Portales honors nonagenarians

By Mike Linn

For an elderly woman, Ruth Creighton sure is an energetic sort, smiling and carrying on with friends, laughing and listening to stories.
Creighton, 92, was one of 15 seniors over 90-years-old who met at the Portales Senior Citizens Center’s annual non-agenarian tea party Wednesday afternoon.
She brought with her a quick-witted charm and a few jokes about getting old.
“Don’t you think you’re going to turn old hanging out with all us old people?” she joked with a reporter. “But we like for young people to pay attention, we sure do.”
The annual event is to appreciate seniors over 90 from the Eastern Plains. Most were from Portales, a few from Clovis and at least one calls Melrose home.
Some sat in wheel chairs while others used walking canes to help get around. Many were hard of hearing and a few even needed assistance eating and drinking.
But regardless of the physical downfalls of aging, aids in attendance said working with seniors make their job entertaining and enjoyable.
“Every day it’s something different that they will tell us, like stories about the depression, about living without electricity, about driving 500 miles to go to school,” said Charlene Carter, and employee at the center. “It is just a gratifying job to work every day with seniors. I couldn’t have a better job.”
Tea party planners awarded Carlos Pena, 94, the king of longevity. Gladys Wood, 98, came with her son Bill Wood and was crowned the queen, the oldest lady in attendance.
“We’re really glad to be here; we think it’s a nice honor for somebody to achieve,” Bill Wood said.
Describing the time she spent with her son and others at the party Gladys added, “Naturally we had a good time, we get along good.”
Senior Citizen Center director Jim Good said he also had a good time, and added that working with seniors is a gratifying, joyful experience.
“Many of these people were the pioneers of our community,” Good said. “I love the stories of all the pioneers. … I like working with seniors and being able to help them in the community.”
Many of the seniors at the party live in nursing homes or senior centers in the area. They say games like dominoes and reading the morning newspaper keep them entertained throughout the day.
“We play dominoes, a whole lot,” Creighton said. “That’s about the best part of the day. We play in the morning and in the evening and at supper time.”
Asked if she’s any good at the game, Creighton replied: “Oh, we think we are. You know when you sit down to play you know one side is going to get beat.”