discuss things of mutual interest. He says it is typical of many such groups in communities all across the country. I think he is right.
From 1971 to 1997, Bonnie and I lived at Lakeway, Texas, on Lake Travis, WNW of Austin. It was an interesting experience to be a vital part of the growth and development of this new community, help to establish a local government and various organizations, as well as all the other trappings that go with such an enterprise, volunteering to the Nth degree.
Eventually Lakeway grew from a small weekend resort to the fast growing, bustling city it is today, and, yes, we eventually had our own version of Leon's “Old Codgers Club.”
We called ours the “Spit and Whittle Club.” The name conjured a vision of old men sitting on benches around the Court House Squares of many small Texas towns, chewing tobacco, whittling with their pocketknives, and discussing important issues of their “guvmint.”
Unlike those typical whittlers who were “on the outside looking in,” however, our little group comprised the senior movers and shakers of our community (mostly in our 60s and 70s, when I was there). We brought our own refreshments to a special place every Friday after 5 p.m. It was laughter, jokes. and talk of many things, but mostly about the week's problems and events — locally, statewide, and nationally. We solved them all, too. Unfortunately, they somehow slipped back into their previous conditions once we left the building.
Ours was a great, relaxing fellowship that helped put everything in its proper perspective. At last report, the group was still going strong, with about the same degree of success. I must confess that I miss it, and need to start a similar “club” here in the current hometown I adopted four years ago.
Every age group has something special:
- Youth has its freedom, excitement, and dreams to contemplate;
- Middle age has raising families, careers, and social life to spur them along; and
- Senior age has its friendships, life experiences, and wisdom to draw upon.
The importance of it all is for us to appreciate and enjoy each stage of our lives while we are passing through them.