Parading for 107 years of life


SWAINSBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – The coronavirus has caused many things to come to a halt but it hasn’t stopped love from spreading in Swainsboro. Specifically at the PruittHealth nursing home in town.

“To be her age, she’s super energetic, super fun, super loving, super caring. There’s nothing she hasn’t forgotten,” said Gary Hackett.

Would you call yourself kind of famous?

“No, I call myself ‘Ole Maid,'” exclaimed Inez Fletcher.

Ms. Inez, a Swainsboro native, has been through a lot. May 1, Ms. Inez turned 107 years young.

Cars lined down Highway One South to parade around the PruittHealth nursing home to show love to all of their patients, especially Ms. Inez. 

Hackett, who is also one of Ms. Inez’s many grandkids said, “I thought it was excellent. Just not for my grandmother but for all the people out here to get that love because they’ve been on the inside so long.”

“Hey! Why didn’t you tell them about fooling me to shuck that corn,” asked a family member of Ms. Inez.

She responded, “I didn’t fool ya’ll! All I had to do was tell you!”

Throughout Ms. Inez’s life, her mind and heart have always been open. 

“She took care of other people’s kids. Not just the African-American(s) but the caucasian races. She raised kids. Her face was the first face they say when they was little. First thing in the morning, at night. Even they’re older, some are now 60, 70, 80 years old and they’re successful. And they always come and they call her ‘Ma Beck,’ explained Hackett.

While caring for others is one of Ms. Inez’s favorite things to do, she also loves to fish. And she was a “foodie” before foodies were a trend.

Hackett said, “My mom, she created my grandmother’s, I call it her store. Her little dresser it’s got so many pies and oranges and cookies. I said, ‘Girl, you’re never going hungry are you?’ ‘No! I ain’t going hungry. Look up in my refrigerator. I got juice too!”

“Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, chicken,” said Ms. Inez.

Right now, visitors are not allowed inside the nursing home because of COVID-19 but Ms. Inez’s family visits often from outside her window. 

Hackett said, “Sometimes I’ll be sitting with her and she’ll say, ‘I don’t know why God keeping me here.’ And I say, he’s keeping you here for us.”

Ms. Inez told me the secret to live a long life is to pray.

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