7:40 a.m.: 
The ladies of the Early Morning Walking and Talking Club toast a member absent because of knee surgery. Two of the women sport pink shirts printed with “R2K,” for “Rita’s two Knees” in support of their friend.

Monday through Friday at 5:30 a.m., year-round, longtime friends from Fair Haven, Rumson, Shrewsbury and Little Silver meet at the Church of the Nativity to begin their four-mile walk, which always ends at a picnic table in front of Gourmet Picnic in Fair Haven with a celebratory coffee over gossip.

The group’s routine is so well-established that “we can tell what time is it by the people walking by,” said Betsy Koch, of Fair Haven.

Some members have been part of the ritual for 21 years. It began as the perfect time to get away, with their husbands at home and their kids in bed, but now it’s just an easy way to stay close with good friends in the midst of hectic schedules, they said.

“One of our greatest wishes is that our kids will have this some day,” said Karen Geltziler of Fair Haven. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

Today, redbankgreen engages in a bit of Sol Searching as we chase the sun across the Green on the longest – thanks to the Summer Solstice – and, by coincidence, so-far-hottest day of the year. Please check in regularly to see where we’ve been. Suggestions? Send ’em here, please.