My Great Uncle Louis lived to be 108 years old. Despite an ailing body (he made it past 100—hello?!), he was sharp of mind, even sharper of wit, and strong in his faith until he went on to Heaven. Unlike my Grandma Annie Belle Simmons Foxx, I had the opportunity to know Great Uncle Louis, and visited him a few times right before he died. In terms of the strength of mind and wit, I claim that dispensation, and that I live as well, if not as long, as he did.
This week’s Feel-Good Friday helped to strike that family chord and brought my dear Great Uncle to mind.
Last week, Philadelphia centenarian Dorothy Nedd turned 106. Wow. What more can you say to that? Mrs. Nedd has lived through wars, racial discrimination, deaths, and probably has seen the best and worst in humanity. But she keeps on living, and expresses joy in the journey. Just like my Great Uncle Louis she is sharp in mind and wit, and just watching her brought a smile to my face.
I suspect Mrs. Nedd has that effect on everyone.
From a local Fox News affiliate:
Dorothy Nedd, a South Philadelphia resident, turned 106-year-old on Friday. She credited her faith and her love for McDonald’s Big Mac for her longevity.
“I feel fine,” Dorothy told FOX 29’s Marcus Espinoza after being asked how she was feeling on this most special of days.
The great-grandmother of 9 and great-great-grandmother of 1 also says she was looking her best on her birthday.
In a city and world often filled with so much loss, the 106-year-old Dorothy Nedd credits her long life to the man above.
“Serving the Lord!” said Nedd.
Mrs. Nedd attended Friendship Baptist Church every Sunday, and after church, Mrs. Nedd would make a visit to her local McDonald’s and partake of her favorite sandwich. Mrs. Nedd’s granddaughter Zulema remembered those times fondly, and is now her grandmother’s primary caregiver.
Granddaughter Zulema takes care of her now at her mother’s house, not that she needs much to be taken care of, though she admits it’s been hard on her grandma during the pandemic.
The entire family would come over every Friday to visit with the family matriarch, but because of the pandemic they did not want to bring her harm, so the family now visits her via FaceTime.
Mrs. Nedd told Fox 29 what she wanted for her birthday was, “Sweet living!”
Amen to that, and Mrs. Nedd already appears to be living in that sweetness. Knowing your purpose and place in the world through a relationship with Jesus and the rich connection to her family seems to give Dorothy Nedd enough reason to continue on another year.
My Great Uncle Louis lived a sweet life too, and I miss him. But we share the same faith in Jesus, and I look forward to seeing him again, in the Sweet Bye and Bye.
Louis Dukes as a younger man (Right, light suit), and in his 108th year.