ROMEOS convene each morning

Published 3:37 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

If you’ve visited McDonald’s on any weekday morning, you have, no doubt noticed a large table of 12-15 men laughing at a joke or heatedly discussing a local political issue.

They are the Montevallo Romeo (Retired Old Men Eating Out) Club.

The fellows get together every morning for coffee, a biscuit or an Egg McMuffin, and to catch up on the news.

Their discussions are not always peaceful, but never really angry and always fun.

No one seems to know when the club was formed, but memories go back as far as the early days of Hardee’s 10-15 years ago.

The location and the makeup of the Romeos have changed during those years.

There are currently retired farmers, university professors, city and county government officials, attorneys, businessmen and those who have served in the military.

“McDonald’s has been good to us,” said Don Hughes who is a retired county utilities manager. “They installed this nice long table when they remodeled and they gave us special cups for free coffee.”

When asked why he goes to the gatherings, he said, “We’re a montage of personalities and we have great fun. When you’re retired, you don’t want to sit at home all the time, you need to get out and meet with the guys.”

A retired mayor of Alabaster, Roger Wheeler, said, “I go because I learn a lot of things. I hear everything from wild stories to pertinent news. I’ve thought of taking a recorder; I could probably sell CDs.”

Herschel Hale, retired Alabama Power employee, was a bit more serious.

“I enjoy that group of guys. It’s a mix of personalities, but we blend well. There’s a lot of knowledge there, too; fellows with diverse backgrounds of professions, education and experience. It’s amazing that whatever subject or question is brought up, there’s someone there with the answer.”

In addition to Wheeler, Hale and Hughes, some of the regular Romeos are Jimmie Harris, Bill Jones, Jimmy Bice, Charlie Daviston, Steve Sears, John Walters and Mel Eady. Others are Jim Beal, Bill Pendleton, Gordon Fancher, Nolan Hardin, Jim Edwards, Peter Ladewig, Ray Mayfield, H. G. McGaughy and Joe Cardone.

Membership in the Romeo Club is open, but requirements seem to be you must be retired, possess knowledge of something, have interest in local and world news, and above all, possess a good sense of humor.

Catherine Legg can be reached at