Saturday was a hectic, but beautiful day. I had the pleasure of attending two birthday dinners after finishing some “Honey Dos” around the house.
First up was my father, Eddie, who turned 75 Saturday. It was a surprise birthday given by my middle brother. I was able to see some kin folk I haven’t been able to see over the last several years.
It was enjoyable to sit, chat and reminisce about yesteryear when I was much younger. Of course, the “spare tire” around my middle was pointed out, as well as my greying hair, or what’s left of it.
After nearly two hours, I had to cut the party short. I informed dad he was just a pup compared to my next destination, but I wished him many more birthdays.
An hour later, I arrived for a family gathering honoring a beautiful lady who turned 105 two days earlier. Miss Lillie Mae Watts, who was born September 15, 1911, is still a vibrant lady who doesn’t look her age. She lives by herself and still cooks for family members. She finally gave up driving when she turned 90.
The large gathering even included her 108-year-old sister, Stella Mells, who made the trek up from Miami, FL. Mrs. Mells celebrated her latest birthday back in July. Just like her younger sister, she also does not look her age.
What made the occasion even more special is the fact it was given by a family with a long connection with Miss Lillie, who many call “Aunt Lillie,” “grandmama Lillie” or just “Miss Lillie.” She moved in with the Middletons, a white family in the Atkinson community, around 1919 after her mother passed. She helped with the raising of the children while still a child herself.
She became a part of the B.G. Middleton family and never left, staying until 1985 when Mrs. Sara Middleton passed away. It was Mrs. Middleton, a teacher, who taught Miss Lillie to read and write.
Miss Lillie never married or had any children of her own, but it was obvious she touched so many lives. Listening to everyone who spoke about this gracious lady touched my heart. She is very much loved and now cared for by the next generation of the Middleton family.
On Labor Day, Miss Lillie had 13 members of the Middleton family over to her home for dinner. “She did all the cooking,” said Gloria Davis, daughter of the Middleton’s youngest child.
Seeing the gleam in Gloria’s eyes as she talked let me know just how special a lady Miss Lillie is and what she means to the Middletons.
I can only hope one day that I have touched as many lives as Miss Lillie. May God bless her to have many more birthday celebrations.