It’s the second Tuesday of the month and Group VII is again targeting a local pub for their alternate week social get-to-gather. By 4:40 everyone has arrived and ordered some refreshment and the conversation is beginning to focus on the Sunday game, the status of the election, the recent registration, the recent storm or any number of other essential topics. The mood is easy and warm with some good-nature jabs, and a clear sense of the affection we feel for each other. Attendance changes at these gatherings but generally six to eight of the 10 group members show up and it seems like everyone makes an effort to set this time aside for getting together. The social gatherings seldom last longer than the regular groups on the first and third Tuesday of the month and by 6:30 everyone has bid farewell and is gone.
The pattern of regular group meetings with discussions that typically focus on values, issues or immediate concerns of the group or a group member, juxtaposed with weekly social gatherings, has provided our group with a way to stay focused on our original “charter” while including an opportunity for the free form banter and easy conversation that seems to accompany close friendships. We very seldom need to refocus during regular group meetings and our social encounters have fostered the topic of the next regular group on more than one occasion.