There is something different about centenarian Muriel Adeline Cummins.
Maybe it is the fact that she is still very capable of standing tall on her own two feet, without assistance from anyone.
Or, it could be that she responds effectively, at times dramatically, and loudly, to questions.
Yesterday, she celebrated her 100th birthday with a much-anticipated visit from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave to her Pasture Road, Mapp Hill, St Michael home.
And yesterday, as she relaxed at home getting her silky grey hair braided by her niece, a sprightly Cummins told Barbados TODAY she was feeling as fit as a fiddle.
“I feel as good as gold,” were her exact words, as she gave full credit to God for allowing her to reach the coveted milestone.
Giving an insight into her history, Cummins said she worked hard as a maid and sometimes “pulled the hoe”, to help her deceased husband, of more than 50 years, keep their nine children – two of whom are now deceased – in school.
“I never was an idler. I never wasted time. I did many jobs to keep my children in school and so that I can be near them to keep them in order when them come home,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“You got to keep your children in order and keep close to them,” she warned.
A devout Seventh Day Adventist, Cummins attends church regularly, worshipping with her congregation as recent as last Saturday.
The country’s newest centenarian, who still has a hearty appetite, also said one of her secrets to longevity was holding a “good mind” because, in her estimation, a “bad mind can’t get you nowhere”.
“The time that you take to hold a bad mind for somebody, what you is to do, there getting away from you. You holding a bad mind for somebody and your life going long and leave yuh. So I was always a busy woman,” she said.
Her advice to the youth of Barbados, particularly those who want to reach her age someday, is to keep their bodies “pure”.
“Live for Jesus. Not walking around cussing and swearing as they like.
“You have to live the right way and do the right things. Do things for your age and try and behave yuhself,” she said.
Her daughter Carbelia Greenidge, who takes care of her, said Cummins usually spends her day quietly sitting around the home, reflecting on life. However, she admitted that at times her mother could be “hot and peppery”, speaking out if she believed things were not going her way.
“She was very good when we were growing up. Along with my father, she ensured that we were provided for. She was a good mother growing up.
“We are happy that she is still here with us and that we can celebrate with her,” said Greenidge, noting that her mother had been looking forward to yesterday’s visit with the Governor General.