Ariel Christian, the daughter of Nettie Levy who lived to the age of 105, celebrated her 100th birthday among family and friends on Wednesday.
A resident of The Pines Retirement Home for the past seven years, Ms. Christian, fondly known by family members as “Ma-Ariel” and by close friends as “Bonga,” was all smiles as she received a birthday cake, flowers and cards.
Throughout the day, many people came to visit, including Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo, Minister Osbourne Bodden and Bodden Town candidate Dwayne Seymour. Former Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence read greetings from family and members of the community.
“Mary Lawrence, you be in everything … you’ll receive plenty blessings from God,” Ms. Christian told her.
Friends and family were at her bedside to sing happy birthday as she received her birthday cake.
“Give me a big piece of that birthday cake … it taste sooooo sweet … who made the cake? … Well, it’s made good and it tastes good too,” said Ms. Christian, smacking her lips after she was given a taste of the pink and white cake frosting by a Pines nurse.
“I feel very good but I don’t think I will live as long as Mama,” she said. “I just want to go to heaven when I die.”
She asked for her brother Cedric Levy, who turns 92 in July. “I suppose he can’t drive anymore,” she said.
Ms. Christian continued to identify family members. “Who are you, … Gerrilyn … Mary Christian … her daughter, oh! You mean Dell’s wife,” she said.
“Who’s that? Twyla … I can hear that voice anywhere, How you all got here? … unna all look good,” she added.
Corine Rankine and her daughter Vernell Byrd told their mother she looked good.
“Mama can still remember everything,” Ms. Rankine said. “Just the other day, she was asking about her nephew Olson and if he was still fishing and how the weather was for him.
Osbourne Bodden told how he had grown up around Ms. Ariel and her family. “I call her Bonga, and I guess I got this from others in the neighborhood and family as a youngster. She comes from a family of long livers – her mom, Ms. Nettie, went over 100 as well,” he said.
Mr. Bodden said it is “wonderful to have her with us so long,” and for her to still be of sound mind and know him still means a lot.
“She was so happy when my wife Nancy and I, along with Ms. Heather Bodden and Maxine Bodden, visited and joked with her and took her a lovely bouquet. The visit left me feeling so happy for her and her family. She is being cared for extremely well by The Pines staff, and I thank them profusely for the job they do daily,” Mr. Bodden said.
According to Mr. Bodden, the district now has three centenarians.
Ms. Christian grew up on Nettie Levy Close along with her seven siblings and parents.
She married the late Vibert Christian and they had three children, Vernell, Corine and Desmond.
Ms. Christian worked at the Bodden Town Clinic for a number of years before she retired, and was known as the best seamstress in Bodden Town, her daughter Corine Rankine said.
People from all over the island would come to get their clothes made by her, said Ms. Rankine.
In her spare time, Ms. Christian would ride her bicycle and enjoyed many a party in her day.
She also was one of the favorite cooks in the family and around the town. During Christmas time, she would prepare Cayman-style beef with Scotch bonnet peppers paired with sweet potatoes dug from the yard and breadfruit picked from her brother’s yard.