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As Bud Kolstad (right) looked at a framed collection of old photos and newspaper articles, fellow coffee group goer Bob Heskin looked over the gift with him. (Echo Press photo by Amy Chaffins)

Coffee, camaraderie and celebrations

Life Alexandria,Minnesota 56308
Echo Press
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Coffee, camaraderie and celebrations
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549

Like most local coffee groups, one by one, they made their way to the table Wednesday at Traveler’s Inn in Alexandria, talking smart and shooting off a few one-liners.

“Well, there’s good news this morning – Ponder’s rib is hurting him,” Bob Heskin said.

One man advised another on where he should be fishing for walleye this time of year.

Arland Hirman described the group as “a bunch of old codgers who get together.”

The coffee group includes a retired judge, attorney, architect, business owners, educators and a couple, still active, local politicians.

“We limit the politicians to talk for one hour,” John Haaven said.

“Sometimes we get up and walk out,” Heskin added.

“But usually we stop listening after 10 minutes,” Scott Herzog said.

The group has met for morning coffee Monday through Friday for at least 30 years.

But Wednesday morning was different.

As political jabs and the coffee pots were passed around the table, suddenly, all 16 men stood up and started singing, “Happy Birthday to you…”

In rolled one of their longtime coffee pals, Bud Kolstad, who will soon turn 100 years old.

Kolstad, a long-time clothing store owner in downtown Alexandria, was dapper Wednesday morning in his sport jacket, ascot and tie.

He removed his hat and nodded his gratitude, briefly turning a shade of red from all of the attention.

“He’s 100, but he’s sharp,” Herzog said.

Kolstad opened a gift on the table in front of him and revealed a large framed collage of newspaper clippings and photos about himself.

It even included his birth announcement – he was born October 13, 1913 at 4:13 a.m.

As the coffee hour rolled on Wednesday, one attendee said he and his wife were chatting about what a feat it was to live to be 100, “…but then I realized that’s only 14 years older than I am,” he laughed.

Originally, the guys had all planned to wear ties to coffee in honor of Kolstad, who always wears a tie.

Paul Anderson walked in earlier wearing a bright green polo shirt and a goofy red Christmas tie.

“Hey,” he said, “I thought we were supposed to wear ties today.”

The guys laughed.

“Uh oh, he didn’t get the memo,” Herzog said with a grin.

“Did you bring a tie?” one guy asked another.

“No, I don’t even own a tie anymore,” the other laughed.

Amy Chaffins
Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.
(320) 763-3133