At 81, Wes Ridgely is keeping the coffee ready

 

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Every weekday morning, Wes Ridgely is on the road early, heading to a job he loves, making coffee at Royal Farms in Hebron.

At 81, he’s retired from the plastering business but he’s not the sort to sit idly at home.

“I like to get out and move. I have a good time. I keep telling my wife I am just blessed to be able to do the things I do,” Ridgely said.

“I enjoy it at Royal Farms, I really do. I’ve been there seven years. I started on Snow Hill Road and I was there about one and a half years. Then they needed somebody in Hebron,” he said.

An early riser, Ridgely arrives at Royal Farms at 5:45 a.m. Monday to Friday and works until 10, making coffee, keeping the area clean and refilling dispensers.

During the years he’s worked at Royal Farms, known for its coffee, he’s only sipped two cups.

“I get too busy and it gets cold,” he said, laughing. “But it’s a good outfit to work for. They’re very nice to me,” he said.

He gets a little tired now and then, but finds it enjoyable.

“I’m an old time plasterer. I did a lot of historical work at places like the old house at Pemberton Park and the old Wicomico Hotel. There is some beautiful ornamental work in there. I did plastering work from the time I was 18 until I was almost 80, but my wife said, ‘No more.’  My wife, Eileen, she’s my best friend. She didn’t want me doing that anymore. She’s a good gal, though, a good woman,” he said.

Married  61 years, they have two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who, Ridgely said, “are the apple of our eyes.”

He is as well-loved by Royal Farms’ clientele, who make a point of saying good morning to him, even if they have to wait until two or three other customers have chatted with him for a minute.

“You meet some interesting people. I like to talk to people and they are so friendly,” he said, adding he isn’t sure how many pots he’s brewed during the years.

“Oh, my soul, I don’t know. I don’t count. I wash them out and refill them,” he said.

“I’ve been in the Hebron store five and a half years. I very rarely ever miss a day. It keeps me busy,” he said.

“It’s very nice to work there. I have made a lot of friends. So many nice people come in there. I enjoy it.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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