Every morning-- it's a routine-- a group of men get together at Soup-N'-Greens in Barre. They've been coming here for so long that they have a nickname, the Breakfast Club. There is no leader, but one man stands out-- Ernie Boisvert.
"Oh, we want to get all the gossip," Ernie said.
"We're never without a radio," said Paul MacDuff of Barre.
On this day, they even have an overflow crowd.
The men's club is well-established; there's a photo of them hanging on the wall.
"I don't want to be rich; I like you guys," Ernie said. "I'm happy with my life. I like my work and I like the people."
For Ernie, this is just the start of the day.
"I'm going up to the shop!" he said.
The shop is Boisvert Shoe Repair, a mainstay in Barre for 64 years, one of the oldest in town.
"Oh! Look at the work there!" Ernie said.
The business is bursting at the seams. There are shoes everywhere.
"I enjoy working with him every day. It's like working with my father," said Gyen Lacounth, a co-worker.
Five workers sew, stitch and seal the shoes.
Reporter Joe Carroll: How many soles have you saved?
Ernie Boisvert: A lot of soles and I've heeled a lot of people, too!
Ernie has been working with his son, Karl, for years.
"You will hear him singing out there occasionally," Karl noted. "He says a prayer before he comes in so he can help everybody."
Ernie has needed a prayer, too. His son, Gary, died of cancer when he was only in his 30s. And about eight years ago, he lost his wife.
"I had a good marriage, really good, a beautiful wife... good wife," Ernie said.
He was married to Betty for more than 50 years. They both worked in the shop. Karl says the loss made his father depressed, he became less social, but he says God gave Ernie the energy to push on.
"It's just a period he went through and he decided to pull out of it and enjoy life," Karl said.
Now, at 85, Ernie is back to his normal self, a man who loves three things: fishing, working and dancing.
"I'm no Fred Astaire, but I do all right!" he said.
Every weekend you'll see Ernie kicking up his heels at the American Legion. He's a man who has his family, friends and work to thank for helping to keep him humming along through life.
Ernie says some of the women at the Legion call him "pops" because he so much older than them. But he says he still dances the night away.
PO Box 4508