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WATCH | Former waitress pays a visit to McClard’s for 91st birthday

by Courtney Edwards | February 26, 2023 at 4:04 a.m.
Mary Ragsdale, right, enjoys some pie and ice cream from McClard's Bar-B-Q on her birthday. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

For her 91st birthday, a resident of The Atrium at Serenity Pointe was able to visit an old workplace, which she said brought back memories.

Mary Ragsdale didn't remember the first time she'd ever visited McClard's Bar-B-Q. Her mother worked there as a cook and dishwasher when she was a child.

Her first memory working at the restaurant included washing dishes, except she wasn't tall enough to reach the sink yet.

"When I first started working here, I had to stand on two Coca-Cola cases to reach over into the (sink) and rinse the dishes," she said. "That's my first major memory of me working here, helping my mother wash dishes."

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Ragsdale later became a waitress, working for McClard's for more than 25 years, she said.

Phillip McClard, one of the former owners before the family sold the business more than two years ago, is still working as a manager, or as he called himself, "the captain," and he's worked at the restaurant for more than 50 years, starting in 1967, he said.

Ragsdale eventually became a part of the McClard family herself after she married Alex McClard, Phillip McClard's grandfather.

"I used to spend the night with Grandpa and Mary," he said. "Grandpa had me a horse. We used to spend the night. They used to take us to the movie theater on Friday, and then, Mary worked here along with Grandpa."

Memory Support Director Tamara Gray and Executive Director Ellen Cavazos from The Atrium decided to take Ragsdale back to McClard's as a surprise for her birthday on Feb. 14.

"One of the biggest challenges of my job is in that we cannot make memories," Gray said. "But, we can create the best, most perfect moments imaginable. And I'm very fortunate because (Cavazos) is always 100% on board when I get these grand ideas, how we're going to make these perfect moments. So, that's why we did it."

It was "the best thing they could do for me," Ragsdale said. "Brings back so many memories."

Not only did the 91-year-old get to reminisce about her former years at McClard's, but she also got to help make a few new memories, saying hello to her late husband's grandchild, Phillip.

"I didn't know about it until they called me earlier, and I thought, 'Mary? I haven't seen Mary in years, haven't seen her in a long time,'" he said. "And I was excited to see her."

The Atrium's residents "are more than capable of feeling joy and happiness in the moment, and from moment to moment, they will carry them through the next moment," Gray said. "And that's what it's all about. You put enough moments together, you get a great day."

  photo  Mary Ragsdale looks at a photo of the waitresses at McClard's Bar-B-Q, including herself, on the front of the menu. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

Print Headline: WATCH | Former waitress pays a visit to McClard’s for 91st birthday


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