Sat | Jul 22, 2017

100-year-old looks back at a life well spent

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Elijah Osbourne eating his birthday meal.
Elijah Osbourne (left) accepts a plaque from Denzil Jack, pastor of the Giblatore Baptist Church. The plaque was presented for Osbourne's outstanding community work and service to the church.
Former Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament, Enid Bennett reflects on Osbourne's community involvement.
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Elijah Osbourne has joined the 100-year-old club. While celebrating his 100th birthday with family members, friends and well-wishers, recently, he said he owed the milestone to the respect and love he always displayed for his parents and other people.

Born in the farming community of Giblatore in St Catherine on April 12, 1915, Osbourne dedicated his life to farming, an economic venture from which he was able to support his six children, wife, and grandchildren.

He was described by many who gave reflections at his birthday party as a community-minded person, who inspired many generations. He also served the Jamaica Labour Party as a delegate for many years.

The centenarian, who currently serves as an active deacon in the Giblatore Baptist Church, told Rural Xpress that he believed his long life was due to his obedience to God's command to honour one's parents.

"Mi obey mi parents as a child growing up, you see, mi mother and father raise mi strict. Mi learn to farm cause mi father teach mi farming. Mi ah good farmer, mi grow the best yellow yam in Giblatore," Osbourne said.

He recounted for Rural Xpress a life punctuated with near misses while growing up, highlighting one particular incident where he fell from his employer's boat in the ocean, while on farm work in the United States.

"Mi really blessed. Mi can't swim, mi think say mi would drown. Nobody see when mi fall out. Mi nuh know how it happen but mi get close to shore and somebody save mi," the senior citizen said, adding that he also escaped the clutches of armed robbers and other life-threatening situations during his long life.

Osbourne was very critical of the price of basic food items today, pointing out that back in the days, he would spend five pence for a pound of beef and two pence for a pound of rice.

Osbourne, who has seen four generations including 20 grandchildren, 10 great-grand, five great-great-grand and one great-great-great-grand, calmly declared that despite the fact that he does not suffer from any major health issues, the remainder of his time on earth is already predestined by God, so he cannot say how much longer he will be around.

Former Jamaica Labour Party member of Parliament, Enid Bennett, who attended Osbourne's birthday party, reflected on the many years he functioned as a delegate for the party.

"Elijah was a very dependable person whom I could rely on as a functionary in the area. He never cheated anyone of anything," the former MP recalled.

Meanwhile the Reverend Denzil Jack, pastor at the Giblatore Baptist Church, used the occasion to present a plaque to Osbourne, thanking him for his commitment to the church and community.