BFF’s enjoy breakfast together every Wednesday, rain or shine
Men of the “Breakfast Club Esquire” share a taste of friendship that has stood the test of time
Best Friends Forever just keep coming together.
By Janice Hayes
Friends will come and go in your life, but some friends like Best Friends Forever (BFF) just keep coming together, week after week. Every Wednesday morning, a jovial group of retired gentlemen get together for a delicious breakfast and a delightful fellowship. They meet, eat and “shoot the breeze” for a couple hours every Wednesday morning, rain or shine. The group consists of about 25 local retirees from various career backgrounds.
“I remember when me, Bill and Herman started meeting together for breakfast and it was just the three of us. And now almost 13 years later, our group has grown to about 25 friends, and we still meet every Wednesday without fail,” said Blanton Mitchell, one of the three men who started the Breakfast Club.
In 2002, Blanton Mitchell, William “Bill” Cain and Herman “Big Man” Pittman decided to start having breakfast together on a regular basis. Eventually Fredrick Kennedy and other retirees and friends were invited to join the group. Over the years they have dined at different restaurants, but as the size of the group expanded, they decided to dine at Spoons’ Grill. Not only did the owner of Spoons’ Grill, Dwight Witherspoon, make special arrangements to accommodate the large group, but he also became a member of their group.
“We don’t have an agenda. We don’t endorse any political or religious views. We just get together for the camaraderie. We talk about sports, family, the latest news and politics in a relaxed atmosphere. We tell a few jokes and share a lot of laughter,” said Jennings Coleman, as he enjoyed his grits and egg breakfast.
As we celebrate Black History Month, some of the group members were engaged in lively conversations about Black History. Many of the members of the group were actively involved in the 1960s civil rights movement and have witnessed the impressive gains that were made by Blacks in education, employment, and other areas. Yet they are keenly aware that Black Americans still have a long way to go in the quest for equality and economic empowerment.
The Breakfast Club group consist of men from various walks of life. They are members of local churches such as New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Piney Grove First Baptist and other local churches. They are members of different fraternities and other social and civic organizations such as the Kiwanis Club, NAACP, Masonic Lodge and more.
Their careers span from serving in the military, teaching, business owners and other professions. Yet they all share a common bond of friendship. In the context of social media, the term “friend” is often used to describe contacts rather than relationships. But this group exemplifies true friendship in the relationships that they have fostered over the years.
They all agree that one of the best features of their group is the informality. They don’t have any rules or regulations. They don’t require any special handshakes, initiations, symbols, colors, dues or other special criteria. The only prerequisite to be a part of this group is that you are invited by a group member, and that they vouch for you being a loyal friend. They don’t even have a formal name for their group, but one day someone begin referring to them as “The Breakfast Club Esquires.” It was an easy title, without any constraints, so they accepted it. They don’t vote or elect officers, but Herman Pittman has dubbed himself president for life.
“Yeah, Pittman says he’s president for life, but I impeach him every week,” Roschell Franklin, owner of Franklin Bail Bonds and Tax Preparation, said jokingly. “So if I impeach him, then that tells you who has the real presidential powers.”
Although, the Breakfast Club doesn’t have any hard and fast rules, they do maintain a simple and succinct protocol that all members agree to observe. Each member takes his turn in paying for breakfast for the entire group. This rotating obligation means that each group member enjoys a complimentary breakfast about 50 times a year.
“It’s my day to pay for breakfast,” said Henry Lumpkins, smiling as he surveyed the table. “It seems like everybody’s appetite increases when it’s my day to pay,” he chuckled.
“I really enjoy our break-asts. It’s like our own private get away from everything. I know on Wednesday mornings, I can get away from that chore list my wife gives me,” whispered Joel Lumpkins, who asked that his comment is printed anonymously, but obviously that request was ignored.
Walter Snipes and Walton Hunter both agree that the Breakfast Club is more than just eating breakfast with a casual friend. It is more like a weekly get together with your brothers because their bonds are like family.
“Over the years, a few of our members have gone home to be with the Lord such as, Herbert Burrows, Nathaniel Phillips, and Milton Roseburr, but we still cherish their memory and the years of laughter we shared over breakfasts ,” Willy Gun lovingly reflected.
“We keep coming because we enjoy being around each other, and we treasure our shared histories. This is something precious, and we know true friendships are rare,” said Nathaniel Sanders, a retired educator.
Research supports the premise that friendship is essential to good health and increases longevity. According to the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, the more friends we have, the less likely we are to become ill as we age. But in this age of social media communications, true friendships are becoming harder to establish, and are defined by the number of tweets and likes we receive over the internet. It is refreshing to see friends actually communicating in person and maintaining personal contact.
A lot of people go through life with only a few friends. Sadly, some people claim to have no one they really consider a true friend.
Unlike any other creature in God’s creation, human beings were meant to be in relationship to God and to each other. We all need someone to call and to share in good times and in difficult times. We need someone with whom to bounce ideas around, to debate the vicissitudes of life, or to talk about deep and troubling subjects. We need someone to encourage us and someone to extend our love and support to, as well. We can’t all be privileged to be a part of a splendiferous group like the Breakfast Club, but we can develop and foster genuine friendships. Just like the Breakfast Club, there is no special criteria necessary to cultivate meaningful and lasting friendships. To gain a friend, you must simply value friendship and connect with someone who also values friendship.
The Breakfast Club members include: Moses Ball, Benny Brown, William “Bill” Cain, Jennings Coleman, Roschell Franklin, Jr., Thadis Green, Emmitt Greene, Willy Gunn, William Harris, Jr., Walton Hunter, Clarence “CJ” Jackson, Jr., Henry Lumpkins, III., Joel Lumpkins, Charles McCoy, Blanton Mitchell, George Morgan, Nathaniel Phillips, Herman Pittman, Wilbert Rayner, Nathaniel Sanders, Frank V. Smith, Walter Snipes, Willie Turner, and McKinley Williams.