LAURINBURG — Mildred McCall’s big day finally arrived.
The staff at Prestwick Village where McCall lives said she had been talking about little else in the days leading up to her significant birthday.
McCall, who turned 100 on Friday, was surrounded by family, friends and admirers to celebrate a century on Earth.
“One hundred years ago you warmed (your) mother’s and father’s heart and you’ve just been doing it ever since,” said Paula Jones, nursing director.
As part of the birthday celebration, McCall’s loved ones reminisced about her accomplishments as a businesswoman, loving mother and community leader.
“She was a very successful business woman and a good mother to me and allowed me to do a lot of things growing up that wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise if had not been for her business and being successful,” said McCall’s son, Gib.
Chris English, director of the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed that McCall was a savvy businesswoman. She opened Mildred’s Flowers in Laurel Hill in 1955. She sold the flower shop in 1988 and the new owner kept the name, Mildred’s Flowers.
“I am honored and blessed to be here with you today,” English said. “Being a native of Scotland County, I’m very familiar with Ms. Mildred. I’ve been familiar with (her) business. I would love to sit down and listen to some of those stores that we can’t hear today.”
Rachel Moore, a former manager at Prestwick said that McCall was the resident pianist for Prestwick after she moved to the facility about 10 years ago.
“I tell you what, she cracked a mean whip with that choir. You be there on time and if you couldn’t be at practice then you didn’t sing at the birthday party,” she said.
Moore said last year she was able to record McCall dancing in the hallway at her 99th birthday.
“Anytime I get down missing Prestwick, I just stroll through my pictures and I find that video of Ms. Mildred doing her jig at 99 years old,” she said.
Pastor Lamar Smith, Laurel Hill United Methodist Church, also spoke highly of McCall, where she played the organ for 46 years; every Sunday and at countless practice sessions by the choir, which she also directed for a time.
“If I had to pick out someone in this room that is 100 years old, I don’t think she’d be the one,” Smith said.
When it was his turn to say a few things, Gib McCall had a tough time. His words were replaced with tears.
He thanked everyone who took time out to celebrate with his mother.
“A couple of things in life, not many things in life you can do anything about. We certainly can’t choose our parents,” he started to say.
His wife Carol finished it for him, “he would have picked Mildred.”
Although it was her day and she would smile as speakers took turns at the podium wishing her a happy birthday, Mildred McCall lavished most of her attention on her great grandsons.
After getting a little help from great-grandsons Renger, 3 and Rowdy, 2, to blow out her birthday cake candles, Mildred McCall simply said, “I hope I have several more birthdays.”
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.