There are many aspects to living a long life


I’m curious.

Who’s the oldest living person in Chunky? Has that person always lived here? Who’s the oldest person on record to have lived here?

If you know, please let me know.

I don’t know how old I’ll be when I die, but I do know it will be older than I am right now. And older than I was when I started typing this. Funny how time works.

I’m older now than I have ever been in my life, and you are older than you’ve ever been, too.


I doubt I will live to the same “ripe old age” as Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. She reportedly said regularly smoking cigarettes contributed to her long life. Calment is the oldest modern person to have lived, according to verifiable evidence. She died in 1997 in her home country of France.

Other people who round out the top ten list of oldest verifiable ages are Sarah Knauss of the U.S.A., who lived to 119 years, 97 days. The next six were 117 years plus: Lucy Hannah, Marie-Louise Meilleur, Violet Brown, Emma Morano, Misao Okawa and Nabi Tajima. Tajima was still living at the time of this writing. If she makes it to Aug. 4, this Japanese woman be 118 years old. The final two lived until just one or two months shy of age 117 — Maria Capovilla of Ecuador and Susannah Mushatt Jones, born in Lowndes County, Ala. Jones was the last living American born in the 19th century and had the exceptional distinction of having lived in three centuries.

All of the above were women. The oldest living man was Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who died in 2013 at the age of 116 years and 54 days. That’s right, all of the oldest people were women, and each attributed their longevity to something a bit different.

Like Calment’s cigarettes, a couple claimed smoking daily and drinking wine, beer and/or whiskey kept them living. Some said it was laughter and a good attitude. One said it was because she never had children and stayed away from men.

But the secret to all of them not dying at younger ages was one simple thing — they kept living.

As a Christian, I also look to the accounts of scripture. The oldest person to have ever lived, according to the Bible, was Methuselah, grandfather to Noah. Genesis 5:27 says he died at age 969.

So when someone says you look as old as Methuselah, is it an insult, meaning you look really, really, really, really old? Or is it a compliment, meaning you have aged very well and will likely live long beyond the rest of us? Hmmm.

In December, Heidelberg resident Sallie Mae Cooley celebrated her 109th birthday. A sister in Meridian was 99.

In an interview about her longevity, Cooley said, “The Lord did it. He did it.” She loves to dress up and go to church and says she feels good.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who are advanced in years don’t feel good, and aren’t able to be up and around and do a lot on their own. Don’t bemoan your age — you’ve made it this far, lasted this long. That’s reason to be glad. And if you’re able to be up and around yourself, lend a helping hand to someone who can’t be. If you can’t be up and around yourself, write a note, make a phone call, say a prayer.

Love your neighbor, Chunkians/Chunkites/Chunks. And don’t forget to let me know what you know about the oldest person in Chunky.

I can be reached at or 601-934-0901.


Annie Mae Lewis Vance, 89, passed away on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018, at Rosemont Assisted... READ MORE