Incline ‘legends’ call coffee shop home

Gary+Prosenko+%28left%29%2C+Ron+Pizer%2C+Jeff+Forsyth%2C+Steve+Pulver+and+Allan+Slocum+are+the+first+to+arrive+for+their+morning+cup+of+coffee+at+Drink+Coffee+Do+Stuff+in+Incline+Village.+

Kayla Heidenreich

Gary Prosenko (left), Ron Pizer, Jeff Forsyth, Steve Pulver and Allan Slocum are the first to arrive for their morning cup of coffee at Drink Coffee Do Stuff in Incline Village.

Kayla Heidenreich, Editor

Around 9 a.m. the men start arriving. They walk past the line of tired, thirsty Incline Villagers, give the barista a small head nod, quickly grab their coffee, which was placed ahead of the others, and head to the back parking lot of Drink Coffee Do Stuff. These are the real locals of Incline Village.

“W.C. Fields is a comedian from way back and he used to have a saying, ‘I’m not so sure I want to be a part of a group that would accept me,’” said village resident Jeff Forsyth. The self-professed ski bum says he believes that the sixth time is the charm, at least when it comes to marriage.

Seven days out a week, every morning, this group of more than two dozen local men all sit in the parking lot in a circle for hours. They have been meeting for more than 19 years, and over that time, the group has gained numerous new members and said goodbye to others.

“I’ve been here for 17 years, and we’ve been having coffee for 17 years,” Forsyth said. “Sometimes people move away, some come back, some have been here for 19 years, but we’ve also had some people die. We talk about those guys; legends we call them. We still keep their memories alive.”

With the recent passing of one of the many important members, Dennis Duane, the men banned together like a well-oiled machine to put together a funeral for him. The coffee klatch went all out with a proper send-off – complete with a flyover – in celebration of Duane’s friendship and comradery.

“We had a heck of a memorial for Denny. AJ Banford arranged for the Fallon Soldiers to come out and play taps and do the flag presentation,” Forsyth said. “I arranged for bagpipes to be there and the girls arranged for two planes to fly over the church while the bagpiper played.”

Like AJ Banford, Dennis was a true All-American war hero.

“That’s what’s neat about this group,” Banford said. “We all have had so much in common our whole lives, but we all met here.”

On a carrier deck the color of a person’s shirt is very important. Blue shirts are the guys who push when the whistle is blown, red shirts are the ammunition guys, and green is the fuel guys. Everyone is color-coded for organization.

“The boss always wore yellow,” Banford said. “One thing I don’t think all the other guys picked up on was that Denny always wore yellow when he led these guys’ bike trips. It was subtle but it was him was saying, ‘I’m the boss.’”

Every Monday the guys get together to go ride. They pride themselves on how active they are – several of the members are well into their 70s and 80s.. Dennis recently led the guys on a bike trip that Ron Pizer refers to as “the elder-abuse trail.”

“Out of the 10 of us who started the trail, only four of us finished. We were dropping people as we went,” Ron Pizer, the baby of the group, said. “For the average age of the group, these guys are kicking it. I used to think the old folk age starts happening around 60, but these guys are giving me inspiration.”

Pizer is known to these guys as one of the most generous people any of them have met. He worked with video imaging during his career and now appreciates collecting and building antique sports cars.

“It’s a pretty diverse group you know,” Pizer said. “You got AJ the war hero, Jim Lyon dealt with all the nuclear stuff in the military, we have Steve Pulver the chemist, Bob the reiki master, Jeff Nash who formed a company that put satellites up in the air for the internet, and Gary Prosenko, who created the first portable computer. It’s just kind of fun that our past experiences help all of us get a good insight on different things.”

One thing all the guys share is the love for the group comradery.

“I joined the group right when I moved into my house,” Allan Slocum said. “My neighbor was outside working on an old Jaguar E Type so I went over and we started talking and he invited me to this coffee group. That was Ron Pizer.

Slocum rides his Onewheel electric skateboard to Drink Coffee Do Stuff most days. He enjoys anything and everything outdoors and has a fully camping converted Sprinter van he explores in.

“We avoid talking about three things: politics, each other’s wives, and religion. There’s no life in that,” Slocum said. “We try not to look back. We talk about what we are going to do moving forward. If someone comes in talking about some issue people listen, then they ask ‘Where you going skiing today?’ or ‘Let’s go to Mammoth tomorrow.”

The group welcomes all new members, men or women. They pride themselves in the humility the group possesses. Every Thursday the group meets down at Ski Beach with their partners for a barbecue.

“We are really living our best lives out here in Tahoe, as did Denny as did all of the guys that aren’t with us anymore,” Forsyth said. “That’s what I respect the most out of the group.”