Lola Hill reaches birthday milestone

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Features Editor

Only a small percentage of the world’s population lives to be 100 years old.

An even small percentage lives beyond that milestone. Lola Hill is in that small percentage.

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On May 10,

she celebrated her 102nd birthday and she did it with style.

Her family treated her to a party at Barnhill’s and showered her with gifts and love.

"What more could a 102-year-old woman want?" Mrs. Hill asked with a big, birthday smile.

But Mrs. Hill has more than most 102-year-olds – she has a fan club.

Parrish Bean, 9, of Troy is fascinated with Mrs. Hill.

He met Mrs. Hill while visiting his grandmother Teresa King, and started asking questions about her age.

"He said people don’t live to be 100," said King. ‘I took him two doors downs to meet her."

Mrs. Hill has 101 at the time of Parrish’s first visit. Parrish couldn’t believe that Mrs. Hill was 101 and still did her own housework and yardwork. Since that very first visit Mrs. Hill has had a special place in Parrish’s heart – he calls her "101" and she calls him "her baby."

"Her age makes her special to me," the 9-year-old said. "I like to help her out and she is very sweet to me."

Since Parrish met Mrs. Hill he had done a lot of good deeds for her. One year he even bought her a Christmas tree, put it up and turned the lights on for her.

Parrish made Mrs. Hill a promise when he met her. He promised her if she lived to be 102 he would give her $102. But like many children, that much money was hard to come by, so for her birthday he gave her a card with $1.02 in it. But, it’s the thought that counts.

Judging from Mrs. Hill’s appearance, one would never guess her age. She looks at least 30 years younger than her age and she acts even younger than that.

"I’m kinda spry for somebody my age," she said. "The Lord has been good to me."

If she knows the secret to a long, long life, Mrs. Hill isn’t sharing it.

"But, I just don’t know," she said. "I was raised on sweet potatoes – if that tells you anything – and hard work. And, I never spent a lot of time wanting for things I couldn’t have or didn’t need – if that tells you anything."

She has also eaten more than her share of pork – especially bacon and sausage -seasoned vegetables with a lot of grease and fried enough bread and fish to feed the world. "If that tells you anything."

"Maybe eating coon and rabbits and collards and peas, had something to do with living a long time," she said. " I’ve sure set down to a table of them many times."

However, Mrs. Hill said she believes what a person eats has less to do with the length of their lifespan than what they do.

"Hard work never killed nobody," she said. "I’ve work hard in my life and I’m still here and I’m a 102 years old. If that tells you anything."

Mrs. Hill was born on a farm near Luverne and grew up "picking cotton, pulling fodder, stacking peanuts and breaking corn."

For recreation, she swept the yard around her house clean, washed clothes in a pot over an open fire and cooked on a wood stove.

"Back then, you had to have fun when you could work it in," she said, laughing. "It wasn’t bad though, cause we didn’t know nothing different."

Although school was only

in session for a few months, Mrs. Hill had to quit school in the third grade to work in the field and around the house.

She had 10 brothers and sisters and she shouldered much of the responsibility of caring for the babies and the chores around the house.

"We had to do just about everything for ourselves," she said. "Just like coffee. We bought it in big ol’ grains and took it home and parched it. Then, we put it in a coffee mill that was nailed up on the wall and ground it up for our coffee. Nothing was easy. We had to work for whatever we got. (If that tells you anything.)

But, there is something Mrs. Hill failed to mention that her family thinks just might figure into her long life. And, that’s her positive attitude and uplifting spirit.

She has outlived all three of her children and most of her immediate family. Her nieces and nephews often tease her that she’s "trying to outlive all of us."

One of her nieces, kidded her, "You ain’t gonna out live me, though!"

Mrs. Hill

just smiled and nobody was taking any bets.

In all of her years, her health has been "pretty good." She did have a pacemaker put in when she was 97 "and that should do me for a while."

Even though her age is an amusing subject , the topic usually turns serious when Mrs. Hill deems the time is right.

"I know God has blessed me to let me live this long," she said. "I believe in prayer and I do love my church, Pilgrim Rest, and my ministers who have helped me along the way for so long, Rev. L.C. McMillian and Rev. Danny Harris. You can’t live this long with out God’s help and He’s helped me an awful lot."

Now, maybe that "tells you something."