100 years of love - Icilda McCootie scores century
Mama's smile got wider and wider as Colleen, one of her many grandchildren, began singing her favourite song - Praise the Lord, Praise Him. She could not contain her excitment and the smile gave way to a healthy laugh.
It was her 100th birthday and a few family members had gathered in her home community of Llandewey, St Thomas, to salute their matriarch, Icilda McCootie. Icilda, or Miss Mac, Mama or Granny as most of us call her, hit the century milestone on Sunday. The daughter of Alfred McCootie and Amanda Davis Reid, she was born on February 21, 1921. Her sole surviving sibling, Nicey, is 90 years old.
Her love for the Almighty
"It feels nice to be 100," the beaming Icilda said. "I give God thanks," said the centenarian who credited her longevity to her love for the Almighty and his mercies towards her. It is no wonder Colleen had her nodding along and smiling as she sang the hymn she would often sing.
"Praise The Lord, praise Him
Praise the Lord, praise Him
Praise the Lord, praise Him;
I thank Him for joy and peace divine, O yes!
When I was sad and lonely and didn't know what to do
I thank Him for saving my soul."
Icilda is the mother of nine children - Burdell (recently deceased), Vivienne, Kenneth, Gloria, Frenton, Dolly, Calma, Vanyah and Morris. Although no longer as agile as in years gone by, she still makes her way around her house and is bent on doing chores such as her laundry.
"It is not a lot of kids who are as fortunate as us to have our mom in our company at 100 years old, and we give God thanks," her youngest child, Morris, 61, said.
Icilda''s throng of grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been saluting her for the role she has played in their lives. Tashana, for example, is grateful to have eaten her famous gungo peas soup. "Who never get none a Granny gungo soup miss out," she quipped.
I, for one, will never forget the ever-present supply of 'market shorts' or rubber shoes for school that she often carried home for me, from the Coronation Market where she sold goods. And there was the mongoose bread and oranges that always came home from 'Curry', and the occasional small change that she kept in her thread bag.
The praises being heaped upon her for her role as a mother, sister, grandmother, cousin or friend, are well deserved. Her quiet, calm and reassuring personality continues to draw people to her, and her effervescent personality continues to bring light to our lives.