107 and still going ‘strong’
MELVILLE WILLIAMS may be 107 years old but he is far from ready to check out.
Despite admitting he never thought to make it past 100, Williams said he was now ready to take on a wife.
“If I could find a woman now who had a car, I would get married again so if you know any retired nurses, send them my way,” he told the WEEKEND NATION team with the old twinkle still in his eye.
Williams is no stranger to the NATION as he has been featured multiple times, which he well knows as he remains an avid reader, no glasses necessary. The oldest male in Barbados, he said he still felt more than good.
“I feel excellent – the walking is poor now but the brain still good,” he said.
Williams regaled the team with multiple stories from days gone by, reminiscing about his leatherworking days, his plantation days, his butchering days and more.
In truth, some of his stories would be better appreciated by someone more familiar with such times but they were entertaining nonetheless.
Never forgetting his role as a host, Williams frequently asked the team whether they wanted anything to drink or if they would rather move inside but sitting with him on his cool porch was just fine.
His doting daughters, June Williams-Newton and Catherine Lynch, as well as granddaughter Carol Williams-Nightingale, were with him in Lonesome Hill, St Peter, when the team passed. They had all just come back from a party thrown for Williams by Scotiabank in commemoration of his age and the number of years he had been a loyal customer to the organisation, more than 20 years.
Melville Williams with a Nation newspaper. He reads one daily and does so without glasses.
The women said their patriarch was fiercely independent and insisted on doing things for himself.
“He manages his own hygiene and pays his own bills – he doesn’t want anyone else doing it. He doesn’t like you to help him do anything – you can’t put on his shoes or socks,” said Lynch.
Williams-Newton confirmed her father’s independence and added her own thoughts on her father reaching such a ripe old age.
“I think it’s remarkable to have a parent reaching this age considering he never expected to pass 100 but he flew past that. It is truly amazing to see him every year with a strong mind, strong voice and strong hands, which he has because he worked with them for more than 80 years,” she said.
Williams-Nightingale informed the team of her grandfather’s favourite drink – Hennessy with five, and just five, that’s important, drops of bitters; ginger wine and Sprite. Williams himself made no bones about his tastes, making it perfectly clear he enjoyed a brandy on a daily basis as well as giving insight into his diet.
“Since 1955 I have been drinking a brandy twice a day. I don’t eat a lot of rice and peas and I don’t like okras. I eat ham and eggs every morning with fruit and on evenings, either ham again or flying fish and greens [vegetables],” he said.
While Williams remembers his past fondly he is firmly rooted in the present. He realises the past is the past and he is living his present one day at a time, God willing.
“I have passed those days and I am happy with what I have now. I bring nothing in, I will take nothing out,” he said.
With that, the interview was over. Williams had an eventful day and it was time for him to rest. Even so, he had one more duty to fulfil, sending the team on their way with some helpful advice on how to exit his property, instructions his daughter said were very important to him.
If you are curious, then go drive up Lonesome Hill, pay him a visit and let him tell you himself.