Her mother missed it by a few months, but not her.
Minnet Stewart Hunt, also called Sister Min, stepped into the annals of time on Friday, March 18, 2022 when she became one of Jamaica’s newest centenarians.
It happened on the day when Jamaica, coincidentally, scrapped several restrictions that it had imposed to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that killed millions, including senior citizens, around the globe.
Untouched by the pandemic, Sister Min moved about her home in Linstead, St. Catherine, where her friends and relatives, including members of her four generations, had gathered to throw her a party to remember. And they did.
Dressed elegantly, the new centenarian wore a white dress, complemented by a colourful headwrap, which she later replaced with a white hat.
An even more interesting observation is that she is still able to independently walk, talk, eat, and the like. Her main complaints are hypertension and a hearing impairment. But she can hear you if you shout loud enough.
Responding to a question about how she feels hitting 100, Sister Min, gesticulating enthusiastically, replied: “I feel alright. I feel strong; I am feeling good… It is my birthday. All friends, all grand, all neighbours around Grandma today (Friday). Thank yuh Jesus.”
Sister Min, originally from the rural community of Croft’s Hill in Clarendon, attended Croft’s Hill Primary School.
She had her first child – a boy – while still in her native community. At a relatively young age, she migrated to Linstead to live with Alfread Hunt, a mason who went on to become the father of her four other children.
Two of her children – the first and third – have died. Her parents, Adrie Pottinger and Cyril Stewart, passed away in their 90s. Her husband transitioned at age 75. And all her seven siblings also died.
“Since my father died years ago, I never see my mother with a next man,” said Victorine Hunt Smith, also called Munchie, a pastor, who is Sister Min’s fourth child and main caregiver.
The 72-year-old noted that she, unlike her mother, uses a walking stick. And that has not escaped Sister Min, who sometimes make the comparison, in jest.
“She stronger than me!” Munchie told The Beacon, pointing at her mom.
It’s a pleasure, she declared, to, along with her siblings, care for Sister Min. Incidentally, Sister Min cared for her mother until her mother died, Munchie said, adding that the centenarian’s benevolence knows no bound.
“She gave birth to only five children, but she raised many more,” Munchie emphasized. The children grew up in church because Sister Min, a Christian for decades, would have it no other way.
To help provide for her family, Sister Min bought, cleaned and sold cow tripe at Linstead Market.
The tripe was also a staple in meals at home, Munchie said. She added that Sister Min had earned a reputation for cooking in relatively huge pots especially on Sundays to “feed the multitude” that lived within her premises.
The premises, which has different houses, was usually kept spanking clean, thanks especially to Sister Min who, according to relatives, showed no partiality when using the broom.
She was impartial when it comes to splitting justice, her family and friends declared.
“Sister Min is a blessed soul; she is a peacemaker,” according to Pamela Thompson, the centenarian’s niece-in-law. “When Sister Min cook, she cook a big pot and feed the whole yard. She is a prayer warrior. Growing up at her yard, I never hear anybody seh Sister Min in any mix-up or duh anything wrong to others. I have nothing bad to say about this lady.”
Another distant relative who has been living for decades in the same premises as Sister Min, Gloria Stanley, fought hard to hold back tears as she reminisced on the strength and courage of the woman, whom she said was like a mother to her and her children. “I am so proud to see Sister Min reach 100; I wish her many many more years,” added Stanley.
Other people singing Sister Min’s praise included her biological son Sylvester Hunt, her great-grandson Mark Huggist, her biological daughter Helen Hunt James with whom she spent time in the United States, Irene Stanley who is teaching abroad, as well as veteran teacher Sharon Stanley-McLean who performed emcee duties at the birthday party.
The celebration was not done without a cake – a white one with the numeral “100” standing on the top. Running the knife through it, Sister Min got help from her son Sylvester as well as her great-grand-son Carl Davis.
The entertainment package also included music blaring from a sound system, people belting out songs as part of their tributes, and a show-stopping blend of comedy and dance from the effervescent Hilarious Granny.
Sister Min, from all indication, loved it.
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