Troy octogenarian takes first trip to Walmart

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

Annie Bell Starks is pictured with family members, Berlinda Wright, Sharon Williams, Elizabeth Starks, Yvonne Starks, Jerome McBride and Desiree Wright. Not pictured, Stormy Wilson and Olivia Fryer.

Annie Bell Starks had never been to Walmart before.

If she had, she couldn’t remember it and it had to have been more than 30 years ago.

“I don’t go anywhere much since they took my leg off,” Starks said, as she waited to be wheeled into the Walmart in Troy Friday. “I’ve never been to any place like this. I would have remembered.”

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Starks’ first trip to Walmart was on the eve of her 82nd birthday. Her family had planned the trip as a birthday surprise.

“We wanted our mama to get to come to Walmart,” said Sharon Williams. “She doesn’t get out much and we thought this would be a real treat for her.”

Although Starks was in a completely new environment, she knew enough about Walmart from television commercials to know where she wanted to go.

“To the jewelry department,” she said. “I want to go get me a cross to wear around my neck. I love the Lord. I want a cross so that the Lord will know that I love him.”

She didn’t have to ask twice.

Almost before the words were out of her mouth, Starks was at the jewelry counter looking at herself in the mirror with a cross around her neck.

Then, she wanted to ride around and look at everything and buy several oatmeal pies.

She did take a few minutes to rest and look back on her life and how it was that she was such a long time in “coming to Walmart.”

Although, she can’t remember “all that far back,” Starks remembers the times she spent working in the fields.

“Those were good times,” she said. “I enjoyed myself. Didn’t have any choice though, but those were good times.”

Starks worked in the kitchen “cooking” at Troy High School and would have continued to work but lost her leg following complications from a circulation problem.

“I thought that was the end of me, but it wasn’t. But, since then, I can’t do much except wait,” she said. “I just sit and wait for somebody to come get me and take me off.”

She glanced at her family members and tried to hide the smile that indicated she was poking fun at them. They all shook their heads and laughed.

Starks said she spends her time reading the Bible and watching the game shows on television.

“Every one of them,” her daughter said, laughing. “And the soaps, too.”

A big “shin-dig” had been planned for Starks’ birthday today. And, following her excursion to Walmart, her family planned to treat her by taking her out for lunch.

“I think, I’ll just get me something to eat in here,” Starks said. “I’m here. I’ll just stay.”

And, it being Starks’ first trip to Walmart, her family was hopeful to be out of Walmart in time to celebrate her birthday, some 24 hours away.