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Travel: Rinegar. Joe Rinegar. Rhymes with vinegar

How we met an unforgettable man met in one of life's most common emergencies, on a visit to Moore County, Tennessee.
Evoked on reading: Big Al's visit to Lynchburg Tennessee with lots of photo(s)

By Ed Waggener

When we hear the words, Lynchburg, TN, neither Jack Daniel nor Lem Motlow are the first to come to mind. In our minds, the name synonymous with Lynchburg is Joe Rinegar.

On a visit some four decades ago, on a Sunday morning, we weren't looking for a bar in the Still Dry County. We were searching for something more primal: An open business with public restrooms. There was nary a one to be found.

In desperation, we noticed the cars around the Moore County Jail. There was a man with a very friendly face outside. We asked him about public restrooms and he said there weren't any. We told him the situation was an emergency for one of us. "Well," he said, "there is a restroom in the jail she might use."

But he thought a moment and said. "No, that wouldn't be good for a woman to use.

"Here's what you do," he said, pointing to a place nearby. "Go to the funeral home. They have a real nice restroom in there.

"It won't be a problem if you handle it right. You just go down the hall, past the viewing area, and turn left. No need to sign the register or say anything. They won't notice if you're careful," he said.

Then a Eureka moment struck him. "No. No. On second thought," he advised, "after you use the bathroom, do go in and sign the register and say something nice to the family. She didn't have many friends."

And that's what the party needing the emergency pit stop did. But before she did, I told the man I wanted to remember his name, that he had done a good deed for a stranger that the stranger would never forget.

"Rinegar," he said. "Joe Rinegar. Rhymes with vinegar."

And to this day "Rinegar. Joe Rinegar. Rhymes with vinegar," is the personna we associate with Lynchburg, not Jack Daniel or Lem Motlow, the names of the men Adair Countian Doug Beard's company, Brown-Forman, has made world famous with the product they make there.

Right after Joe Rinegar, of course, we associate the Big Al, the Big Rig Trucker and Doug Beard with the town. And Coy Downey and his protege, Tommy Grider, but that's a convoluted story, to be gotten to when the time is right.

And Lynchburg always brings to mind Wartrace - War Trace, not wart race - and another restroom story, but that too is for another day.

See also: Big Al's visit to Lynchburg Tennessee

This story was posted on 2013-01-21 07:16:48
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