Joey, J.C. & The Great Beacon Triathlon

One of my “Bucket List” things to do was accomplished several years ago. It all started with a conversation with my friend Joey who helped me lead a retreat one summer. On the way back from the retreat we stopped by the famous Beacon Drive In at Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Beacon is a long time “Southern Cultural and Culinary Eating Establishment” that is sorta like Arnold’s on the old TV Show “Happy Days” (except it is much larger). Joey asked me the question if there is anything I wished I had done before leaving the Carolinas and moving to Tennessee…after some thought I replied yes, I wished I had ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at the Beacon in one day…thus the Beacon Triathlon was created. In a moment of weakness, Joey agreed to come back later that summer and attempt this amazing test of endurance with me.
Several weeks later, we left Tennessee early in the morning and drove to South Carolina. Upon arriving at the Beacon were greeted by J.C. who called out your food order to the cooks. J.C. was one of the most interesting people I have ever met anywhere. He worked at the Beacon for over 50 years. He always greeted you with a smile. Although legally blind, he could remember your voice and your favorite items on the menu. He was always there and had a unique way of calling out your order. He was know for yelling “Call it” asking for your menu selection. At the Beacon, if you added onion rings and fries to your order he would call out the name of your sandwich and add to it “A…P-L-E-N-T-Y!”
He couldn’t believe we had driven 3 hours for breakfast. After we had our breakfast we went to Christian Supply, a well know Christian Bookstore near there. We spent several hours there. Then we went back to the Beacon for lunch. I had tried to coach Joey about the importance of “Pacing Yourself” during endurance events such as this…but he forgot. I suggested to Joey just to get a sandwich. He got excited when J.C. asked him to “Call It” and Joey ordered a “Cheeseburger A Plenty!”
After lunch, we went to the NFL Carolina Panthers Training Camp being held at a college campus in Spartanburg. We had a great time that hot, sunny, afternoon watching the team practice. There is something inspiring about watching these pro athletes work so hard to prepare for the upcoming pro football season. We got to meet some of the NFL players we had watched on TV and that was a lot of fun.
When we returned to The Beacon for dinner, J.C. recognized my voice and asked “What are you doing back here?” I told him of my bucket list wish of eating 3 meals in one day at the Beacon. He replied laughing and smiling..”You must be crazy!” We had a dinner,and although Joey had to take some medicine to calm his stomach, we completed the Great Beacon Triathlon that day…and that was…”A..P-L-E-N-T-Y!”



5 thoughts on “Joey, J.C. & The Great Beacon Triathlon

  1. Rex

    JBear, at first I was envious of Joey as I have been to the Beacon many times with you and Buddy. But, then I thought it was a blessing that I wasn’t there because I would have probably killed myself eating all that fantastic food! Rex

  2. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;
    ) Cheers!

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