100 years young

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Alma Dennis will celebrate 100 years of life on Saturday at the Lemann Center in Donaldsonville with her family and friends.

Alma Dennis was born in 1914, the same year World War I began. It wasn’t until she was about 14 that bubble gum had been invented and the first Mickey Mouse cartoon was aired. She’s seen the Great Depression and World War II. She’s even seen segregation at its peak. Ironic to her she even helped install the first black president of the United States when she first voted for Barack Obama in 2008. She’s seen it all.

With her 100-year birthday on Saturday, March 1, Dennis can only attribute her life span to one thing: “do good to others and God will do good to you.”

“With the help of God, I’ve gotten this close to 100,” she said at her home in St. James. “He gave me 10 children and only one he took from me. I have nine left and I’m making to 100 with the nine.”

Dennis believes firmly in the golden rule and said whatever a person plants is going to come back to them.

When she goes to the doctor’s office they all want to know if she’s really Alma Dennis. They ask her how she’s made it so long. She answers with a simple; the mercy of God.

“I was raised do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Dennis said, who still sings in the choir at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. “By me doing good to others, it’s coming back. I thank God through it all, I’m here.”

Her husband, Austin, passed away in 2000 and her father actually lived to be 102 and had an older sister lived to be 103. There is nothing that can sway her to believe that having good character won’t reward her.

She remembers having good and bad days raising her children but said you have to have the Lord with you and “he’ll bring you through.”

Dennis remembers a lot of stuff. She remembers things like the old wash boards and irons and she even remembers going to school in church first and then eventually a Society Hall before being placed in an actual school building.

Looking at the times of today, Dennis said there is a big difference in the way children are being raised.

“What they’re doing we couldn’t,” Dennis said, “but you have to talk to them and make them come to where you are.”

“You have to tell them what you want them to do and how to do it and make sure they do it.”

She remembers chastising her children and laughed at the fact that her favorite chastening tool was a wet dish towel. She said nowadays parents aren’t doing those things.

“The world has really turned from where I come,” Dennis said. “It’s just another generation, another action and belief. But there isn’t but one way – the right way.”

“They aren’t praying enough and aren’t trusting God, they’re trusting themselves and want to go with the world. He’s never changed and will always be God.”

As far as the world around her, nobody can tell her anything bad about “her president.”

“He has a hard time but I pray for him because he’s for the right thing. He’s trying to help everybody but they can’t see that,” Dennis said. “I know better.”

Her children have arranged for a centennial celebration of Dennis’ life on Saturday at the Lemann Center in Donaldsonville. Dennis’ daughter, Irma Dennis Varner who lives in New York, said the family is blessed to have “our mother with us for 100 years.”

“We are happy to have her with us and she is still in charge and giving her rules and regulations,” Varner said. “We always say to her that she still has a lot of work to do that why she’s still here. God is keeping her here to keep us in line.”

Varner added, “I’m certainly glad to be here for here centennial celebration and we are going to put it on and do it in the Lord’s name.”