Naomi Ermingarde Alleyne is the fourth woman in Barbados to celebrate her 100th birthday in just a matter of two weeks.
And there is no doubt that she is by far the most outspoken of the bunch. Her memory and her ability to carry on a fluent conversation is nothing short of admirable. In fact, when asked a question, if there is no interjection, her response can be quite lengthy as she is always willing to share her vast knowledge.
Celebrating her 100th birthday yesterday with a visit from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave at her No. 4 St Barnabas, St Michael home, a sharp Alleyne said these days she was not hearing so well and the arthritis in the knees could be painful at times.
But other than that, she said, her brain was working well, her voice strong and eyes in check. According to her, she was “happy in Jesus alone”.
“Though poor, I am not deserted. I am converted and I am happy in Jesus alone. I thank my Maker morning, noon and night. Before I go to bed, I say my prayers; and when I wake, I thank God again for another day. He is my co-pilot and my burden bearer.
“I put my trust in the Lord, and not in the world. This life is not mine; this was lent to me by Jesus, and when he is ready, he can take it. And I can tell you that today is His day; let us rejoice and be glad in it. And that is how I live,” Alleyne testified in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
Alleyne has had no children of her own. However, she has willing and graciously had a hand in raising many children, most of whom were her relatives.
Alleyne’s husband, whom she was married to when she was 23, has been dead for 43 years now.
“I ain’t married no more; I did done with that. I had Jesus as my Saviour.
“I was a seamstress. It was very good. I got my work and people paid me,” she said.
When she is not receiving telephone calls from family and friends inquiring about how health and well-being, Alleyne spends most of her time reading The Bible, or sharing her old story with those who visit to have a chat with her.
When asked if she had any message for the youth of the nation, the centenarian quickly responded: “Oh, yes!”
She has urged them to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and “all good things shall be added unto you”.
“The young people of today put God behind, and they tell you this is their day. But this is not our day. They feel so; but this is God’s day.
“And if you take Christ as your personal Saviour, he will look after you. Ask God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. That’s how I live,” she said.
The cenetenarian, who was confirmed on March 13, 1944, at the St Michael’s Cathedral, where she is still a member, remarked she had a solid and flavoured appetite.
“I love my soup with anything in it. I like a piece of pork too; but fried. I come along accustomed to fried pork, you know, and chops.
“Young people don’t know ’bout nothing so. I like my split peas and rice, and frizzled salt fish. Ya’ll don’t know nothing about that,” she noted.
Alleyne’s favourite drink is Clayton’s Kola Tonic, but she also enjoys a glass of brandy at times.
“I like li’l brandy from my grandmother’s day. My grandmother use to send me to buy a bottle of brandy . . . and she and I used to drink it,” she said.
Muriel Adeline Cummins, of Pasture Road, Mapp Hill, St Micahel, celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday, December 6. Beryl Padmore, of 2nd Avenue Hoyte’s Village, St James, became a centenarian on Thursday, December 3. Midred “Milly” Ifill, of Weston, St James, marked her milestone on November 29.