“That’s my dad, Wallace Johnson.”
Lori Walls laughs as she gestures toward the…uh…veteran employee to her right. It is her dad, a father whose very own father started a store of his own back in 1937.
“It was Johnson’s Grocery on East Maple in Eunice,” he says.
But this story isn’t about the past. It’s about a thriving eatery in Lafayette, and about a man --- who doesn’t want his only words to be, “I remember when.”
The latest edition of Takeout Tuesday brought us to Johnson’s Boucaniere in Lafayette, but the real profile for the story was the 92-year-old Wallace Johnson.
“I don’t feel 92,” he laughs. “No. I walk every day; I walk for 20 minutes.”
Three years after Johnson’s Grocery closed in 2005, the next generation—Wallace’s daughter Lori and her husband--- put the Johnson name on this smoked meat specialist. “We opened up in 2008,” says Lori, “and Dad helps so much. He’s our little historian, gives us tips and pointers and does quality control and helps with the customers.”
Now… Mr. Wallace doesn’t really get paid, he says. “They write me out a check and I tear it up.”
But it’s his presence… that makes him an invaluable addition to the Boucaniere team. “Yes, I know that every day, that we can work together, make great memories and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s awesome.”
With three kids, Mr. Wallace has learned a thing or two about being a dad. “Listen to what they have to tell you, and console them when they get turned away.”
I then asked him if he’d been a good father, and again, the laughter returns. “They say I have.”
Ah, Wallace Johnson of Johnson’s Boucaniere. Honored to be in his presence, and very pleased to be able to say, “Happy Fathers Day.”
“Thank you,” responds Wallace Johnson. “It’s good to be around.”
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