Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Woman of Wilson: Betsy Jennings

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Betsy Jennings

If you visit the home of Betsy Jennings - chances are you are going to be fed.

For Jennings, who loves to cook, being a "feeder" comes naturally. She is the daughter of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store founder Danny Evins.

"Most people have a fascination with my father because of his involvement with the Cracker Barrel. What a lot of people don't know is that Daddy was just as shocked at the success of the Cracker Barrel as anyone else. If anyone asked him about it, he would always just call it 'the luck of the draw,'" she explained. "The thing is, to me, my father's legacy has absolutely nothing to do with the Cracker Barrel. His legacy is the beautiful man that he was."

Jennings is a true native of Wilson County, growing up on West Main Street in Lebanon. "I have a friend who doesn't like going out with me in Lebanon because I have to stop and talk to everyone I know," she said. "Growing up in a small town - that just happens. I can't think of a much better blessing than being surrounded daily by people who know and love me and have known and loved me my whole life."

She attended McClain Elementary School through sixth grade before enrolling in Friendship Christian. She graduated from FCS in 1984 and went to Cumberland University, from where she graduated in 1988.

"As a child I always loved school. I loved everything about it. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher," Jennings explained of her career path. "I was blessed with so many wonderful teachers as role models. I wanted to be just like them and make children feel as special as they made me feel."

Jennings has been in education off and on for the past 14 years. She currently teaches fourth grade at Tuckers Crossroads Elementary. She previously taught at Byars Dowdy Elementary and in Trousdale County.

"The absolute best thing about my profession is the children. When I walk into my classroom every morning, I am on sacred ground and I know it. Looking into those precious faces is the highlight of my day," she said.

Jennings has been married to her husband, Bubba, for the past 27 years. They have four daughters, Mallory, 24, Madeline, 21, Molly, 17, and Merritt, 13.

When she isn't busy teaching, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family - and of course, cooking.

The woman she most admires is her mother Donna, who she said is "just magical."

"She has to be the smartest, funniest and most loving woman I have ever known. Her self-effacing humor has taught me the power in laughing at myself harder than anyone," she said. "If anyone ever compares me to my mother, I feel like I must be doing something right."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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