Her laugh is contagious

Published 8:24 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

Lila Bush is celebrating her 100th birthday today. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Lila Bush is celebrating her 100th birthday today. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

 Andalusia Manor resident to celebrate 100th birthday today

Lila Bush’s laugh is contagious.

The Andalusia Manor resident will be laughing big time today as she celebrates her 100th birthday with family and friends.

“God willing nothing happens, it sure is,” Bush said of her special day today.

Bush was born on April 4, 1915, and grew up in McKenzie.

Bush said she’s seen quite a lot, whether it be good or bad, but never fails to make a humorous anecdote out of her experiences.

“You wouldn’t want to know some that I’ve seen,” Bush said as she laughed.

As a teenager, Bush picked cotton, stripped cane for syrup and pulled corn. She picked 100 pounds of cotton a day.

Nothing humorous can be said about Bush’s job early in her life picking cotton.

“Yeah it was hard, but I had to do it,” she said. “I had to make a living.”

Bush said she made 25 cents per day working out in the fields.

In addition to picking cotton and other vegetables, Bush said she helped to kill 25-30 hogs a year.

After attending school in Conecuh County Schools, Bush worked for three white Andalusia families.

She listed them without hesitation.

“I worked for the Taylors, Beasleys and the Mancils,” she said.

Teresa Mosley, the activities director at Andalusia Manor, asked Bush whether it was hard to get along with white people back then.

“No ma’am,” she said. “They loved their black mamma Lila. Yes sir, they were crazy about me.”

Bush had three children, now deceased, and is the last living member of her immediate family. She is the last of 20 brothers and sisters.

Bush still has family in Butler County, Covington County, Florida and even as far away as Ohio.

Bush said she credits hard work and a strong love of her Bible, which she reads every morning and night, as the reasons for her longevity.

“See that Bible over there? That’s what I go by,” she said. “It’s a code of honor. I live by it every day. I read the Bible morning and night. If it wasn’t for this, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Granddaughter Jennifer Tellis Hill and great-granddaughter Melissa Tellis McNear said Bush grew up eating right, and credits that as another secret to her success.

Oh, and don’t forget the buttermilk, Bush said.

“I love milk,” she said. “Buttermilk and cornbread, and sweet potatoes. I grew up on all of that. If you wanted to live to my age, you ate right growing up.”

Bush said she had a hard life growing up, but in the end, she made it to the top.

“I come up on the rough side of the mountain, but I made it,” she said. “I climbed all the way up from the ground.”