By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – With 106 years to her credit, Mae Griffis was enjoying the birthday attention Friday morning.
“I’m having a big time,” said Griffis as she greeted a string of well-wishers at the Griffis House on the Traceway Retirement Community campus. She was born Dec. 9, 1905, and has lived in Chicago and Okolona.
Usually, Griffis doesn’t like to talk about her age. “If you ask her, she’s likely to say something smart,” said Green House guide Tarlyn Gates affectionately.
But Griffis wasn’t objecting to the spotlight on Friday.
“You bought me a hat,” Griffis exclaimed over one present. “I haven’t had a new hat in years.”
Entertainer Kay Bain serenaded Griffis with her favorite – “Amazing Grace” – and added holiday cheer with some carols.
Griffis was the oldest of the original group of elders who moved into the Griffis Green House six years ago, and by tradition, the house will always bear her name. She’s the only one of the house namesakes still living at Traceway.
Griffis has slowed down a little bit. When she first moved into the Green House, she would roll her wheelchair around, preach the gospel and sing “Amazing Grace” to anyone who’d listen.
These days, she doesn’t move around as much, and the singing and preaching don’t strike her as often. But her longtime caregiver Tina Washington said some things haven’t changed: “She loves drinking coffee.”