Aunt Ruby’s List for a Long Life

Aunt Ruby at her 99th Birthday Party

Aunt Ruby was my great-aunt; my maternal grandmother’s sister.  She grew up in the community of Wagner, Texas; a farmer’s daughter.  She and my grandmother, Lois married cousins so that even in marriage, they shared the same last name, Thomason.  The two sisters had their differences, though.  Ruby went on to further her education, moved to the big city of Dallas, and worked outside of the home.  My grandmother continued on in the small farming community she was raised in, living right across the road from her childhood home, and there, she raised her two children.

If I was to try to describe Aunt Ruby, I would use the adjective “spunky”.  Even as she progressed in years, she continued to work at Payne’s Grocery in Caddo Mills, Texas.  She walked to work every day.  If a train stopped on the tracks between her house and the store, she simply crawled under it and kept on towards her job as checker.  Every one loved her and called her, “Momma Tom”:  short for Momma Thomason.  She made it her goal to live a productive life.  Her sister, her parents, and even her husband preceded her passing from this life but she strove to make it to her 100th year marker.  She almost made it.  I was honored to attend her 99th Birthday Celebration.  Ruby glowed with all of the attention showered her way.  She was presented with a large box full of cards and well wishes and she wanted to read them all, right then.  They placed a crown on her head and she was so pretty to me…like a child.

I wish she had made it to her 100th, but it was not to be.  Her 99th was her last celebration and I’m glad that her children kept it well.

In her later years, Ruby was asked to make a list, kind of a recipe, of what she felt had let her have such a good, long life.  I am pleased to be able to present you with her list.


  1. Get up every morning about 6:30 am.
  2. Repeat the 23rd Psalm.
  3. Read the Bible.
  4. Pray.
  5. Attend church regularly.
  6. Devote your life to God.
  7. Exercise.
  8. Don’t smoke or drink.
  9. Think of ways to make life more enjoyable for others.
  10. Stay active…Senior Citizens: working in the yard, cleaning the church, visiting the elderly.
  11. Have a devoted family like mine…love them like I do!
  12. Have at least four kids.
  13. Take vitamins.
  14. Eat three regular meals a day.
  15. Drink 1 cup of coffee a day.
  16. Drink plenty of milk and water.
  17. Drink a moderate amount of tea.
  18. Don’t drink carbonated drinks.
  19. Have lots of hobbies…collecting neat stuff.
  20. Have a cat that loves you…like Kathy.

Love, Ruby Thomason

July 2007

Well, it’s too late for me to have a fourth kid, but maybe I can do most of the rest. I especially enjoy tip #10…visiting the elderly.  That just shows you how young Aunt Ruby was in her heart.  I don’t think she ever considered herself to be in that category.  Maybe, there lies her secret.

Aunt Ruby, top right, pictured with her sister, Lois, their parents, her son, Bobby, and my mother, Theta