Lifelong Friendships Increase Longevity

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EUGENE, Ore. — A cup of coffee and conversation can add years to your life.

That’s what a group of men called the River Road Rats have found out while pursuing lifelong friendships.

When Robert Stott drinks his daily cup of decaf, he’s not sipping alone.

Just about every day he makes his way to the Burger King on River Road to meet his coffee buddies. They share laughs, lots of laughs. They call themselves the River Road Rats.

“We are just a bunch of River Road guys who got together in the 60s to have coffee in the morning,” said Clark Hollis.

Most of them are locals. Some even attended Eugene High School together.

On this day, 11 show up representing almost 900 years of experiences.

“Well, we are a self-appointed committee to solve the world’s problem and we do a good job, but nobody will listen,” said Paul Hunter.

They really are problem solvers. Take this lantern for instance that belonged to Gaynor Huck’s father.

“He worked at Southern Pacific Rail Road for 34 years and we are trying to find out why it doesn’t work. So I was talking Paul Hunter who can fix anything and he says he doesn’t know how it works,” said Gaynor Huck.

There’s a saying that laughter is medicine. So is friendship.

The Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging looked at nearly 1,500 seniors over the age of 70 for a full decade. Among the findings, having good friends is more likely to increase longevity than even close relationships with adult children or other family members. Researchers have found that even one close friend that you can confide in can extend your life by as much as 10 years.

The study also found friends add to the quality of those extra years by helping us improve brain function.

The River Road Rats invented their own game that’s also keeping their brains sharp. It’s called pill box, which they play every morning. Everyone puts a quarter into the pot. Then they shake the pill box and pick a number. The winning number is always number 8.

Keith Proudfit is the lucky winner this time. He’s claims the money. Win twice in a row and you’ll have to bring donuts.

Another rule to this club: If a River Road Rat is in the newspaper or on TV, he’ll have to buy donuts.

Here’s to coffee and lots of donuts.

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