I have spoken that phrase over the phone more than just a couple of times over the last few years. It will usually be Kim that answers the phone. Kim will listen to me place my order and say the following. “I got it. I’ll put it in and send it to Jo Nell’s table.” The coolest thing is that I don’t even have to mention my name. She knows. Oh, the joy of living in a small town. Anyway, enough of that. Let me tell you more about this place known as Jo Nell’s table.
One of the most wonderful women in the world has breakfast at the Cadiz Restaurant every Monday through Friday morning year round. She is as dependable as the morning sunrise. This lady is a permanent fixture at the restaurant. She is as much a part of the atmosphere at the Cadiz Restaurant as the thick layer of smoke that permeates the coffee shop air at the front of the building. The lady I speak of is Mrs. Jo Nell Kyler. I will call her Jo Nell for the rest of the column. I know that is what she would prefer.
Jo Nell started coming to the Cadiz Restaurant for breakfast some 38 years ago. Her kids had grown up, so that left just her and husband David at the house. David began his own tradition years ago at the Cadiz Restaurant, as well. His routine would be to get up with the chickens and get to the restaurant for the 5 a.m. breakfast. Then, it was off to oversee the running of his bridge company. Jo Nell developed the habit of eating around 7 in the morning. The Cadiz Restaurant, like any other building that has been around for a while, has seen some design changes. For the last several years, there has been a round table that seats six in the middle section of the building. That has come to be known as Jo Nell’s table. The last several years, I have been privileged to be a semi-regular at Jo Nell’s table. Let me share some of my experiences at the table with you.
It all starts with Jo Nell. She is the mainstay. There is one seat that no one sits in but her. If we arrive before her, we reserve that one for her. Over my years at the table, the regulars have been folks such as Dale Henderson, Don Pool, Meg Davis, David Fourqurean and Pam Meador. Quite often, Sam and Lynn Cofield might be present. Occasionally, their son Grady might even be there, as well. Every now and then, Cadiz Baptist youth minister Jason Strickland will make an appearance. Don says that Jason’s presence serves as a swift reminder to keep all of his verbage clean. For a while, we had a guy eating with us that was new to the community. He came from Panama City, Fa. Therefore, he became known as Panama for a while. Oh yeah, I must mention that Jo Nell’s husband David has shifted back to eat with the group more often now.
There is definitely a diverse group of people when everyone is present at Jo Nell’s table. Nearly every branch of political persuasion is represented. There are Democrats, Republicans, Independents and maybe even a Libertarian. Believe me, no one there is afraid to share their opinion, and everyone has one.
When everyone is in attendance, there is a diverse collection of vocations represented. You have a farmer, teacher, extension agent, insurance agency manager, lawyer, veterinarian, minister, former executive at Florida Light and Power, college student, legal secretary and more.
At Jo Nell’s table, the talk can range over a wide variety of topics. Those topics include politics, sports, farming, local community issues and whatever is the story of the moment. One man said, “Thousands of acres have been raised right there at that table.”
The thing is this. When you are at Jo Nell’s table it is like when you are with family. She is the key. Jo Nell makes everyone feel comfortable and at home. Over the years, she has welcomed many people to this community while enjoying her breakfast of oatmeal at the Cadiz Restaurant. In reality, Jo Nell is in her own way a quiet classy ambassador for Trigg County. Another unique thing about Jo Nell is how she relates to folks across the age spectrum. Ask my son Zack, who is in pharmacy school in Lexington. When he comes home, he always tries to get to the restaurant at least once to eat with Mrs. Jo Nell.
Maybe Jimmy Hart said it best. Jimmy said, “There was about a six-year time frame when I was selling cars that I often had breakfast with Mrs. Jo Nell. She’s the best. It is like she is everybody’s mama.”
Come to think of it, how about this? If you are ever in the Cadiz Restaurant at about 7 a.m. and see a group of folks sharing some discussion and laughter at a round table, that would be Mrs. Jo Nell and the crew. Come join us. It is not a closed society. As a matter of fact, we could probably use a new opinion or two. I’m sure Jo Nell would make you feel welcome.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.