Debra Darnall calls herself a hometown girl. She was born and reared in Jacksonville and her roots go back quite a few generations. Her grandfather, J. F. “Buck” Glazner, was a professor at Jacksonville State University when it was a state teacher’s college. Her uncle, Lemuel Glazner, had a dental practice on Clinton Street for many years.
Debra’s husband, Alan, came to Jacksonville from Washington, D. C., to attend Jacksonville State University and, after meeting Debra, decided he wanted to make Jacksonville his permanent home.
Debra and Alan met in 1977 when both worked at TG&Y on Pelham Road South. Debra was a senior at Jacksonville High School, and Alan was a student at JSU. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on May 26.
Their son, Trevor, is a student at JSU. Their daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Zach Phillips, are co-owners of Jefferson’s. Lauren and Zach will present the Darnalls with their first grandchild in December.
Alan is self-employed and maintains his rental property. He and Debra are co-owners of Jefferson’s and Norge Village.
Debra is the daughter of the Marynell Glazner Pate and the late Tab Pate. Her sisters, Denise Gunnells, Donna Cochran and Dana Bonds, live in Jacksonville. Her brother is the late Derek Pate.
Debra is a member of the Praise Team at Covenant Life Ministries and also works with the children’s church.
“I enjoy the children so much,” said Debra. “I get to play the guitar for them. I can’t wait to have my own grandchildren.”
Several years ago, Debra took guitar lessons from a young man, Matt Roberts, who attended her church.
“I started learning a little bit about the guitar when I was a teenager,” she said. “I was happy when I was able to pick it back up and take lessons from Matt.”
For almost 10 years, Debra has been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
“I love it,” she said. “It would be hard for me to stop. I enjoy the people on my route. They’re such sweet folks. It’s been rewarding for me.”
Debra said she’s always loved older people.
“I had two wonderful grandmothers, and I helped take care of them,” she said. “I’ve been a care giver for many years. I took care of my mother-in-law for four and a half years. About 17 years ago, my mother had her first stroke, and I’ve been helping take care of her since then.”
Debra’s been spending a lot of a time with a new member of her family, Bear, a mixed breed dog she found in a buy and sell bulletin. She enjoys taking him for walks on the Ladiga Trail.
Debra said even after her children moved out, she continued to cook as often as she always had for her and Alan. She said home economics classes and her mother are where she learned a lot about cooking, but she learned mostly from practice and trying different recipes.
She submits four of her most requested recipes.
POTATO CHIP CHICKEN
- 1 pkg. boneless chicken breasts
- 1 bag potato chips
- ½ c. milk
- Melted butter or butter spread
Trim fat and cut breasts into 2 pieces. Put in bowl, add milk to cover. Then roll each piece in flour and dip in melted butter. Crush potato chips in bag. Add chicken to bag (1 piece at a time) and shake to cover. Place in baking pan, add pepper to taste.
Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Take the foil off. Put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp and brown. (Add 15 minutes to bake time for bone-in chicken.)
CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND DRESSING
- 1 lg. chicken or 3-4 large chicken breasts, cooked and pulled apart
- 1 ½ (10 ¾ oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
- (You may have too adjust according to the size of your crockpot)
- 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix, prepared
- ½ recipe of white cornbread
- 1 T. sage
- 1 T. poultry seasoning
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 1 stick margarine or butter
- 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 3-4 cups chicken broth
- Paprika (on top for looks and flavor)
Mix all dressing ingredients together. Layer in crockpot: ½ can chicken soup, ½ of the dressing mixture, ½ of the cooked chicken, ½ can soup, the rest of the dressing, the rest of the chicken. Top with the last ½ can of soup. Cook on high for three hours.
- 3 (14.5 oz.) cans of petite diced tomatoes
- ½ med. Vidalia (sweet) onion, chopped
- 1 t. minced garlic
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. sugar
- ½ c. vinegar
- 2 small sprigs fresh basil, chopped fine
- 1 small fist full of fresh parsley, chopped fine
- ½ fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill.
YUMMY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 c. coconut oil
- 1 ½ c. brown sugar
- 1 c. white sugar
- Cream these together, then add:
- 4 T. milk
- 2 T. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- Mix well, then add:
- 3 ½ c. self-rising flour
- 2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
Put into 11x13 pan sprayed with butter flavored cooking oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Makes a lot. Perfect for potlucks.