My first glass of that famous Melear’s iced tea was 44 years ago, when I moved to Fayetteville. I have lost count on how many I’ve had since then.
The number of meals I’ve enjoyed in the adjoining meeting room also number in the hundreds. I have listened to famous people speak in that room, and I’ve had the honor of speaking to quite a few myself there.
The Fayette County Kiwanis is nearly 60 years old and most of their meetings were held on that very site.
One of the most amusing remembrances involved a meat cleaver. Kenny has had a loyal kitchen staff for decades and you did not say anything bad about how your morning eggs were cooked, or the thickness of the biscuits. Some of the staff came in around 5 a.m. and put the big coffee pot on. One morning one of the sheriff’s deputies made an uncomplimentary comment on his breakfast. Kenny simply repeated the comment to the cooks and one of them came bolting out of the kitchen, meat cleaver waving in the wind. We all laughed so hard our sides hurt.
Back in the 1970’s I was a volunteer EMT on the night shift. I had to work at paying jobs during the day to feed my two children. If we came back from a hospital around 5 a.m. and it was an especially chilly time of year, we knew we could pull into Melear’s and get a hot cup of coffee.
Kenny for many years looked after those who worked in election stations. They knew about 7 a.m. he would show up at each one with warm biscuits and pots of coffee. This continued until we had so many election stations that nice act was not possible any more.
The county firemen, winter or summer, always knew that after they put out a particularly troublesome fire, Kenny would show up with soft drinks or coffee. This would include his getting out of bed in the middle of the night, if necessary.
Every hometown restaurant like Melear’s had a “good ol’ boys table” early in the morning. Now, I’ve accomplished several noteworthy things in my time here. Things one would think ones children would be proud to repeat to friends. The one that seemed to make my son the most proud, was the fact that I was the only female allowed at the “good ol’ boys table” at Melear’s!
Like all of us, Kenny has had his ups and downs, but we love him and his acts of kindness, along with the warm memories in that restaurant. I know you’re probably going to drive your wife crazy Kenny, now that you have no place to go during the day, but you have given hundreds of people thousands of warm memories.