Forever Friends Dinner Bridge Group Permanent Book Fund

The Forever Friends Dinner Bridge Group Permanent Book Fund was created in July 2013, but the Fund’s namesake formed in 1983 when a group of longtime friends organized a monthly gathering for food, bridge, fun, and “lots of wine.”  Five of the six couples have joined to create the Fund, with each couple contributing $100 per year for five years.  Donors to the Fund are:  Tom and Kathleen Kearney, Dora and Sam Cornman, Dick and Maureen Shannon, Joe and Sandy Whitley, and Bill and Ardith Pulford.  “None of us felt like we could [create a Book Fund] on our own,” said Dora, “But together, we could.”

I sat down recently with five of the ten contributing members of the Book Fund.  The Bridge Group meets monthly, rotating among the six couples’ houses.  Hosts supply the main dish, and the others are assigned meal responsibilities, with “bread and wine” being the most important.  Dora says that they rarely miss a month, despite several of the couples’ new status as snowbirds.  “Dinner is emphasized and socializing is important,” she says.  The Group used to “go to midnight” but now they start earlier and are home by 10:30 pm.

The Cornmans and Kearneys were next-door neighbors and close friends in Houston, Texas in the 1970s.  Kathleen’s brother moved to Montrose in 1978 and loved it, and Tom and Kathleen followed in 1980.  Tom had worked for Fluor Corporation in Houston, and landed a job as a civil engineer with Del-Mont Consultants, which he eventually bought.

In 1982, Sam and Dora Cornman decided to take the Montrose plunge.  Sam had retired from his job at the railroad, and with no retail experience, they decided they’d open a bookstore.  Alas, there already was one in town.  However, the Hallmark store was for sale, and the Cornmans bought it and ran it for 25 years.  Both the Cornmans and the Kearneys talk about how tough it was to make it in Montrose in the 1980s, especially while raising families.

Sandy and Joe Whitley, fresh out of college in Hays, Kansas, moved to Montrose in 1967 after Joe got a job as a certified public accountant.  They raised a family, and in 1990 purchased Best Manufacturing, which produces signs.  They sold the business and retired in 2003.   Now, they spend three months each year on the beach in Hawaii.  When I asked Sandy what she liked to read, she said, “It depends on my mood.  I go through spells where I can’t get enough Civil War books.  And sometimes I just want to read trash and escape.”  Joe is an avid reader and one of the Friends of the Library’s best customers at used book sales.

Bill and Ardith Pulford are the newest members of the Bridge Group.  They moved to Montrose in 2006 from Grand Junction.  Prior to that, Bill’s job as a program evaluation leader and district manager with the US Bureau of Land Management landed them in Steamboat Springs, Denver, and Washington, D.C.  They thought that Grand Junction would be their final stop, but Montrose lured them away.  “It felt good,” says Ardith.  “We love being here, and we have never had such a good library experience as we have at the Montrose Library.”  The Pulfords also head south in the winter to the Deep Canyon Tennis Club in Palm Desert, California, where they play tennis and pickle ball (a racquet sport which combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis).  Bill loves books and just finished rereading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.  He enthusiastically endorses A History of Thought and Invention: From Fire to Freud by Peter Watson.

Dora told me that she is too busy to read, but that she “has a bajillion cookbooks.”  She likes to read about food and wine and had just finished Terroir by James E. Wilson.  Sam, who speaks three other languages, is into historical novels.  They also enjoy audiobooks while they travel. Both are active in the Friends of the Library.  Dora has been president for several years, and Sam is an indispensable book mover.  “We always need more help,” said Dora.  “Especially people with strong backs.”

“I encourage other groups to get together and create a Book Fund,” said Ardith.  “Everyone should support this great library.”