ADEC client Joe Lehman looks forward to Wednesday mornings when his friends come to play Euchre at Gaining Grounds at the Shoots building in Goshen. Each week, three men trickle in to play a highly competitive game at 10:00.

“If you heard us talk, you’d think we hated each other, and sometimes we do,” Jim Conrad said with a grin. “You win, you win. You lose, you get ticked off.”

And so set the tone for a friendly conversation during the Euchre game. Vern Leatherman dealt the cards while sharing the history of this weekly game.

Joe’s brothers began inviting friends and fellow Euchre players to join them in Wednesday morning games in 2008, shortly after ADEC began operating its day program at the Shoots. When Gaining Grounds opened, it made the spot even better for a good card game.

“I’m not supposed to drink coffee,” Vern Miller confessed sheepishly as he sipped fresh roasted coffee.

Joe’s brothers spend their winters in Florida so they recruit substitutes to keep the game going while they are away. This match includes Goshen residents Jim Conrad, Vern Leatherman, Vern Miller and, of course, Joe Lehman.

“It’s a fun game, very funny,” Joe shares. Joe came to ADEC nearly 10 years ago from MDC Goldenrod. He resides in Village Men’s Group Home and attends day services at the Shoots.

Joe is in fragile health, so he can’t always make it out when the weather is bad. “When the weather is bad, we go up to Bristol and play there,” Jim explains. “When the temperature is below 10 degrees, we don’t bring him out, we go out there.”

The game continues quickly as the men give each other a hard time. Joe and Jim are partners this morning, and Jim says they are going to whip everybody. Calls of “Cheating!” and friendly ribbing fill the air as the cards fly.

Each week, the group plays up to eight hands and heads out the door right around noon. The men sometimes play in Euchre groups four times a week. They spend time playing Greencroft residents throughout the week, and many area Euchre players meet up each week at the Goshen Martin’s for a massive Euchre match on Wednesday nights.

Some weeks, the men have a hard time finding a substitute, so they call in Shoots Team Leader Kelly Wright to pick up the slack.

“They intimidated me at first, but then I got to know them and they’re fun,” Kelly said. “But they are very serious about the game.”

For Joe, it means a lot to count on this weekly Euchre game. His brothers and the men who make the time to come by each week give Joe a strong sense of community and support.