Mattie Miller sings her favorite songs as she turns 100 today

Feb. 08, 2013 @ 05:04 AM

Sitting comfortably in her scooter in the living room of her of Ridgecrest Street in Rutherfordton, Mattie Miller smiles when she talks about her favorite song. 

Shortly after the smiles and with a little bit of encouragement she begins,  "I'm talking about. . .Give that old time religion, Give me that old time religion." She sang another verse of the old gospel song, "It was good enough for my mama . . ."

Today Miller turns 100 years old and said she'll celebrate her birthday with a party Saturday at St. John's Church near her home. Her large family and lots of friends will be there and there will be singing. 

Miller was born in Polk County on Feb. 8, 1913, grew up on a farm and attended school until about the sixth grade, she said. "But that was just two or three days a week and the other days we farmed," Miller said."My daddy had a farm and we worked. School was 10 miles away," she said.

Miller fell in love and married Robert Miller and the couple have seven children, some born in Polk and some in Rutherford County.  All are still living and at least one child comes to her home every day to do the chores and cook.

"I can cook. I used to cook," Miller said. " "So when I get hungry . . . I'll cook something myself," she grinned. She makes beans or soup.

Her children are Hazel Miller, Robert D. Miller, Charlie Miller, Wilma Carson, Albert Miller, Ernestine Payne and Bobby Ray Miller. One son is not well and lives in Black Mountain.

After Mr. Miller farmed in Polk County they family moved to Rutherford. "He wanted to get a mill job," she said. He worked at Spindale Mills for many years. He died at age 90.

On Thursday it was daughter Hazel Miller's turn to spend the day with her mother. "I'm cleaning today," she said scampering through the house with a cleaning rag and bottle of spray cleaner. Miller is retired from R-S Central High School and says helping taking care of her mother if a part of living.

Hazel Miller said, as a child growing up Mattie taught her children to take care of themselves, told them not to drink alcohol and told them, "your character is sometimes all you have."

Miller used to read her Bible every day, but a problem right eye prevents her from reading now. "No favorite verse, I like the whole Bible . . . no favorite stories,  I like all the good stories," Mattie said.

Although in reasonably good health except for her eye, Miller said, "the doctor says I have that old-timey arthritis." She uses her scooter to get around the house because of the arthritis.

She's never been in the hospital and has only had one major test at the hospital. All her children were born at home. "I don't want to go to the doctor," she said.

Mattie said she got her faith from her mother and to this day, she is still passing her faith on to the other generations in her family.

"I have grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren," Mattie said, pointing to a photograph of a son, grandson and great-grandson.

Dozens of photographs are on desks, tables and the walls.

"This is my son," she said, pointing to one of boys.

She plans to be at St. John's Church tomorrow for the official birthday party and where she hopes they'll be plenty more singing of her favorite song, "Talking about. It was good enough for mama . . . It was good enough for me," she sang along.