Friends find ways to continue weekly coffee

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Bernardino Harris, left, speaks to Mary Strom about planting onions Thursday morning. In previous weeks Strom has sat outside Harris’ window, on the chair in snow, to continue their weekly conversations. The warmer weather added to Thursday’s conversation between the two ladies.

GLADSTONE — Mary Strom drives from her home on Minneapolis Avenue to visit her friend, Bernardino “Bernie” Harris, at least once a week for coffee and conversation. As a result of practicing social distancing, Strom and Harris continue to meet face-to-face — looking through a window.

Strom and Harris have known each other 18 years. They met when they were involved with Friends of the Gladstone Library, and hit it off right away. Strom and Harris found they could talk to each other over a cup of coffee about anything, even if they didn’t agree on some issues.

“We would discuss everything,” said Strom. “Sharing thoughts and ideas.”

According to Harris’ son Bernard Harris, his mother has underlying conditions that keep her at home. He was waiting for Strom outside his mother’s home Thursday morning to help the two ladies connect.

“She’s waiting by the phone,” he told Strom.

Strom carried her phone and coffee cup to a lawn chair that was set up facing a window outside Harris’ home. Harris was sitting by the window looking out and answered her phone when Strom called.

“I think it is better to see someone’s face when you talk to them. You can’t see their reaction just talking on the phone,” said Strom.

She is happy to travel to Harris for their morning coffee chats.

“Mom wishes she (Strom) could come inside, but they are following the distancing requirements,” said Harris’ son.

The sun was warm and Harris decided to sit outside on her deck to continue the conversation with Strom, still through the phone. They discussed the day’s events, when to pick up groceries, the coronavirus, gardening, family, and friends.

“Right now is the time to put in the green onions already, as nice as it is,” said Harris.

Strom agreed and discussed where to pick up onion seedlings for planting.

The coronavirus has brought us a new term, “social distancing.” It’s not social distancing Strom and Harris are practicing, but physical distancing while still being social and connected.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)