By:Sheila Ray Reed
The Houston Sun
For Mildred Washington Anthony who celebrated her 104th birthday with family, friends and church members at True Light Missionary Baptist Church, longevity is all about trusting in the Lord and allowing Him to lead.
“The Lord did it. The Lord kept me alive. Do you know the Lord,” she asked? “You know what he does for you; he will do for others. I trust in the Lord. I ask the Lord to keep me and be with me. Don’t leave me alone. I am going to let You lead me. The Lord, the good Lord. He loves you. He loves me. I know the Lord loves me because the Bible tells me so. That’s all I know; and it is no secret,” she boldly stated.
Anthony is an early riser and has a quick-witted mind that knows how to get you thinking. “When I woke this morning, I thought today is my birthday, and I am a year older than yesterday. Right now, being 104-years of age doesn’t feel any different from being 103-years of age,” she said with a sly laugh.
She goes on and says, “I hope you are getting something from the background. Always listen to the background when anybody is talking to you,” said Anthony. “You know what, a lot of things are better when you do it for yourself. It makes you feel better about yourself.”
Growing up in her birth town of San Augustine, Texas, Anthony worked in the cotton-fields all day to support her nine younger siblings after the death of their parents. After a long days’ work, she then would return home to prepare dinner for her brothers and sisters. Even with being the oldest, she has outlived them all.
“My daddy used to say, “always cover the ground you stand on. Stand-up and be a woman, Stand-up and be a man. Don’t let nobody push you around. Don’t let nobody run over you. Take the Lord along with you. He will run the old devil clean away. You won’t see him anymore if you keep the Lord with you. The old devil stays away, because he doesn’t like the things of God. That’s what my daddy spoke,” said Anthony.
Even though Mrs. Anthony is not physically able to do some of the things she used to enjoy they still resonate in her heart.
“I like to keep house. I like to dress up and look real good. I do. I’ve always like to dress up. But now I can’t do that. It’s not because I don’t like it. I still like it. I still like good housekeeping, a good clean house. I like to look different. You see me today; I have on such-a-such thing. You see me tomorrow; I have on something different and look better. Let the world turn,” she said.
Her faith and love of the Lord has sustained her through some trials and tribulations. After her husband passed, she moved to Houston to live with one of their three children. She joined True Light Missionary Baptist Church where she has been a dedicated and active member for 51 years.
Anthony’s children have all since passed. She still does have a supportive family of three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and eight great-great grandchildren; and two great-great-great grandchildren.
In addition, she has a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and a beloved church family.
Her grandson, Michael Given visits his grandmother every day and says that she has only been ill twice in her life.
“Last year and the year before, she was in the hospital for chest pains. But she overcame that. She is strong and knows how to say what she wants and needs. As she told you, she likes to take very good care of herself,” Given said.
Mrs. Anthony says there isn’t one thing that she feels is missing in her life. She just knows that God knew her before she was born a 104-years-ago and knows her the same yesterday and today.
“When you pray, you are talking to the Lord. When you are reading the Bible, the Lord is talking to you. That is the way it is. That’s the way it goes. That’s the way it is written. And when you read the Bible and it is something important, write it down so you will not forget,” said Anthony.