Clarendon’s Hilda Beason marks 100 by strength of God

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CLARENDON centenarian Hilda Beason never expected to make it to 100 but believes that it’s a reward from God for taking care of His servants over the years.

“Me never expect mi wud a live so long. Mi live 30 years over mi limited time,” the elated senior citizen told the Jamaica Observer last month during a celebratory dinner with friends and family at Tandoor Kabab Zone, in Ochi Rios St Ann, on May 18, four days after reaching the enviable milestone.

However, the warm-spirited and cheerful senior citizen who is well known in her community of Peckham, Clarendon, as a shopkeeper, farmer, baker extraordinaire for Jamaican delights such as cornmeal and potato pudding, ‘drops’ and ‘grata’ cake, and a virtuous woman of God also credited her long time to being a good neighbour.

But most importantly, for always looking out and caring for the many different pastors and their families who have travelled to her community to guide the flock at the Peckham New Testament church, where she has been worshipping for over 60 years.

“God reward mi, me tek good care of him servant dem, mi look afta dem, mi see to it that dem get things when dem nuh have it, me leave mi bed and give some, me give mi house, sometime all nine months, mi living room mi give dem when dem newly come and nuh have nowhere to stay, and me see to it that dem get food and every little thing me have mi run carry it go gi dem.

“Mi love the man of God and mi try to help dem in any little way I can and mi feel say that alone a part a mi blessing,” the mother of five reasoned.

‘Mama Beason’, as she is affectionately called, also made it clear that she not only extended a hand of kindness to the church ministers, but to everyone who was in need.

“Mi learn to share everything wey mi have, nothing no too good fi mi share, mi love share, everybody [if] wey mi know have need and mi have it, mi help,” she said.

Friends and family members who had made the trek from Peckham and surrounding communities to celebrate her life all attested to her kindness, her determination to succeed and her love for her family and God.

Two of her children who were present, Ansel Beason and Rosyln Parish, both expressed joy at her achievement and lauded her for being a ‘remarkable’ mother.

“When I was going to school our uniform was always well pressed with seam and starched, which other students used to admire and wonder what my mother use to keep us looking so clean every morning,” Beason said.

But overall, he said, “she is just a loving person and who is always cautious, thinks before she acts, and it is just a blessing to see her at this age and I think what contributes to it is the type of person she is. She is not rowdy, she don’t get into things that can’t benefit her and that is one of the things I love about her.”

Parish also found it a blessing to experience her mother’s milestone and most importantly to share it with her while she was in her right mind.

“One of the most admirable things about my mother is her love for her kids and she still argues with us, banter back and forth and to know that she still has that capacity is very admirable because most persons at her age are senile,” she said.

Parish who gifted her mother with $100,000 – representing a payout of $1,000 for each year that she has lived – also expressed that she was grateful that her mother was still very active and has the mental capacity to live on her own, although she has a caregiver.

“Right now she does everything — she reads, she sews on machine, she still bakes and go on her farm and cuts her own banana if she needs to,” she noted.

Born in Cave Valley, St Ann, Beason, who was the last remaining of four siblings, moved to Peckham 81 years ago with her partner, Joseph Beason, who became her husband a year later.

“Over 60 years married life we have and it was 17 years we live before we have the first pickney,” she boasted, while revealing that she got married at age 20.

When asked what was her secret to longevity, she said: “The Bible say a death must part a marriage and fi live a life of Christ you caa bruck it but plenty people bruck it and lickle afta dem go get divorce, but it no reasonable because if yuh married the Bible say a death must part it.”

She quipped that she could have remarried after her husband died but “neva love nobody again”.

The still active and sharp- minded Beason was asked what advice she would give to young women today and she noted that “the greatest thing is behaviour and if you is Christian you must live a Christian life and live a clean and upright life, and if you are sinner you must give your life to Christ because a life without him is nothing”.

When asked if there was anything occurring presently in Jamaica that concerned her, she pointed to the crime situation but described it as biblical ‘fulfilment’.

“What’s going on in the country is fulfilment a di Lord because he said when his time is near we will see things wey all fi we grandparents never see dem because we are in a perilous time.

“When in a fi mi young days the pastors a preach about perilous times and we did a wonder fi know what it is about, but him say perilous times will come when children will be against parents, parents against children, people will just want do anything, kill and do wicked things and it is what a gwaan now because its perilous time now and the thing is that people naa listen and read dem Bible,” she suggested.









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