Port Arthur News
Shirley Griffith has gone by many names in her life — Mom, Mee Maw, Ms. Shirley, Aunt Shirley, Ms. Griffith and even “The Pie Lady.”
She now can add her newest moniker — Port Neches Mother of the Year — to the already lengthy list.
The new title was bestowed on the surprised Griffith during Port Neches RiverFest.
Her children, Valeria Thibodeaux, Cathy Shelander and Carl Griffith, penned the nomination letter.
“Our letter is to recognize what many others in and around the community of Port Neches already know, that our mother is special to a lot of people and her selfless attitude to always help others is a special gift that she is always willing to share,” the siblings said in the letter.
The mother of three and grandmother of 10, Griffith has stayed busy pretty much her whole life, from owning L&A Grocery on Grigsby in Port Neches and making pies to family life and more.
Her famous pies once graced up to five area lunch counters as well as other customers wanting some delectable pies thus making it necessary to bake every day, she said. Through the years some of the diners have closed their doors and the demand for Griffith’s pies has died down a bit.
“I look back and wonder how I did it,” Griffith said with a laugh. “Now (with spare time) I get to play bridge and mahjong.”
The devoted children spoke of a woman who put others before herself.
“From long ago, the L&A Grocery was home for Shirley, where she mixed hard work with engaging conversation, a caring smile and a compassion for everyone that graced the swinging glass doors of the family business,” according to the letter. “Years later, the days are filled with a different type of hard work. As the local “Pie Lady” not a day goes by without providing sweet to local diners, family and friends that have special occasions as well as the hectic holiday season which would never be the same without a pie from Ms. Shirley on the table to complete the occasion.”
But that is not all to her busy life.
“In addition, most every day includes a visit to the retirement home to provide religious services, dropping off food for her sister and brother-in-law, picking up and delivering clean sets of clothes, etc. In the past that also included care and support of her godmother and mother-in-law,” the children wrote.
Griffith’s life isn’t all work and no play though. She is a member of the Red Hat Society, eucharastic minister at St. Elizabeth’s Church and takes part in other social and civic activities.
The Griffith children worked hard to make sure Griffith was surprised by the announcement. Every Sunday after church Griffith and one of her daughters has lunch together while Griffith’s husband hits the horse races, she said. But on this recent Sunday both daughters showed up and decided to take their mom to RiverFest to sample the cuisine.
A few other people just happened to be in the area and soon the group were seated at the pavilion as the nomination letter was read.
“My dad, every time you surprised him he’d cry and I’m like my daddy,” Griffith said. “I started crying and crying and my daughters started laughing.”
Griffith was asked to turn around and that’s when she saw her son, her husband and other family members.
“It was like I was almost in shock,” she said. “They said ‘mom, turn around and see who is behind you’ and there was this mob of people. The first one I see is my husband, wearing a burgundy shirt. He had went to the airport to pick up our son and his entire family, my husband was supposed to be at the races.”
Griffith is happy to know her children think so much of her and doesn’t feel like she deserves the honor.
“But I’m going to enjoy the honor,” she added with a laugh.