On April 16th, Ruth Truett, a delightful 89 year old resident at Athens Rehabilitation and Senior Care Center, was crowned Queen at the facility’s annual beauty pageant. The facility has been involved in the statewide nursing home pageant program since 2003, and it is something the residents look forward to each year. This year the judges were Ms. Edwina Street, former owner of Harper’s Beauty College, and Bobby and Stella Austin, of First Baptist Church in Athens.
Ms. Ruth entered on a lark, and told me she never expected to win. It was indeed a first entry, first win situation, and no one was more shocked than she when they announced her as the winner. I asked her why she entered, and she told me it was “because people have been so good to me here, I thought this might be a way to pay them back for their kindness.” Because the contestants are also “neighbors,” there is much good will and “atta girl” amongst them while they compete.
Ms. Ruth wore an outfit that belonged to her daughter-in-law, and was pampered before the pageant by having her hair, makeup and nails done. She chose orchid for her nail color, and I could tell she felt like a true princess. She went into the pageant on the arm of her son, retired Colonel Harold Hicks.
One of the things I have so enjoyed in doing the Spotlight series on Athens Rehab and Senior Care Center residents is, that the ones who have lived life well, and are still so alive, all seem to have eyes that dance. Ms. Ruth is no exception, as you can see in this picture. She is just glowing, and that’s how she is inside, too.
Here are some quotes from the pageant about Ms. Ruth, as well as her carefully thought out answers to the questions asked her as part of the pageant.
“Ms. Ruth’s hobbies include dancing, gardening, and getting a Rook game started any chance she gets. Her favorite color is red. Her favorite times of the year are Spring and Summer. She loves country and gospel music, and her favorite TV programs are the news and the Andy Griffith Show. When asked the first question, ‘If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title of it be?’ Ms. Ruth answered, “The Difficult Times of the Great Depression.”
There was a second question, and it had to do with gun control. She was asked, “The issue of gun control is a hot topic right now. How do you feel about tougher gun laws in our country?” Ms. Ruth replied, “We may need some tougher laws, but people do have the right to have guns to hunt and defend themselves. If people would only follow God’s rules, the world wouldn’t be in such bad shape.”
The last portion of the contest is called the Final Look stage, and each contestant was asked one last question. ‘If you became a billionaire, what one thing would you buy for yourself simply because you’ve always wanted it?’ She answered, “I would buy a beautiful new home.”
Athens Rehab and Senior Care Center may not be the home of billionaires, but it has undergone extensive remodeling and redecorating, and is beautifully kept. In fact, so much so, that recently the Center received an unusual designation from the State of Alabama, and that is “without deficiency.” It is a rare thing to receive that classification from the State, and is proof once again why Athens Rehab and Senior Care Center is such a good thing for our community. Congratulations to Ms. Ruth, to Ms. Sarah Wallace, who has just been honored by the Chamber of Commerce as Business Woman of the Year, and to the facility. We appreciate all of you.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner