Jason Reynolds, The Murfreesboro Post, December 11, 2018
No one knows quite how long the Walking Eagles breakfast club has been meeting, but all agree it has been 20 years or so. Now, the club that was based at Reeves-Sain is meeting at Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits on Memorial Boulevard.
About nine members of the group met on Tuesday, Dec. 4, Reeves-Sain’s final day of business. Walgreens bought the store from Fred’s Inc. and has closed it.
One member, Paul Scarlett, said the Walking Eagles club is about fellowship.
It is also about memories.
The club’s final day in Reeves-Sain was the normal Monday-Friday gathering of retired members, who are almost always men. However, it was also special as store staff continuously visited the men’s tables to say tearful goodbyes. The men gave them invitations to visit at Bojangles.
Dorris Jernigan and Jim Jacobs said they do not know exactly when the group started as they came in a few years after it started. None of the founding members are alive, they said. Usually, about six men gather daily. The maximum has been 12 at a time, they said. A few women have been in the group in the past.
Visitors have included a slew of political candidates, the group said, including Gov. Bill Haslam(twice), U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, former State Sen. Jim Tracy, Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland and Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.
Rex Fayter is another club member. He started hanging out because his wife, Jennifer, worked at Reeves-Sain, and at one time she was recovering from a wreck and so he drove her to work. He got to know Jacobs while drinking coffee and joined the club.
In addition to having to move with the club to a new location, Fayter experienced another transition last week — he became an American citizen.
He took the oath of allegiance to become a U.S. citizen on Friday. The native of South Ontario, Canada, said he has lived in the United States for 26 years.
“I figured I’d better do it,” he said.
Jennifer is maintaining her British citizenship, Fayter said.
Fayter said that he grew up on a farm in Canada. After getting to know a farmer here, he decided there is no difference (or “diddly-squat” difference) between Americans and Canadians.
“Most people are nice wherever you go,” Fayter said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Dec. 11 to correct the name of the club.