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Shirley Ross is as good as gold

October 16, 2010

Shirley Ross is waitress down the Starkville Café and she is without a doubt as good as gold! You will never ever met another human being in your whole life as good, sweet, caring, and grateful as Shirley Ross.
We all love Shirley who serves us everyday down at our famous Starkville Café. Everyone of you should just drop by the café and eat and meet Shirley!
I wanted to capture Shirley on my canvas as a portrait. Her heart is golden and her front tooth is golden too. This front tooth is solid gold, and when she smiles this one golden tooth winks back at you. I ask her once, “when did you get your gold tooth, Shirley?” “Miss Carole, I got it when I was about to finish high school, but you know I never did graduate.”
Shirley is what one would call, “steady on her job!” She is on her job at early day light serving breakfast to the men at the Liar’s Table their first cup of coffee for the morning, and then keeps their cups filled to the brim as they eat their eggs, sausage, biscuits, and grits. You can hear her saying, “Good Morning,” and then you spot her shiny gold front tooth.
She is such a decent and caring individual. She has a heart of gold as well, and she is golden from the inside of her heart to the outside of her body.
She feels deeply for everyone who enters the famous Starkville Café. The entire staff down at the café treat everyone who enters those red front doors with respect and love as if each customer is part of their family. Shirley goes that extra mile to help and make everyone feel warm, cozy and welcomed.
One day a homeless man came inside without any money at all in his pockets. It was windy, cold, and dreary outside, and I witnessed Shirley saying to him, “Come on inside, pull up a chair, and have some breakfast with us.”
She knew that he did not have a dime in his pocket. and I heard her almost whisper to him, “don’t worry now, I know you don’t have any money, that it’s okay. I have some in my pocket, and I want you to eat with us and I’ll pay for your hot breakfast.” “Well, I’ll have a hot bowl of grits, two fried eggs, biscuits and sausage and a hot cup of coffee, is this is alright with you.” Shirley said, “Sure, and I’ll go right now and put in your order with Liz Johnson, our cook this morning, be right back now, and you stay right here at this table now.”
Shirley paid for his breakfast that cold, windy, rainy early morning, long before day light with her own tip money out of her own faded blue jean pocket. Shirley gave here tip money generously for a homeless customer’s breakfast. Not only did she do this for him, but reached down deeper into her pocket, and said, “here take a little extra money to go in your pocket for the day ahead, and I saw a big hole in your pocket, now don’t loose it.”
The man was in poverty, and when he finished his last bite of his meal, he got up, pushed his chair back to its place at the table. He looked up with his sad eyes and full stomach and said, “Shirley Ross, you are a good, good lady, and I want to say to you, ‘thank you!’ I’ll see you around.” And off he went back out into the still dark early morning long before day light had broken strolling on down Main Street.
I turned to Shirley, and whispered to her, “Hey, Shirley... ‘when you have done it to the least of mine, you have done it unto Me.’”
She slipped into an extra chair besides me, and sat a minute to rest her tired feet.
“Let me tell you about my golden front tooth. I did not graduate from Maben High School, but I got my gold tooth any way. I later took the GED and received my high school diploma by taking extra work and passing the GED. You know I am driving out to the Golden Triangle Vocational School to become a nurse one day.”
I said, “I am so proud of you, Shirley!”
She went on to tell me that she is the mother of two daughters and she took in an extra daughter to help out a sister of her’s.
I said, “this is a big responsibility for you.”
Her reply, “Miss Carole, this is what we all do to help others, agree.”
Her oldest daughter later had a baby girl, and I got to help give her a name. We together chose, Miriam as a first name. She got my only daughter’s first name, Miriam. Shirley said, the name fits her to a “T.”
Shirley’s mother, Sandra Bell, has not been well, and Shirley has been so good to her Mother. She has driven over time and time again over to a specialist in Columbus and to Eupora. She was so worried about her Mother, and ask us all for our prayers. She said she asked God for His mercy and for His help for her Mother to get better.
Shirley is one of the most thoughtful people you would ever want to meet. She dearly loves her own family as well as her family at the Starkville Café.
I wanted to paint the face of an angel, Shirley Ross, on my canvas. I chose to do a very “close up” of her most thoughtful, thankful, sweet, and caring face. The day I caught the one moment — the one second — of Shirley she was busy pouring others cups and cups of coffee from table to table greeting everyone with, “May I add one more little sip of coffee to your cup to warm it up a bit?”
That day she had dyed her hair maroon and white for the football game for that weekend.
Look at her portrait, and see the streaks of maroon and white woven in with her black straightened hair. You can spot it as pieces of hair gently fall over her forehead. I loved her one dangling golden earring that I caught on her ear.
She was wearing a purple tee shirt, and see all the colors of copper, browns, dark browns, and even touches of grey mixed into her one face. Her facial features made her face so beautiful.
Look closely at her long, long eyelashes. Her wonderful lips and that one golden front tooth. See it? Her soft brown eyes give you a tiny peep inside to her golden heart inside beating to think of way to help others every day that she lives.
Shirley Ross has what I would call, “a whole lot of get-up-and go” about her very being. She has a lot of energy and a lot of will power to make it in this sometimes hard life day after day. We are all in this ‘ole world together. She is so friendly.
I would say that Shirley is one of our giving Mississippians, and she gives of herself to others.
What an honor and a pleasure it was for me to forever capture on my stretched canvas Shirley Ross, a waitress down at The Starkville Café with her one golden front tooth in her mouth, and one golden heart beating inside her chest, and I would say that... “Shirley Ross is as Good As Gold!”

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