The King Street Breakfast Club

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 11:02 AM

It all began informally. This is how Wesley Woods is explaining his interpretation of how the group of men sitting around him, came to sit around him. It is 7:02Am and they are the only customers inside the Kelsey’s Café on King Street in Hillsborough.
Woods is facing to the East and the television in the corner of the room is tuned to ESPN and nobody is paying much attention to the top 10 plays from the night before. “I used to get a delivery truck that came down every Tuesday morning,” Woods said. “That turned into breakfast with one of these guys and then we invited someone else and now it is kind of a regular thing.”
Woods is owner of Dual Supply and he knows the happenings of this town and King Street, too. He is always quick with a smile and he has items in his store for sale that will never be found anywhere else; and, coincidentally, he knows where all of these items are.
By count there are usually seven seated at the table. They don’t have a name for this group. There is no agenda. There are no bylaws or rules of conduct. Among the group are business owners and entrepreneurs. S ome are nearly retired and some will never retire. One of them owns a furniture store. One of them owns Orange Garden Center. One of them owns a bee-keeping supply service. One of them is a retired teacher, turned real estate agent. And one of them knows about testing mud, drilled from oil wells in the Gulf, for gaseous composition.
They are polite and wise. They are kind. They all have different shoe sizes and this is necessary because they are all from different walks of life. The topics discussed here range from politics to feeding catfish tomatoes to how one of them delivered papers, on bicycle, when the Durham Herald had two deliveries in town.
Over eggs and bacon and very black coffee, the subject of teacher pay is the conversation at hand. Among the group, Leon Waters offers personal insight about teacher pay. He was once a teacher at Orange High School and he shakes his head slowly about the idea that teachers are overly appreciated while being underpaid. Most at the table agree.
Some raise questions about the proceeds of the lottery and another asks what the starting salary is for a teacher in Orange County and across the state.
These men do not have kids in school any longer and yet they appreciate that teachers provide a necessary service and that it really does not make sense that a teacher has to purchase supplies, from their own salary, for a classroom.
Around the table, topics change and build and evolve. There is discussion about where the old bus stop was in Hillsborough; how many drug stores used to be in town; someone is traveling to visit home, up North; And, all laugh about how one of these men’s dogs licked-clean his plate for lunch, and that outside this same hound is howling, from the passenger seat of the man’s truck.
There is talk of business, too. The bee-supply owner is expanding his business to warehouse space in Raleigh and all at the table nod their head in approval.
By all accounts, there is nothing very unique or special about this group of men that meet on Tuesday mornings, in town for breakfast. There is natural chiding and men-talk; yet it is a necessity of sorts when old friends and former strangers meet in a café. A town would be amiss if it were not for informal groups such as this.
These men come together for the sake of fellowship and for the belief that we might all walk a similar path, even though we wear different size shoes. Though we never know where our paths might lead; there is hope that at least somewhere along the way, we might intersect with friends that used to be strangers that came together because deliveries were made on Tuesday mornings.

Have a feature or story idea for Jason Hawkins; email him at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.