McDonald Reece of Husbands Terrace, St. James, may be celebrating his 100th birthday today, but he still enjoys a good rum and coke and a cigarette.
And even though he has reached this major milestone, Reece told the gathering that he hopes to live another 100 years.
The feisty centenarian who was born on September 26, 1912, told the assembled guests which included Governor General, Sir Elliott Belgrave, his nephew, attorney-at-law, Ezra Alleyne and several members of his immediate family who had flown in from overseas that everything on earth was for man.
Reece, who enjoys good health except for a slight hearing impairment, told his relatives and friends that as a young child he never enjoyed good health and was expected to die at an early age. He said his nickname was “Angel”.
Stressing his clean bill of health, Reece said: “I am still running around and doing many things. I can go into the ring, I am still strong.” He pointed out that during his life he was hospitalised on two occasions for eye surgery and with tetanus.
He further pointed out that in spite of these early health challenges he was old, but not weak” and encouraged Barbadians to take care of themselves and noted that if you are good in your ways, God would lengthen your days.
Reece recalled that as a young man he worshipped at the Cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels and worked in the Customs Department and as a carpenter.
Still walking around the district unaided, he said he goes to the village shop to buy his alcoholic beverages.
In response to a query from the Governor General on the amount of alcoholic beverages he imbibes, Reece said: “A half bottle of coloured or white rum lasts me a couple of hours.”
The centenarian who was married is the father of two surviving daughters, Carlma Reece and Shermane Peters of London. An older daughter, Lerleen Reece, and his wife, Ercil pre-deceased him in 1997.
In a brief comment Sir Elliott said meeting centenarians was the most pleasant part of his job. He spoke about their contribution to the development of the country. He also said that as long as Reece was related to Ezra Alleyne he would love talking.
The Governor General presented him with a fruit basket, a non-alcoholic drink, a birthday card and an envelope which contained a small sum of money. (NC)