Breakfast at Russell's was inspirational

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The man in the red suit with white fur trim at his cuffs and buttons clasped his hands together, bowed his head, closed his eyes and said grace.

Breakfast with Wesley Poteet on Saturday morning at Russell Vending on Water Street was warm, nourishing, tasty and informative as the volunteer spoke of his life.

He's been working with four-footed animals -- horses, mules and apparently reindeer -- for decades, and now he's hoping to turn the business over to his son. He's worked for another family business because those folks sought his expertise, Poteet said as he reflected on his life of 60 years.

"Back in '86, I drove a pair of mules to Panama Beach, Fla.," he said when asked about keeping livestock. "Had them hitched to a wagon. Took 16 days and I took pictures of them in the water.

"I didn't realize they would drink salt water, but they did," he continued.

"In Birmingham, it come an eight-inch snow on us," Poteet said of his 16-day journey. "I drove in the winter time and slept in the wagon at night."

As for the mules: "If I didn't find a place to shelter them, I'd throw a tarpaulin over them and tie it up, and they'd leave it on all night" he said.

Poteet had considered driving some mules in the Rotarians' Christmas parade in Lewisburg on Saturday afternoon, he said after attending the entire Christmas event, Breakfast With Santa, at Russell's Vending.

"This was more important, he said.

After three decades of married life with his wife, Nancy Poteet, decided to do something special.

They'd been married at the Marshall County Courthouse by Will Ed Greer Jr., he said.

"Greer was some kind of county judge or something, but he was licensed to do it," Poteet said.

"So, not long ago, relatively speaking, I rented the fire hall at Belfast and got her a three-layer wedding cake and the bells that we didn't have when we got married."

He's just sentimental like that, and old fashioned about neighbors.

"When I was a kid, if your neighbor was sick, you'd go and put his crop out," if that was needed. Now, people hardly know their neighbors, he said.