Adams hits the century mark
by Danny Wade
Ruby Adams had the best Valentine’s present anyone can ask for last Tuesday. She turned 100 years old.
It’s not often someone lives long enough to be a centurion, but one born on Valentine’s Day makes it even more special. And those who know Miss Ruby, know just how special she really is.
Several of her close family and friends visited with Adams on her birthday. A beautiful bouquet of red roses was prominently displayed on the coffee table in her living room. Phone call after phone call came in, all wishing her a happy birthday.
Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes was one of those who visited her Tuesday afternoon. He read a proclamation, honoring Adams’ life and noting what a special lady she is.
Her pastor, Rev. Quill Brabham, also visited Tuesday and offered an inspirational prayer for Adams, her life, and all her family and friends.
“I come from a big family,” Adams recalled. “There were 11 children. We were farmers—raised our own food. We had hogs, chickens and cows. The farm carried us through winter. We killed hogs, canned (vegetables) and dried fruit.”
Adams was born in Mississippi but the family moved from one place to another. Being born in 1917, times were tough. She saw two World Wars and survived the Great Depression.
“I was obedient to my parents,” Adams said. “I didn’t give them no trouble.”
“That’s what the scripture says,” added her close friend, Ollie Farmer. “You live by the scripture.”
From her humble beginnings, Adams attended school in Baldwin, Miss. for three years. Sand Hill was a church and school combined. Sadly, she said the school was torn down to build a highway.
But it was during those early years of her life, she made some life-long friends. One was Earline Long. After her school days, both families moved but they kept in touch by writing letters.
Years later, Adams recalled one of the best days of her life. She and her husband went back to Mississippi to a Sunday singing.
“It was a big crowd,” Adams remembers. “We were in the back when she (Long) looked back. I said, ‘Oh Lord, that’s Earline’. Then she looked back again and came up through the crowd, running over people to see me. We hugged. I was so glad to see her and she was glad to see me.”
The two ladies continued to write letters to keep in touch. In one of those letters, Long said she had a baby girl, Mavielynn Naylor, and they were struggling.
“I had $13. We didn’t have bank account, it was money,” Adams said. “I put that $13 in a letter and sent it to her.”
During those days of the depression, $13 was a lot of money to most people.
Year’s later after Long passed away, Naylor had grown up, finished college, had a good life and retired. While the daughter was going through her late mother’s things, she found a box full of letters the two life-long friends had written. She found the letter Adams had sent her mom with the $13 included.
“I’ve had the same phone number for years,” Adams said. “She called the number (from the letters).”
A kind-hearted gesture of helping out a friend in need many, many years ago created a new life-long friendship decades later. Adams said she and Naylor talk on the phone every week now.
“I’ve learned about life and how to treat people, how to manifest ourselves through the grace of God.” Rev. Brabham said about the few years he has known Adams. “I’m honored to be called her pastor.”
Adams had one son, Russell Boyd Betts, known as R.B. She has three grandchildren, one great-grandchild and one great-great-grandchild.
Calvin Farmer noted that R.B. played professional baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs. The Monarchs were the longest running franchise in the history of baseball’s Negro Leagues.
Another of Adam’s family is not actually family. “She volunteered and called me her daughter,” Charlotte Austin said with a smile. They’ve had a mother/daughter relationship now for years.
Adams is a faithful member of Morning Star Baptist Church and attended regularly until she was unable to attend due to her health.
“She’s one of a kind,” Rev. Brabham said on Miss Ruby’s 100th birthday. “There’s no such thing as a perfect person, but she’s aged perfectly.”