For men, the average life expectancy in the United States is 78 years, while for women, it is 82 years.Only 1% of us will live to be 100 years old.A woman from Ozark County (who now resides in Springfield) had a great day on Thursday, August 25, as she turned 101.
Waukee Poe, an Ozarks native who has lived the majority of her life in and around Udall, Missouri, a small hamlet on the Missouri-Arkansas border on Norfork Lake, was honored at the Springfield Villa skilled nursing facility by friends and family. Waukee is a lifelong resident of the Ozarks.
Juanita Loraine Kirkland, whose birthdate is August 25, 1921, acquired the nickname “Waukee” (a Native American phrase for “strong”), and it has stayed with her.
Waukee said, “I’m an ornery one. “Another relative claimed that I would outlive her by almost a century because I was too cruel to pass away. Then I did. While my mother was trying to conceive, a boy and a girl were seated on a porch and were “sparkin’” at the time I was born.
And now, how does she feel as she marks 101 orbits of the sun?She said with a smile, “If I could walk and get around and hear, I wouldn’t feel like I was past 80 years old.Waukee grew up learning a variety of skills, including farming, quilting, and cooking, because electricity and cars hadn’t yet reached Udall.
She didn’t see indoor plumbing or electricity for the first time until she moved to Kansas City at the age of 15 to work as a nanny. Waukee recalls clearly the moment she first saw a streetcar.
She remembered, “We were on a bus and I believed it was going to be a lightning storm when we arrived to those light switches. “When I lived in Kansas City, I became accustomed to having electricity, so returning to washing in a wash pan was difficult. Before going to bed at night, you were required to take a bath at the creek.
When Waukee went back to the Ozarks, she also drove a vehicle that transported personnel to the construction site for the Norfork Dam.
She laughed and added, “It was a dam truck. “I would carry a load of them up there and bring a load of them back, and it just had these seats in the back constructed out of boards on which these poor elderly men sat. I believe some of them were envious since I had a chauffeur’s license.
In 1944, Waukee wed Willie Poe, and together they began a cattle farm on some of the land that had been submerged when the new dam was constructed. Even after her husband passed away in 1986, Waukee continued to work hard on the farm and got involved in numerous community activities and associations.
Brent Slane, Waukee’s grandson, recalls how the local cattlemen were in awe of her ability to lead a herd of cattle anywhere she pleased by merely carrying a five-gallon bucket of feed around. Waukee worked tirelessly until her 90s, working alone to keep the farm functioning.
Waukee was able to herd cattle with simple compassion, according to Brent, “better than any horses, four-wheelers, dogs, or hoopin’ and hollerin’.”Waukee stated of her chores, “Oh honey, I done it all on that farm.” De-horn and castrate.When asked if the job was challenging?
She admitted, “Yes, it was difficult. Do you have experience castrating calves? It certainly isn’t a nice sight.
Poe moved to Springfield Villa, where she still takes pleasure in life after her daughter Kathryn died from COVID-19 just days after Waukee turned 100.She doesn’t believe that a healthy diet is a reason for her longevity.
I’ll eat just about anything, Waukee admitted.So what is the magic ingredient that keeps her running at 101?She responded, “A lot of folks must have their coffee, but I must have my Coke.”
Perhaps Coca-Cola needs to use her in one of their ads. How many businesses, after all, can receive a recommendation from a 101-year-old customer?