The memories and tales were told with laughter and smiles as I listened to Mattie's friends and family as they shared the stories of years past. This July marks the 112th year Mattie Crutchfield Bates has been blessed to make her life's memories.
Mattie was born July 28, 1900, just three years after the world's current oldest living person Besse Cooper.
It was the golden age of newspapers, before newsreels, commercial radio, television, or the Internet. Mattie recalls reading the news story about the sinking of the Titanic when she was just 12 years old. Mattie has lived through most of what we have only read about in books. Such events like The Great Depression of the 1930s, The Hindenburg Disaster in 1937 and Pearl Harbor bombed on December 7, 1941. Mattie was 35 years old when Elvis Presley was born.
She was 68 years old as she read of the tragedy on April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr was Assassinated on the streets of Memphis TN. Although Mattie has never had any children she admits she has lived a full and wonderful life.
I could see the joy in Mattie's eyes as she spoke to me about her life and the places and people she has known and loved. The light reflected her gold teeth as she smiled while church member Tanika Kelly sang "Grace" to her at the birthday celebration.
Who knows how many years we have on this earth or how many opportunities we have to share precious memories with those who are important to us. Too often than not we preoccupy ourselves with work and the struggle for the legal tender, not taking time for what life is all about each other. For most we measure time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, but it was clear to me as I watched Mattie in her eloquent way she has conquered time in smiles and memories.