23/06/2018 – Jamaica Gleaner. / FARM, Manchester:
She has an infectious laugh and is able to capture the attention of any room effortlessly with her brain power and wit – the attributes she calls blessings from the Creator.
Rhoda Tabanor is no ordinary woman, having had three children of her own and adopted many. She prides herself on being a woman who worked hard and experienced much to be grateful for.
“I did dressmaking, farming, along with my late husband and higglering. I had 10 siblings and today, I am the last one standing,” Tabanor told Family and Religion .
The 104-year-old queen was recently hailed by relatives and friends at a birthday get together, for batting unwaveringly.
“She is a great prayer warrior and encourager. It doesn’t matter what time you talk to her, she will remind you that she is praying for you. And she doesn’t just pray for you, she prays for the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren. She is our legacy that we indeed treasure. She is our prized possession,” said her daughter, Maxine.
Tabanor, who was a Sunday worshipper before entering into the Adventist faith, was keen to remind those present that the name of the church does not matter because church is within the heart.
“Mama has always taught us to be in Christ. That was a must for us and even though we are adults now and we are on our own, we dare not depart from it. She instilled in us strong moral values, we were not allowed to do every and anything. We were reminded each day that we were special,” said her daughter, Princess.
PRAISES FOR MOM
Yvonne, her other daughter, was not to be outdone as she sang her mother’s praises.
“She preached and lived modesty. I was raised without a father, and I if I go out in the road and do something wrong, mama would certainly give me a whipping. She would always tell me to pray, and I remember one day when she told me to pray and I told her I prayed already, she said, ‘Pray loud, Satan will hear and run’ … . She always encourages us to hold on and don’t give up, no matter what, and even now, she will say the ‘Lord will make a way’ .”
As she sat and listened with smiles, Tabanor could not help but send up a praise to the One who holds her life.
“What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
She spoke highly of her daughter, Yvonne, who is now her main caregiver.
“I tell you, she is more than a miracle to me. Sometimes I cross with Yvonne, but she still coming back. Sometimes Yvonne cross with me, but she coming back. God bless her,” said Tabanor.
Pastor of the Asia District of Seventh-day Adventist Church, Devon Champier said that he was honoured to be in the presence of an aggregate of 208 years.
“I am very happy to share with you today. Your brain is as sharp as ever, and that is rare for people your age. I want to commend you and congratulate you, and I wish you God‘s blessings,” said Champier.
Tabanor was not flustered by the many individuals’ outpouring of love and blessings for her. As a matter of fact, her ability to multitask was evident when her granddaughter called her on the phone to wish her well.
“Keep Satan under foot. Blessings and blessings and thanks a lot my dear,” she told her granddaughter.
Her classmate, Robert Kennedy, who was also there to celebrate with her and will later this year celebrate his 104th birthday, told tales of the frolic and fun during their younger days at the Frankfield Primary School.
“We had a very difficult teacher, and one day after walking about a mile, we got in late. When we got there, I told her to run off, I will take the strapping. She ran up to the headmaster and she didn’t get the strapping, but when I ran up to the headmaster, I did get strapping,” said Kennedy, laughing.
Tabanor says that she does not know when she will take her rest but is happy for every day that she is granted.