Since the initial airing of Larry’s Country Diner on RFD-TV six years ago, the show has garnered 1.5 million viewers monthly. In a new hardback book, Renae the Waitress, one of the stars of the hit series, takes readers on a journey through her life and faith, both on and off the set. From working as a flight attendant for American West airlines, to meeting Larry Black and being hired as his receptionist, to losing her son, Justin, in a tragic car accident in 2008, Renae’s life may appear to be as “unscripted” as the show. But her faith still serves to bring her joy.
Renae and her husband, Dove Award/GRAMMY-nominated Christian producer, Phil Johnson, reside in the Nashville area.
Have you always been comfortable in front of a camera?
No, the first time I was in front of a camera was on the TV show The Price Is Right with Bob Barker in 1991. I talk about it in chapter two of my book, titled More Than a TV Waitress. It was an experience I never wanted to repeat. However, when I became the waitress on our TV show, Larry’s Country Diner, I felt very comfortable. I had been working with Larry Black every day for eleven years prior to our show; reminding him to read the “Promise” and serve him coffee was like a day at the office.
God sometimes sends us down an unexpected path in life, one that blesses us in a way we may not expect. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Larry’s Country Diner has certainly been a “Divine Detour.” Being a TV waitress was certainly not on my radar; I think God has a great sense of humor. When we lost our son in 2008 I thought my joy was gone, but instead he gave me a platform to share happiness, joy, and hope to others. I have met hundreds of folks who have lost a child. It is like a sixth sense, you can almost feel the kindred spirit when they hug you. The hug lasts a little longer, it feels a little tighter and then the eyes fill up with tears. These are the folks I added the song “HOLD ME UP” on to the CD for. There are days we just can’t find our wings and need God to hold us up.
Let’s talk more about Diary of a TV Waitress. Please tell us about the book and CD.
The fans of our TV show inspired my book; it’s really an extension of the show. Larry’s County Diner is a set filmed inside a studio. There are cameras, lights, and sound equipment everywhere, but when you see the show on TV it looks like a real diner, especially when I am serving coffee, tea, meals, and dessert to folks sitting in the diner.
Over the years I have received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails, letters, and phone calls asking where the diner is located. Is Nadine a man? Am I married to Larry Black? Is Jimmy a real sheriff? So, I decided to answer all of the questions at once. The book includes a photo section with 80+ artists that have performed on our show. Just for fun I sat down and read the whole book on tape. The book includes an audio CD and a musical CD of two songs my husband, Phil Johnson, wrote and sang.
On your blog you write about your faith and the legacy of prayer passed along by your mom. I was especially touched by these words: “Being a Christian is not for the weak. It takes boldness, confidence and faith. Life is a war zone.” How much of your faith do you share in the book?”
I believe sharing a person’s faith is much more than talking about God, it’s about letting folks see God in you. Our shows start with Larry reading the “Promise “ and ends with our slogan, “where the cameras are always rollin’ and we don’t care.” God gives us the freedom to be bold, confident and to love people. We laugh a lot on the show and none of us take ourselves too seriously. If someone enjoys my book and smiles then I have shared God.[ctt title=”God gives us the freedom to be bold confident and to love people.” tweet=”“God gives us the freedom to be bold, confident and to love people.” http://ctt.ec/i1u5c+” coverup=”i1u5c”]
A few fun questions…
What is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate anything. I was raised eating chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast.
My mother would say, “Now don’t you tell anyone I am feeding you chocolate for breakfast!” Good times!
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would be a song of praise.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I am the girl next door that believes she is a super heroine.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I love dogs. We have a granddog named Ringo. He is a cute bulldog that still thinks we are coming just to visit him.
Thank you, Renae! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
I am honored.
Renae the Waitress
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For more information about Renae, visit her website.
To purchase Diary of a TV Waitress log on to www.LarrysCountryDiner.com, www.CFRVideos.com, or www.RenaeTheWaitress.com.
Renae, may you be as equally blessed as the ones you bless with your joy, strength, and love of our Lord.
Kathy, great interview! Of course!
Thank you so much Elaine for your sweet comments and of course Thank You Kathy for the opportunity.
Thanks for visiting, Elaine. And, Renae, it’s a pleasure to feature you this week. You’ve made me hungry for Chocolate Gravy. My MIL introduced me to it years ago. In your mom’s and her honor, I’m pasting the recipe below in case I have visitors this week who’ve never tasted it.
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 stick butter
3 cups milk
2 tsp. vanilla
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a skillet. Add a couple of tablespoons of dry mix to butter. Then add a bit of milk. Continue alternating dry mix with milk until all is used up (just as you would with any gravy). Cook to boiling. Add vanilla. Serve over hot biscuits.