RIDGWAY--The Ridgway Senior Center celebrated the 100th birthdays of two of their founding members with a dinner and party at the downtown location on Vine and Race Streets. Surrounded by family and many friends, the ladies welcomed another century of life with flowers, special boxes of their favorite Dan Smith Candies, family, many friends, and a great lunch.

"You just have to be kind to people and love them all," said Rita Eckert, who is still sharp as a tack and loves to clown around, "And if I can give some advice to young people, go, travel, see the world and do it all while you can, because one day you can't go like that anymore and you certainly miss it." Eckert, who traveled the world with her husband before his passing, rated London as better than Paris but has a special affection for San Antonino, Texas, and of course Ridgway.

"Every one of the States except for Alaska and Hawaii," said Mary Himes of her travels, "With my husband and kids in the RV, One year we were only home here in Elk County two weeks out of the whole year." Still spry and sharp, Himes brought a special flower from a bush at her home for her fellow birthday girl Eckert, and they discussed the beautiful flowers that are around town and at their own homes this year while accepting best wishes and sharing many laughs and hugs with fellow members of the Senior Center.

"Disgusting," said Eckert, echoed by Himes of the year 2020. "It was horrible what was done to the seniors, especially those In care homes who could not see their families." "We lived through the Depression, Mumps, Measles, Smallpox, and we took safety measures it was never like it was last year." "We pray for those seniors who died alone without family because of the stupid masks."

Everyone in attendance at the celebration today was vaccinated, so masks were optional, and no one chose the option because there was too much good food to eat. Rita Guth and her daughter Joann prepared a delicious pasta meal with fresh salads and plenty of hot coffee, with both of the birthday ladies making sure they got the "Regular," not the "Decaff." Eckert was joined by her son Ken and daughter-in-law Rita at the celebration while Harry Himes escorted his mother Mary to the Center on Wednesday.

"We never thought we would live so long," both of the ladies echoed, "But everything in moderation seems to be working for us." The recently reopened Senior Center is already planning something special for these ladies' 101st Birthdays next year so make sure to read the Ridgway Record next year around the first of June for another wonderful celebration.

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