Positive Connections: Wichita grandmas find new way to socialize during pandemic

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Coffee and conversation; they’re two things some Wichita grandmas told KSN they cannot live without.

“Nothing is going to stop us. We have to see each other and visit,” said Lucrecia Smith.

Smith and long-time friends Shirley King and Deana Chapman met about 10 years ago at a Wichita McDonalds.

“We didn’t have to sit in there very long until you knew everybody. Same people most of the time, same people came every morning,” said Chapman.

As the years went on, the ladies’ friendship grew as did their daily breakfast tradition.

“If you are here, you are here. You don’t stay away because you don’t know what they might be saying about you when you are at home,” laughed King.

When the pandemic hit, their beloved McDonalds closed its dining room. It forced the coffee-loving ladies to adjust.

“We decided, well, we will just get out here, park and talk it over and figure it out,” Smith explained.

Figure it out? That meant setting up their own dining area outside the restaurant.

“We wave at everybody,” laughed Smith.

Spaced six-feet-apart the women lounge in their lawn chairs, sip their coffee, and chat.

“We have people that stop that say, ‘oh, it looks like you are having fun. We ought to do it.’ We invite them, but so far no one has been brave enough,” King said.

For Chapman, the daily outing is extra special.

“It’s the only social life I have because my husband is diabetic and he is extra careful and so we don’t go anywhere. We don’t eat out. We used to eat out a lot. We haven’t ate in a restaurant since February,” she explained. “I just think it’s wonderful that we can get together. If we didn’t have this, I think it would be really hard on our mental capacities because older people still need to stay social even if we have to be safe about it.”

KSN asked the women if they plan to meet during the winter when Kansas weather is not so friendly.

“We are talking about it, but we haven’t decided what we are going to do. We might get a tent,” Smith laughed.

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