KATHLEEN Maud Edwards Tracey is full of surprises at 101 years old.
To the amazement of many, the centenarian still enjoys preparing her own meals, as well as sewing and gardening.
But there are even more surprises: She reads without glasses, walks without a walker, and is still able to prepare her own needle and thread for sewing.
"I still string my needle. All my children use glasses," she said, highlighting the strength of her sight.
Aunt Kathleen, as she is affectionately called by many, has lived in Sturge Town, St Ann, almost all her life and many believe that she is one of the many residents who have reaped long life from drinking water from the community water source, the Marley Spring.
Tracey said that she gives thanks daily for life and her ability to still do several things around the house.
"Everything mi say thank you Jesus, not my will but thine be done," she said.
Although having a caregiver, at 101 Tracey does almost everything around her house, which includes sweeping her yard and planting food items.
When the Jamaica Observer visited her home recently, Tracey said that she had planted some peas early that very morning.
She also showed some of the steam fish head, one of her favourites, that she had prepared earlier.
She pointed out that it was the decision of her children for her to have a helper, as she still enjoys doing things around the home.
"Mi do everything fi miself but mi pickney dem no want mi do it so dem get mi a helper," the jovial Tracey said.
"Dem take care a mi, man," she added.
Tracey, who visits the doctor by herself, said that she experiences no pain, and apart from high blood pressure and diabetes which she was diagnosed with over 50 years now, she has no complaints.
"Mi pickney dem seh mi hide and go a doctor t'rough mi no want nobody follow me," she joked.
Tracey, who goes to nearby Brown's Town by herself, said that she often hears people marvelling at her strength.
"Mi always hear dem say 'si di 100-year-old woman deh a walk without stick'," she stated.
"Mi no feel no pain," she added.
The mother of six, two of whom have predeceased her, said that "the grace of almighty God" has kept her through all these years.
Tracey, who has a sharp memory, remembered her younger years in Jamaica's second free village.
"We grow with love for each other. We don't leave each other going to church and school," she said.
Tracey said that the young people in those days, respected their elders more than these today.
The well-loved community member also spoke of raising her own children.
She said that raising her children brought joy as they were well disciplined.
"My children give mi no trouble. I couldn't tell any lie on dem," she said laughing.
Tracey said that she always had early morning prayer meetings with her children.
She said that when they were going out to high school she always charged them to be respectful.
"Mi tell dem if you ever come through this gate and make mi shame, I never stop pray to God until him kill you," she said.
"But mi never mean it," she laughed.
Tracey said that parents nowadays do not raise their children in the right way.
"Those who having children are also children, so they can't take care of children," she said.
She said that she had her first child at age 33.
Albert James, a deacon at Tracey's church, Sturge Town Baptist, said that Tracey is among those who age gracefully in the community.
"They (the elderly) not fool-fool," Tracey said.
James was among several persons who visited Tracey while she spoke to the Sunday Observer.
This tabloid was told that Tracey's home is always filled with visitors, including tourists who go to the community.
Tracey's warm and accommodating personality makes her home a haven for others.
Rev Dr Frank Lawrence spoke of her as a mother to the community.
"She is one of the greatest mothers I know," Dr Lawrence said.
He said that the elderly citizen commands respect from all.
Tracey, who was always a hard-working person, still loves to work, said Ionie McKenzie, a deacon at her church.
"She is an inspiration to children and the youth at church," McKenzie said.
Tracey said that she was active in her church from childhood. "I was a very vibrant young woman," she said "I start singing on the choir at 12."
The centenarian, who still goes to church where she still enjoys singing, also attends funerals, giving tributes at such events.
She said that she always tries to be strong at funerals for the families.
"Mi try not to cry," said Tracey, who attended a funeral only a week before the interview.
"She always encourage the young people to take a page out of the older ones' book," McKenzie said.
While she does not truly know why she has remained this strong over the years, Tracey said that she used to walk for miles to get water, as well as to go to the market, and this may have contributed to her strength.
Apart from her love for fish, Tracey said that she eats nothing special.
"Mi eat everything. Mi eat chicken; mi eat pork," she said.
However, she admitted that her appetite is smaller than it used to be.
The golden ager said that with her strength, she could live much longer if it is the will of God.
She looks forward to this, as her brother-in-law lived to be 109, and another former community member, reached the milestone of 119 years.