Arlington’s ROMEOs know what and wherefore

ARLINGTON — Call them the ROMEOs. Retired Old Men Eating Out, that is.

A group of about 25 older gentlemen who live in the Glen Eagle development of Arlington meet at 10 a.m. each Wednesday at their country club to expand their minds, sip coffee, share a meal and offer encouragement to each other.

“We’re not just bunch of old fogeys sitting around shooting the bull,” member Don Williamson said. “We keep tabs on each other and have a meaningful weekly program that we all look forward to.”

The men range in age primarily from mid-60s to late 80s. They are retired businessmen, teachers, Boeing engineers and scientists, and generally are just a bunch of guys with a variety of interests. For example, Williamson, one of the ROMEO program coordinators, recently offered a wine tasting for the group.

This week, the group heard an hour-long presentation from Bill Blake, the city of Arlington’s natural resource and stormwater wetlands manager. Blake offered a rundown on all of the city’s current activities, including road work, economic development and the construction of campsites by Boy Scouts at the new Country Charm park on the north end of town. As he spoke, his audience casually asked questions.

“We like having Bill come in,” Williamson said. “He grew up in Arlington and he can put a lot of things into context for us.”

Previous programs have included visits by members of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office*. In June, history buff Frank Barden presented a program on mysterious crop circles in England. Mayor Barbara Tolbert talked about her first six months in office. Retired physicist Heinz Lyklama offered a presentation about stem cells and cloning. Carson Tavenner, 43, the group’s youngest member and a recently retired Air Force officer, talked about China-U.S. relations.

The ROMEOs also are in charge of the night security patrol through their neighborhood and a handful of them volunteer throughout the school year at nearby Pioneer Elementary School to help students with their math and reading projects.

“We like to keep busy,” Williamson said.

* Correction, July 2, 2012: Two members of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, but not Sheriff John Lovick, have been guests at the weekly meeting of the Retired Old Men Eating Out club at Glen Eagle Country Club in Arlington. This story previously gave incorrect information about the speakers.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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