Special to The Chronicle
Alberta Liles celebrated her 109th birthday on Aug. 20 with her friends in the senior day care program at the Senior Life Enrichment Center at Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Soon after the seniors at the Center finished their spirited devotions and breakfast, the Mount Zion Hattie File Club and Senior Life staff members set about getting the facility ready for Liles’ “VIP” birthday party. Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian H. Burke, Rev. Donald Jenkins, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church (Mrs. Liles’ home church) and other well-wishers soon gathered for the celebration.
Scripture readings, solos, a poetry reading and personal testimonies brought a festive nuance to the room and approving smiles to the faces of the honoree and guests. Liles blessed the crowd with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
After a proclamation from the Office of the Mayor was presented to the birthday girl, guests enjoyed refreshments, ice cream and cake.
Asked to share her secret for living a long life, Liles said, without hesitation, “I love the Lord. I have always tried to be nice to people. I try not to worry about anything before its time. I never liked running around with the crowd … And I always tend to my own business.”
The birthday celebrant had one other pronouncement: “I can make anything,” she said. “I can look at it, cut it and sew it.”
No argument was given by Mrs. Liles’ granddaughter, Aleane Morris, with whom Liles lives. In fact, Morris said that her wedding dress and all of the dresses worn by her bridesmaids were made by her grandmother. Clarice Rhynes is the director of the Senior Life Day Care Program at Mount Zion; Dr. Serenus T. Churn Sr. is the pastor.
For further information about the program, call 336-722-2325.