By Anesta Henry
Centenarian Joseph Nathanial Wood is fully independent.
Celebrating his special milestone in the company of family and friends on Friday, Wood boasted that he lives alone, prepares his own meals, still moves around his Longford, Waterford neighbourhood and is flexible enough to bend down and touch his toes.
“I belongs to God, that is all. Every Sunday I used to go to Sunday school, and after that I sang in the choir, and after that I carried the cross. You understand, I belongs to God.
“And the thing that children don’t do nowadays is every night before I go down to sleep I does sit down on the bed and pray for all of my children and grandchildren and all the people that I know,” said Wood who has attended the St Matthew’s Anglican Church most of his life.
Making it clear that he feels comfortable living on his own because he grew up as an only child, Wood said he believes that his daily routine is one of the key reasons he has reached the golden age of 100.
“First thing I do on mornings is I cool off, then I get a bath, get my tea, then I sweep the house, wash up the dishes,” he said during an interview with Barbados TODAY. “Although I wash up the dishes every night, I get up on mornings and rinse them off again. I can’t help doing that. I go outside and I sweep the yard,” Wood said as he gave a brief insight into his daily routine.
To earn a living to support his seven children, one of whom is now deceased, Wood worked as a carpenter and joiner, spending some time working at a factory. At age 21 he travelled to the United States during World War 2.
“We went to America by boat in 1945 because we didn’t have a lot of planes running at that time. I could remember sitting on the deck with a fella and he showed me a fish. And I said, ‘oh lord I have never seen a fish so big yet, that is like it is a whale’.”
The centenarian’s granddaughter Janelle Carter-Small recalled that her grandfather told her how he had to travel on the ship because the only way to take the Caribbean people to the States [US] to work during the war was using the Navy ships.
“He said that was a hard trip too because they had to keep the lights off. Once he got over to one of the southern states he worked on one of their farms cutting trees and building whatever it was that they needed at that time. I remember him saying that that was the first time that someone took a cup that he drank from and threw it away when he was done because of the colour of his skin,” Carter-Small recalled.
Wood, who must have his three square meals on time every day, said he loves to cook rice and ground provisions.
“Sometimes if anybody cooks some cou cou and give me some, I like that too. And I gine tell you something, I don’t cook unless I have a potato and if it ain’t got no potatoes I make a dumpling. I like to know that I got something eating with my rice,” he said.
Wood, who has four grandchildren and two great-grands, shared part of his celebration in a Zoom conversation with President Dame Sandra Mason.