Solving the World’s Problems before 7 A.M.

My father would often say that he solved the world’s problems before 7 a.m. each weekday.  However, he didn’t do it alone.  An early riser, he would get up at 5 a.m., go exercise, and then afterward, meet a group of local men for breakfast at Brown’s Snappy Service in my hometown.  It was there that he solved the world’s problems.  They probably solved all the local problems as well.










Soon after moving to Massachusetts I found the equivalent to Brown’s Snappy Service in my neighborhood.  It is the Depot Diner.  If you want to see the world’s problems being solved, just show up any weekday morning.  On Thursdays my neighbor is there with retired teacher-friends working through the issues.  On Wednesdays a group of faculty men from my college are mediating the world’s conflicts (and probably institutional ones as well).  I now have a regularly scheduled session every other Friday.

Depot Diner







When I lived in Grand Rapids, my young daughters kept me from solving the world’s problems before 7 a.m.  I did get in the pattern of doing it after church with my mother, my younger daughter, and older members of my congregation at the equivalent location–New Beginnings.  As was typical of Dutch Calvinists, many theological problems and doctrines were solved at the same time.  A friend told me that this is the place that she practiced spelling with her daughter every week–I would guess it was Friday, very early, because Friday seems to be the day for spelling tests across the world.

New Beginnings






My daughter and I were trying to think about whether there was a cafe in Pella, Iowa where we lived.  We struggled to think of one.  She cynically said that no one went out because it was so family oriented that everyone had breakfast at home together.  After much thought I recalled that there was the Central Park Cafe.  I can’t remember going there.

Central Park CafeThe world is better off for having this on-going problem-solving process.  Solving the world’s problems is like the movie Ground Hog Day. It has to be done over and over again, in the many small cafe’s around the world.  However, I do believe that the world would be better off if we did not have spelling tests each Friday morning.

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