101 and going strong

Published 3:17 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

It’s one feat to be 101 years old. It’s another to still be active and independent. Ruby Wegener of Clanton has achieved both.

Wegener says staying active is the very thing that’s allowed her to keep her health despite her age.

“I’ve been busy all my life,” she says. “It keeps me going.”

It might take Wegener longer than usual to answer the phone, but it likely won’t be because she’s taking a rest.

“I’m just up and around, as busy as a bee,” she said when contacted for an interview.

Today is Wegener’s 101st birthday, though she said she doesn’t seem to feel 101 and never dreamed she would live that long.

People kid her about raking leaves in the yard, and she even kept a garden up until about two years ago.

“It was a lot of fun and a lot of good eating,” she said.

Wegener still cooks and eats a variety of foods, which she also attributes to her longevity. These items include beans, peas, okra, turnip greens, and a variety of meats.

“And I love sweets,” she was quick to add.

There are two things Wegener doesn’t do — drive a car and mow the lawn. However, she did drive up until about 15 years ago and never had a single wreck.

“There’s too much traffic out there to fight,” she says of today’s highways.

Wegener has plenty of family members to help her celebrate. Her son, Lellwyn Lackey, lives here in Clanton and her other son, Derwyn, resides in North Carolina.

Wegener also has a daughter, Joyce Bunn, in Florida and two deceased daughters, the late Frances Ambrose and the late Jane Rogers.

Then there are her grandchildren and great grandchildren, which are “too many to count” and span four generations (that’s three greats).

Wegener, a longtime Clanton resident, moved here from Birmingham but grew up on Sand Mountain. She was married most recently to the late Herman Wegener.

Today, her church family at Concord Baptist Church is helping her celebrate with a special birthday party.

If there is one bit of wisdom Wegener would share, it would be this:

“We don’t get too old to learn,” she said.