It’s a party more than a century in the making. Miss Mackie Walker is the birthday girl but this is no ordinary birthday party. She’s turning 108 years old.
“Oh you know my soul looks back and wonder,” a strong voice belts out over mellow music from the piano player.
The singing, you can easily see, is enjoyed by everyone in the room. Walker is mouthing the words, waving her hands and tapping her foot mid-air from her comfortable hospital bed.
The big bash at the Dayton, Texas nursing home isn’t going unnoticed. Even the Mayor of Dayton drops by to present the 108 year old with a Proclamation.
“Do here by proclaim today, February 2, 2010 as Mrs. Mackie Walker day.”
Back when Walker was born in 1902, Theodore Roosevelt was president. It was a difficult time to be black and a woman.
“She hasn’t had what I would call a lot of luxuries in life,” says Freddy Guidry.
Guidry, a retired Houston Police Officer is the youngest of Walker’s seven children. He’s also her only surviving child.
Walker says she lived a “good, clean, beautiful, holy” life.
She credits such a long life to living in peace, not holding grudges and making wise choices.
As for things like politics, the 108-year -ld says she never thought she would see a black man elected as president of the United States.
She says she’s glad to see Barack Obama’s election because it means the world is finally realizing that “people are people. No matter what color they are.”
Walker earned a living cleaning houses and cooking. She isn’t doing the cooking these days. For her party, the chef fried her favorite. Chicken.
Walker’s only granddaughter, Betty Woods says, “I don’t know what it would be like not having her here”.
The 108-year-old’s mother died at the age of 105. Maybe long life runs in the family.
“I hope so,” Woods says with a big laugh.