Mavis Ethlyn Mitchell is one of the most pleasant centenarians that one could ever come across.
Her warm smile, love for God, and her constant jokes, has visitors forgetting all else as they bask in her presence. At 105 she still lights up a room.
The first sentence uttered upon introduction to the small-bodied woman wearing a floral dress, drew bouts of laughter from those around her.
"Mi glad fi see you come for you ago give me some money to buy mi drink," she said laughing. She then proceeded to disclose that she loves to drink Wincarnis Tonic Wine.
"Mi drink mi little beer and something, and mi drink mi wine too. I drink Wincarnis Tonic Wine. Mi not going drink to drunk, 'cause mi don't want drunk. Mi just want drink to satisfy," she said.
Her daughter Esmie Cameron, 71, hastily pointed out that she no longer drinks wine which was once one of her favourite drinks.
"Is long time now she don't drink," Cameron said. "But she use to drink her wine. She stopped drinking since she started going to church, so is a long time now."
That was in 2005 when Mitchell became a member of the Constant Spring Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Asked why she stopped drinking, Mitchell declared, "after dem nuh give mi. If dem give mi mi woulda drink it man!"
Mitchell was born on January 1, 1908 and grew up in Burnt Ground, Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth. She was raised by her parents Florence Blair and Richard Mitchell, along with four brothers and sisters. She was the eldest of the five. All her siblings have predeceased her.
Mitchell attended the Scofield Elementary in St Elizabeth before meeting and marrying the love of her life, David Mitchell.
She married at a young age and enjoyed her life, taking care of her children without the hassle of working out.
However, when her husband died while her 10 children were still very young, Mitchell had to take on the task of being both mother and father to them, as things got tough.
And even after the death of six of the children, the centenarian still took in five others and cared for them, including sending each one to school.
"Them father dead gone lef them and mi affi work like a man. Mi had to work like man and mine them, Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday. "Lawd have mercy, mi work like a bad cow. Mi plant up mi garden, plant gungo, corn, yam, sweet potato and sell. Mi plant up big place you know, plant flowers, everything. Food was there to kill when mi coulda work. And mi use to dig wid mi pickaxe and my hoe," she said.
Mitchell's husband died 64 years ago.
But remarrying, even to make things easier financially for herself and her children, was not an option for the single mother.
"The man dem a nuh good smaddy. Dem wild!" she said. "Dem wild like wild puss! So mi never bother worry (marry again) for them wild and mi nuh like that. Dem nuh nice at all."
And along with their unfaithful nature, Mitchell said that she did not want "any man to come and beat mi pickney dem".
As a child growing up, she loved the Revival Church and was an ardent member.
However, after moving to Kingston in 2002, she became a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"I like going to church. I was a church woman," she stated.
'Ms Mavis' or 'Auntie', as she is known to many, was said to be strict but kind and loving.
"She was very strict," her daughter Cameron said. "We couldn't do nothing wrong. But I am glad for the way she grow me. She was strict. I remember she would give us half-hour every Sunday to go next door and play, but when half-hour came she would stand topside the house and call us and we had to reach before she reach down to the house or she would beat us," Cameron said. "But she was kind and loving and she caring," Cameron added.
Despite being a single mom, another of Mitchell's daughters, Hazel Plummer recalled that she would take people's children in her house and care for them.
"She took five with us and took care of them and sent them to school," Plummer, who was present during the interview at the centenarian's Havendale home said. "And she love to give joke. She would let you laugh until you weak. And she still loves to give joke now."
Her children recalled that their mom would let everyone in the family go to church and when she visits church, everybody loved her and would gather around her to receive their hugs and kisses.
But in spite of her love for church and the fellowship she received there, Mitchell has been prevented from attending since January this year after she had an accident at home.
"She was going to the bathroom and slipped and fell in the passageway," said Cameron, who shares the home with her mom. "She fell in the passage and broke her hip and had to be hospitalised."
Her daughters and her caregiver, Audrey Heath said that prior to that, Mitchell was very active, doing just about everything.
"She would rake up the entire yard by herself, as big as it is," Cameron said. "She would dress herself and if you ever see how she throw the garbage bag over her shoulder and take it outside."
All that has stopped now, however, because she has to be dependent on a walker.
"She love God," Heath said. "Every morning she wakes up she prays and sings to God. She is always doing that. Not only in the mornings but right throughout the day in fact."
"I'm a child of God," said Mitchell, who has no problem remembering important things of the past. She still has good vision, while her hearing is not as sharp as it used to be.
Today, Mitchell is proud of her remaining four children, among them Hermine Mitchell, who resides overseas, and Clarence who lives in Jamaica. She is surrounded by over 50 grand and great grandchildren.