Last night I met for the last time with the Guys Book Club, a group I started back in October 2011. Several months ago, when I decided to retire, I knew this would be the toughest group to say goodbye to, and it was.
The story of how the group got started, its ups and downs, how it kept going and more can be found in Men Don't Read: The Unlikely Story of the Guys Book Club, so I won't relate the story here. A lot has happened in 12+ years. We've read and discussed 140 books, not all of which we've agreed on, but have had a great time together, even through the challenges of meeting online during the pandemic.
During the lockdown, since libraries were closed, we read easily-accessible classics
until the library reopened.
Paul Stillwell, author of several books on U.S. naval history, was with me for the very first meeting in 2011 and was there for my last meeting as well (and most of them in-between). Paul also led the group on a few occasions.
My final book to discuss with the group, our 140th discussion
Words can't express how much this group has meant to me. When I started the group, I had no idea how many men in our area enjoyed reading and would be willing to discuss the books they'd read. I was astounded at how many there actually were, how many showed up, and, more importantly, the sense of community that sprang up over the years. These guys sometimes disagree over books, but they are always civil and respectful of other opinions. You just don't see that very much these days. It has been an honor to lead these men.
To the Guys, thank you all for a wonderful 12 years. I hope to see you again someday. And the group will continue under the leadership of two of the group's members. I am so glad that it will keep going. And who knows? You may see me sneak into a meeting someday. In the meantime, keep reading, keep discussing, keep building community. My very best to you.