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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Proudly singing her religious songs, Irene Barrington declared, “I love my singing and I love everybody who loves their singing.”
Singing is Irene’s favourite pastime, especially now that her health, in the past three weeks, has deteriorated somewhat.
So, at 104 she spends a lot of time singing and lying down.
Celebrating her birthday with her children and other relatives at Robert Trace in Fyzabad on Saturday, Irene serenaded herself and others.
After singing “One Day At a Time, Sweet Jesus,” she joked with Guardian Media’s video journalist Ivan Toolsie asking, “What you want better than that, nothing.”
This mother of eight, grandmother of 25, great-grandmother of 45 and great-great-grandmother of 60, also has a saucy mouth. Three of her children have since died.
Her second-born, Miriam Floyd, 76, said her mother always had a hot mouth and was a very forthright person.
“She was a very hard working person, a no-nonsense person. The way she brought us up the things children doing now ah days we could not do that. Her mouth was very saucy, it still hot. She was a very serious person. She never bring up children anyhow or wayward. Up to now, I am 76-years-old and I never one day steups or say damn in front of my mother to tell you how we grow with that respect. She said her mother, an Independent Baptist, also ensured that they went to church every Sunday even if they were sick.
Their father passed away in 1992 at the age of 78. Irene grew up in George Village, Tableland and did domestic work. As for her mother’s secret to longevity, Floyd said, “Is through God. God has her living for so long.”
She is the longest living person in the history of their family. She said her mother used to get up, wash her clothes and cook, but she has not been well in the past few weeks.
Despite her age, Floyd said her mother never had any special diet. While Irene ate whatever she felt like, her favourite meals are yam and salt-fish and fish and coo-coo. The great-great-grandmother had this message for the young people, “Obey your parents and the elderly.” Asked what was her birthday wish, Irene said, “Everything I get today.”
Acknowledging her failing health, she said, “I cannot work again. I have to rest now. All I could do is sit down and sing.”
After giving a rendition of Holding On To Jesus, she said, “I just love my singing. I singing in the day, I sing in the night. I singing all the time.”
The family got a beautiful birthday cake for her and celebrated her life with prayer.