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My Personal Memories of Meeting Jimmy Dean (1928 – 2010)

Jimmy Dean (1928-2010)

Jimmy Dean (1928-2010)

I remember listening to Jimmy Dean sing about the larger than life Big John as a kid, and I remember watching his TV variety show. So the first time I met Mr. Dean in the mid 90’s was a very memorable event (for me). I was on a US Air flight from Charlotte, N.C. to Richmond, Va. on a very cold winter’s evening, and the first flakes of a snow storm, predicted to be a big snow producer, had already started falling in Richmond as we were boarding in Charlotte.

Jimmy Dean and his lovely wife Donna were seated in first class across the aisle from my seat. At the time, I was traveling pretty heavy and almost always received a free upgrade to first class. Since first class is allowed to board first, the overhead bins are normally empty. However, the bin above Mr. and Mrs. Dean’s seat was nearly full with what looked like a flight attendant’s bags.

Every time I saw Jimmy Dean, he wore a large cowboy hat, and that day was no exception. He had no room to store his hat in the bin above, so I offered to place it in the bin above my seat, and he handed it to me, along with several coupons for free packages of Jimmy Dean Sausage. I told him that was not necessary, but he insisted.

I asked where he was coming from, and he said Florida.

“Do you know they are calling for a lot of snow in Richmond” I asked.

“Yep. My wife wanted to go back home to play in the snow. She loves the snow. And I do, too.” Jimmy Dean said.

As the plane boarded, anyone that recognized Jimmy Dean and took the time to speak to him was rewarded with free sausage coupons (and they didn’t have to help him with his hat) and a large grin from the craggy, weathered face of the successful businessman and star.

During the flight, I read my paperback book and allowed the Deans to fly in peace. As a frequent first class occupant, I have flown with many stars and VIP’s. Most appreciate some privacy during the flight, which is why they pay for first class.

As we landed, I remember Mrs. Dean looking out of the window at the snow, which was already beginning to stick. She was so excited. I retrieved Mr. Dean’s hat as we exited the plane and handed it to him.

The airport in Richmond was under construction with heavy renovations and they had made some major changes while the Deans were away, and the detours to baggage claim were a surprise to them. We talked as I helped them navigate to retrieve their bags, and I pulled their bag off of the belt for them, and told them to be safe in the snow.

I saw Mr. Dean, usually with Donna, another half dozen times, until I stopped traveling around 2002. He always spoke to everyone like a neighbor. Perhaps he remembered me after sharing a bit of conversation on those several occasions. He acted as if he did, but who knows.

One thing is for sure. I will never forget Jimmy Dean, and my heart goes out to Donna and his children.

There is a little less light in the world today.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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