BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many are realizing just how much they miss getting together with friends and loved ones. Meet one group of friends that’s been meeting for over 30 years, the Tuesday Morning Coffee Ladies.
Nothing brings friends together like a cup of coffee and conversation. In fact, it’s what’s been bringing Helen Jacobson and Lu Narum together every Tuesday for the past 30 years.
“I think we’re more like sisters than very, very good friends because our families know each other and so on and so fourth and it’s gone on for a long time,” Helen Jacobson said.
A friendship that’s been brewing for 35 years since they first met as bus drivers for the Brandon School District.
“And we would pick on Lu because she thinks she’s number one,” Jacobson said.
“Of course, I was number one bus driver for 35 years. And she drove 36 or 37 years… I was always number one, of course,” Lu Narum said.
Driving that path led them down many roads. Right now, here at Tailgators Bar & Grill, it takes them down memory lane.
“We went on trips together. Our bus manager said, ‘This is not good. This is not good: you two traveling together,'” Jacobson said.
“We had too much fun,” Narum said.
“Yeah, we had too much fun,” Jacobson said.
But after a long day of driving, they decided to make it a once a week tradition every Tuesday to decompress after the route with a cup of coffee.
“So that the start and it just kind of…. grew from there,” Jacobson said.
Over the following years, more members of the bus driving community came with them. Then some of their friends, and friends of friends, and friends of those until they became the group known as the, ‘Tuesday Morning Coffee Ladies.’
“We used to have about 25 to 30 people,” Narum said.
Each gathering grew more memorable than the last.
“We started celebrating birthdays… and celebrate Christmas, then they would wrap gifts and draw numbers and pass them around so that everybody got kind of a goofy gift or whatever,” Jacobson said.
Nothing could tear these ladies apart, and that included prior commitments.
“We even gave up our doctors appointments or hair appointments to make sure we got to our Tuesday morning appointments to see each other,” Narum said.
That includes when it became hard for older members to leave their homes.
“Some of them went out to Bethany Nursing Home, then we went out to Bethany and started having lunches out there. They had a room for us,” Narum said.
And even tougher when they knew some of those seats wouldn’t be filled again.
“We’ve lost a few of course, but we’re still hanging in there,” Jacobson said.
A couple of those seats have actually been filled by their widows.
“We’ve asked different ones that have lost their husbands or wives to something to come join us… there are some that come dragging their feet but once I think they get here they’ll enjoy us because we’re so much fun,” Narum said.
The only thing that did separate them was the COVID-19 pandemic. They didn’t meet for a few Tuesdays, but as restrictions began to lift so did their spirits as their cups filled once again. While coffee is always good for some quick energy, they say nothing perks them up more than spending time with friends.
“It’s almost therapy for a lot of us too because some of them have their husbands at the nursing home and they can’t visit them… so we vent to each other,” Narum said.
Cups of coffee may come and go, but this friendship is lifelong.
“We’re still very very close, and we still joke back and fourth, but we still keep in touch. She comes and checks on me more,” Norum said.
“We’re there for each other and we know that. Our kids know that too. They call her ‘Grandma Lu,'” Jacobson said.
“And Momma Lu too,” Norum said.
“Momma Lu.,” Jacobson chuckles.
KELOLAND’s Max Hofer: “That’s awesome.”
“It is,” Jacobson said.
“And I enjoy that,” Norum said.
The Coffee Ladies can be found at just about any restaurant in Brandon South Dakota. They’re always open to new members.