By Betsy Thorpe
Dozens of travelers leave Interstate 40 at Exit 196 everyday, some to visit friends and family, others for fuel, refreshment or lodging. They all have a story to tell and we are here to share a tale or two that we heard at Exit 196.
Last fall on November 24, two days before Thanksgiving, Jimmy Johnson and Woodrow Luttrell, both of Bellevue were enjoying their evening “supper snack” at a local restaurant located near Exit 196 when, as was his custom, Mr. Johnson struck up a conversation with a family seated nearby. The family, consisting of a mother and three young children, were from Dickson and they happily conversed with Mr. Johnson throughout their meal time. Johnson , designated “Friendly Jimmy Johnson” by his friend, 93 year old Lutrell , is an outgoing fellow who is admired around Exit 196 for his congenial ways, and according to Lutrell, strikes up conversations with strangers where ever they dine because Johnson believes “people, especially children, like attention, and most people eating at these places usually enjoy conversation,” however, the two men were very surprised to learn how much the family from Dickson enjoyed their conversation with Mr. Johnson. After the family left the restaurant Johnson and Lutrell were “floored” to learn that both their meals had been quietly taken care of by the woman from Dickson.
Lutrell said that after the two friends each lost their spouses in 2004 they ” began chumming together a great deal and often travel to various Bellevue fast food places to eat what we call “supper snacks”.
On February 1st a celebration in honor of Jimmy Johnson’s 90th birthday was held during lunch at Bellevue’s Lakeshore Estates. In attendance were many residents of Lake Shore Estates including Mr. Johnson’s good friend Mr.Woodrow Luttrell. Special guests included Jimmy Johnson’s daughter Jo Ann Brooks and her husband Charlie, both of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and their daughter, Costa Morgan, of Franklin, Tennessee. Also present was Mr. Johnson’s friend Dorene DuCharme who served cake and ice cream to the celebrants.
We want to wish Mr. “Friendly” Jimmy Johnson a very happy birthday and we hope he will continue to share “supper snack” conversation with all the local families and individuals that are fortunate to make his acquaintance at Exit 196.