Sarah Ellis hits 100-year milestone
OLD HARBOUR, St Catherine:
She sat upright in her wheelchair doing justice to the sash across her chest with the word 'Queen'. Friday night at the Old Harbour Church of God of Prophecy on Bowers Drive, St Catherine, Sarah Cartoria Ellis' family and friends celebrated her one hundredth birthday in fine style.
The room was beautifully decorated, inspirational music played in the background, tributes flowed, but the real star of the night was the woman at the centre of attention bedecked in her shades and who interspersed the tributes with her loud shouts of praises to God and tear-filled prayers.
Overcome with Emotion
Overcome with emotion, she would often shout, "Thank you, Jesus! I am 100 years old! I was born on March 11, 1916!"
In an interview with Rural Xpress, Ellis said there is no real secret to her enjoying long life as it was all due to God?s goodness and mercy.
Twice, her story could have easily been written differently as on both occasions, she almost lost her life one in a car accident, and the other a freak of nature incident.
Outside of God's mercies, Sarah attributes her good health to her eating the fruit of the ground.
"My yellow yam, banana, breadfruit," she said enthusiastically, her energetic speech belying her frail frame.
Daughters Jocelyn Wynter, Ellen Ellis and Lilly Roye praised her for being a disciplinarian and one who instilled Christian values in them.
They also described their mother as one who was not afraid to do 'man's work'.
Saddled with an ailing husband, it was Sarah who tilled the field, planted crops and 'grab her cutlass' when it was needed.
Friend and relatives in their tributes lauded her for her hard work and dedication in how she cared for not just her own children, but also those with whom she came in contact.
Having lived a full life, Sarah has a lot to be thankful for and few complaints except for the way things have changed in the world now.
"Young people today have no manners. In my days, our parents didn't encourage us to keep too many friend and company," said the woman who hails from Brown's Town, St Catherine and attended Eccleston Primary.
Roye echoed the sentiments expressed by her mother as she described her as a homemaker and one who discouraged 'company'.
Her mother was also one who stuck to standard English. "We were not allowed to speak patois in the home as my mother never spoke broken English.
Church was a must, whether we had shoes or not," Roye related with a smile.
Niece Icy Porter perhaps captured the essence of the centenarian best with her recital of Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman, her lively action-filled rendition elicited cheers and smiles from the floor.
Sarah Ellis is the mother of seven children with five alive today.