Bettie-Broadway Smith has seen a lot of changes in Glen Rose since she arrived here in 1969 and went to work at Level’s grocery store downtown.
She worked in the meat department. Back then meat hung from giant hooks and she did the cutting standing up and carving off the different cuts.
In 1976, when Level’s built a bigger store on U.S. Highway 67 — it was the predecessor at the current Brookshire’s location — Bettie went there, too. After Brookshire’s bought Level’s, she remained with the company.
For 41 years, she’s worked in the meat department of both grocery stores, cutting and packing fresh meat and stocking packaged sausage, bacon, and other meat products. Until Thursday that is — that is when Bettie will put in her final day and retire.
“It’s been a good place to work,” Bettie, who’s 73, said last week in an interview at her home.
When she first went to work at Level’s downtown, Bettie did the ordering, cutting and worked the counter.
“The big hams you had to cut up yourself,” Bettie recalled. “Now it comes pre-wrapped.”
She was able to walk from her home to the store downtown to care for her first husband when he was very ill. After he died, she met her second husband, Ronnie, at Level’s. He was a meat cutter, too. Love blossomed among the pork chops and ribeyes.
“I’m proud of her,” Ronnie said of Bettie’s long career.
One of the best things about her job has been getting to know generations of customers.
“So many of the people in town, I don’t know their names but I know their faces,” Bettie said. “Their kids have grown up and their kids have kids.”
After she retires, Bettie and her husband plan to spend more time together. Between the two of them, they have two daughters, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
“He likes to deer hunt,” Bettie said. “We want to do some camping in the state parks.”
What she’ll miss most about her job are the people, Bettie added.
“A lot of people will come in and say, ‘I haven’t seen you in ages,’” she recalled. “Some of the elderly people have gone, but they have been nice to deal with.”
Go by Brookshire’s and wish Bettie well. Even if you don’t think you know her, you’ll likely recognize her when you see her face. Her presence will be missed.
“Basically, it’s been a good 41 years,” Bettie said.