Clovis coffee clubs cultivate camaraderie

Don McAlavy

Coffee anyone? Here in Clovis you can figure at least 16 coffee clubs are serving up hot coffee every weekday morning.
Most of the participants are retired, but a lot of them are still working and make it a habit to sit with friends and discuss the weather, politics, women — or men — and the latest news.
At my club, we hardly ever talk about the work we used to do, but what we plan on doing soon — like a trip in a motor home, maybe to Laughlin, Nev., or taking your sweetheart (I mean wife) on a cruise through the Caribbean.
The first coffee clubs in Clovis started at the small cafes up and down Main Street. One of the more popular was the coffee shop in Hotel Clovis.
I used to see railroaders who would gather at Bob’s Cafe on First and Main or at the Busy Bee Cafe at Second and Main. A lot of cattlemen would gather in the early morning at the R&F Cafe in the stockyards.
A popular coffee bunch used to meet at the old Silver Grill, at Sixth and Pile. The crowd included Ben Davidson, Lee Hammond and George Sasser.
The Silver Grill had a tea for women every Saturday morning, started by Odis “Pop” Echols and broadcast over his KCLV radio station.
I have visited several of Clovis’ coffee clubs and I can say the biggest one is at Daylight Donuts (the owner is Matt Acker). He doesn’t call it a club. Five to seven different groups of men come in from 5:30 a.m. to around 11 a.m. One group consists of retired teachers. Another is made up of medical professionals. The action there has been going on for 18 years every morning.
Other morning coffee drinkers can be found at McDonald’s on Mitchell Street (also at McDonald’s out on Mabry Drive where most are retired railroaders.)
I used to sit in with old-timer coffee drinkers such as Nelson Worley, Paul Williams and Jimmy New at Kripple Creek. Old-timer coffee sippers can be seen at 7 a.m. at tables in the fast-food section at the back end of Wal-Mart (and they bring their own cups).
Other early coffee drinkers go to Sundance Restaurant, Eddie’s Subs & More, Bill’s Jumbo Burger, Cook’s Restaurant, Dave’s Coffee Shop, Foxy Drive In, the new Java Loft, Mom’s Home Cooking, Roden Smith Village’s Gift Shop, the new Town & Country out on Mabry Drive and at the new Hastings Entertainment Center.
I show up at least three times a week at 8 a.m. at what I call the best coffee bunch in town, a designated room at Muffley’s Funeral Home. Inside an hour you know immediately what is happening in Clovis. There are business men there, retired and working ones, who can chat with a city commissioner and other dignitary drops-ins such as the city manager and the assistant city manager. One of the board of directors at Clovis Community College is a regular member. We also have the real Santa Claus. (He parks his reindeer and sleigh out back.)
This group was started in the coffee room of KCLV radio station by the late Patrick Davidson in the early 1980s. The crowd got too large and Russell Muffley had the boys come to his establishment.
Today we gather in a room that’s big enough to have Christmas parties with our wives. Now that is a lot of fun, but you have to be careful with women, or maybe they have to be careful with us — we just don’t talk the same language.
Coffee at our club has always been free. You’ll find that most places charge for the coffee and the donuts and goodies you might eat, as might be expected. But the camaraderie is worth it.
You know what I like best about coffee clubs? No dues, no bosses or government edicts to put up with.

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: donmcalavy@plateautel.net