‘My meringue just drooped’

In February 2003 a wonderful thing happened to the yet to be completed Griffin Tavern: Mary Frances Bywaters stepped on the property and immediately got to work. There were no pie crusts to be made, no famous meringue pies, in fact there were no eggs in the walk in because Griffin Tavern didn’t open until May of 2003. Yet Mary Frances was not going to stay at home while on the payroll, her work ethic is too amazing for that. She came to work and helped clean up the demolition work and her seamstress skills came in handy as she made all of the curtains. Anything she could do to help, that was and still is Mary Frances.

Mary Frances Bywaters Courtesy photo

It is a terribly difficult thing to write, but Mary Frances’ last day is this Friday, Feb. 2. She has decided to retire. My meringue just dropped. We’ve been through so many guests together, each year her tracking the over 1,500 desserts and 700-plus pie crusts made — just amazing for anyone, but Mary Frances is 76 years young.

We’ve had three of her grandsons that did work and a son in law that does work for us today. You know if Mary Frances recommends them she’s also going to make sure they live up to her expectations. We’ve joked, somewhat seriously, that if I could clone her about 5 times she could run the place.

We plan on having lunch at the Tavern on Friday. Feel free to visit or if you see her around the county I hope you will tell her how much she means to Rappahannock. She’s famous for her pies, but she’s probably got more volunteer hours than most of us between the fire department, her church, and the Relay for Life. She’s a very special woman and will be missed. Thank you Mary Frances!

Debbie Donehey
Griffin Tavern

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