Reba Hicks

Reba Hicks

Let’s get this out of the way up front: Reba Hicks’ birthday will probably be more fun and energetic than yours.

At 104 years old, people meeting you for the first time might have a misconception or two about what to expect. Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart, or so it’s been said. Apparently Hicks is braver than most.

“I grew up in Frankston,” Hicks said. “It’s more like Mayberry that you would think.”

This is how an interview with a 104 year-old with a sense of humor goes. You might think you know what to expect. You absolutely don’t.

This beautiful lady was more on her game than many people you might meet in any setting, let alone an assisted living facility. She is an absolute delight. Articulate and graceful with a welcoming smile, she makes you wonder if maybe she miscalculated her age by several decades. She also loves to laugh, and doesn’t wait on anyone else to make that happen.

“You know we all were on the party line back then,” Hicks said while telling about her younger days in Frankston. “Our operator was named Beryl. Sometimes we just picked up the phone and started talking to her because we knew she was always listening.”

Hicks relayed stories of her childhood. She walked to school, just like the tall tales our parents always told.

“We walked,” Hicks said. “It was about a mile. But if the weather was bad, we’d go in the car.”

When the inevitable question about her secret to longevity came up, she was thoughtful in her answer.

“I don’t think I do anything different than anyone else does,” Hicks said. “I walk every day. I love to walk so it doesn’t feel like exercise. I just love doing it.”

Other than that, she admits to drinking a lot of milk.

“I have milk with every meal,” Hicks said. “Maybe that’s it.”

She reads a lot as well. Her favorite book is “Interwoven,” a true story about two families who built ranches in West Texas in the years following the Civil War, and intermarried to form a dynasty. She said that she loves how it sweeps her away to another time and place, and how it’s very real in her mind.

Perhaps that’s the secret. Most of us half her age can’t recall details with half the ease she displays.

She had many stories. Stories of life in a small town. Stories of traveling all over Texas, and eventually all over the world.

“We used to travel around Dallas and Fort Worth to the north to avoid the big cities when we went west,” Hicks said. “One trip we ended up in Fort Griffin, and it turned out to be the headquarters of the two families from the ‘Interwoven’ book. It was just a wonderful accident!”

That trip eventually became the catalyst for visiting every historical fort in the state.

In the early 90s, Hicks made her way to Russia with her husband and some friends. She talked about how many of the beautiful churches and buildings were just empty shells. Elaborate on the outside but nothing on the inside.

She also met Lenin. Sort of.

“He was laying there in his clear box and I was looking at him,” Hicks said. “All of a sudden I saw his chest go up and down. Lenin is still breathing.”

Laughter ensued. But not everything she saw during her travels triggered a humorous response. She talked also about seeing the concentration camps in Poland, and how unfathomable that anyone could make such a terrible mark on history.

“We had no idea we’d see all that in our lifetime,” Hicks said.

Hicks has four children; Jack, Steve, Joe and Judy, and more grandchildren and great grandchildren than she can count.

Judy will, no doubt, handle the birthday celebration because “Judy handles everything,” Hicks said with a smile. “I just show up.”

Is there a secret to longevity? It’s a mystery. But a betting man might suggest that somebody upstairs might feel like the world could use the light provided by such a sweet and beautiful soul.

Seems like a great answer.

Here’s to 104 years Reba Hicks, and many, many more.

Trending Video