CHARLES KONG SOO
"I had a good time and very good life," says Roderick Augustus Isaac.
Roderick Augustus Isaac has 107 reasons to be happy.
He was born on February 5, 1912, and celebrated his milestone 107th birthday with family and friends at the Golden Eon Senior Citizen Accommodation in Maracas, St Joseph.
Isaac is a live wire and very witty. When he saw his family and friends gathered for his birthday celebration he blurted "So much people come to see me!"
Gem Manswell-Juman, the owner of the home said the centenarian was the main attraction and centre of attention at the home because of his age, the way he talked animatedly and had all his memory intact. She said he entertained everyone at the home, from residents, workers, to guests and visitors who marvelled to know at 107 years how he was so full of life and the joy of living as he motored around on his electric scooter visiting and chatting with residents.
Isaac has outlived his wife, Elisha, who passed at 65 years and one of his ten children. Five of his children, their spouses, and children were at his birthday party—Vicki Pollydore, Ann McLeod, Lynne Nelson and Anthony Isaac who reside in Trinidad, and Ken Isaac who lives in the US. Adelia McBride, Roderick Isaac Jr, Monica Xavier and Kim Ballah who reside in the US could not make the trip.
They were all there in spirit and electronically, however, Kim, the eldest, who lives in Florida called via cellphone video link to participate in her father's birthday celebration and the cutting of his cake. The other siblings in the US called their father to wish him a happy birthday later after work.
Isaac's progeny includes 24 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, Lea was born one day before his 107th birthday.
Isaac said he did carpentry and worked at the pump house at the US base, he built his own house and furniture and was a jack of all trades. With a twinkle in his eyes, he said he had to take time off the job to meet the ladies.
Isaac does not suffer from any lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension or diabetes that affect so many much younger people than him in T&T.
When he was 100 years, he was still going to calypso tents and shows; his favourite calypsonians are Sparrow and Kitchener.
Isaac likes to read newspapers, watch football and cricket, his favourite television soap operas are the Young and the Restless and the Bold and the Beautiful.
His son Ken said his father was a proud man, the family got their father a hearing aid, but he refused to wear it, so he and his sister, Vicki acted as translators for the evening relaying my questions to their father in his ears.
"I hanging in there until God wants to call me home," Isaac said with a chuckle.
"I had a good time, a very good life. I was a ladies' man, I wasn't choosing no lady, I was a monarch," he joked to peals of laughter from his family.
"I used to go theatre in those days. I was a hero, I used to love all them girls and dressed like a saga boy!
"I love to pray and go to mass at the Church of the Anunciation at Santa Rosa Heights."
Vicki said the hospitality group at the church sent gifts to her father for Christmas, Father's Day, and his birthday.
When asked if he had a secret for long life and good health he said always prayed and gave thanks to God first for his blessings.
He said he could eat anything, everything was good for him, he loved callaloo, macaroni pie, and ice cream.
When asked what advice he can give young people in today's society, he said to put God in their lives first and foremost, listen to their elders (there was a reason why they became elders), to do the right thing, get an education, they had so many opportunities today.
Even the home's gardener Ruthven Lezama got into the act of serenading Isaac on his special day.