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Enjoying life at 100

Ruby Peterson, who is 100 years old, doesn’t let life pass her by or her age slow her down too much. She’s right there willing to try something new anytime. She loves life’s experiences and a couple of years ago went on a hot air balloon ride. Last year she went jet skiing. She’s gone for motorcycle rides, the faster the better, and who knows what else will come her way. Every birthday she tries something new. This year, however, there’s a big celebration on her birthday so she figures that will be that, there won’t be time for anything else – unless her grandson opts to whisk her away for a cycle ride, that is. She loved the hot air balloon ride. “I had a wonderful time. We went up in the air and we were up in the air about an hour and a half.”     After they came back down, they had champagne to celebrate the occasion. “My daughter set it up. She went up with me. It was just the two of us and the pilot. I was not scared. It was just so wonderful.” The pilot would take them down so they could see the cattle eating in the pasture, she said. “Then he’d go down a little bit more and we could take the leaves off the trees. We weren’t scared at all. When it comes to doing things like that I’m not scared at all. Oh I wish I could go on a ride on a balloon one more time.” And there really is no reason not to try it again, she said, so on her 101st birthday that just may happen. Peterson can’t walk anymore, she needs a double hip replacement, but doctors won’t do surgery because of her age. But, she said, they could carry her onto the balloon. She rode a jet ski last year, and that went real good, she said. “Somebody was with me on there.” As for the motorcycle – she was lucky enough to win one a few years ago, and of course, she had to go on that as well. “I went with my son-in-law and he said ‘grandma how fast should I go,’ and I said ‘as fast as you want to,’ and he said ‘ya, but how about 96,’ ‘okay,’ I said.” She said her kids didn’t want her to go.         “When we went by where they were standing, they didn’t even see me we were going so fast. They said ‘mom this is it, you took our heart away from us, you were going so fast.’” That was real fun, she said, and every time her son-in-law shows up he gives her a ride. “I sold the motorcycle to him. He lives in St. Cloud and every time he comes down he’d say ‘grandma are you ready,’ and I’d say ‘yep.’” Chris Shafer from WCCO-TV has called her, she’s going to be on the Smucker’s jelly jar, she’s received a letter from the president, and a representative from Jay Leno’s office called and wanted to fly her out to California to be on a show. “He had seen my picture in a motorcycle magazine. I got real famous riding the motorcycle at age 94.” Three years ago she was driving a tractor for Father Bill. “I was real active until just about a year ago. Before then I could do everything; I folded folders at church. When there was extra work they’d call and say ‘Ruby can we borrow you today’ and I’d say ‘sure.’” Ruby said she’s seen a lot of changes over the years. She was born in Granite Falls and has lived her entire life in Granite Falls, until now when she moved in with her daughter in Maynard. Moving out of her home was hard at first, she said. “But I knew I had to do something and my daughter always said ‘you will never have to go to a nursing home, you’re going to be with me,’ and so that’s what happened. I‘ve been here over a year now.” Ruby said she had a nice life growing up and nice parents that were kind. “But we had to work, and we had to mind too. They were very strict. When it comes to work, my folks always said ‘don’t work the hard work.’ We could work but not hard work.” When she lived on the farm, Ruby and her sister did most of the grain shocking. “I enjoyed that because we had a good crop and dad said, ‘well you did all the shocking, how much do I owe you’ and we said ‘dad we don’t charge our own dad.’” She met her husband at a dance, but things didn’t go as she expected right away. They’d have dances in the house, she said, and at a square dance he kind of ‘scooped her.’ She said it was kind of weird. “I thought maybe he’d dance with me but both my sisters danced with him. I thought ‘what is this? I should have had this dance.’” She didn’t dance with him that night. “But the next night they had a barn dance, and I was there that night, but I went with someone else. That night he asked me out and I said, “not tonight, I’ve got a ride home.’ He didn’t want to dance with me the first night, and I let him know I wasn’t too hungry for him.” He was kind of quiet on their first date, she said, but they kept dating, and she ended up marrying him. Other fond memories of her 100 years include raising six little poodles. “That was the pride of my life. I sold them for $125 and in those days that was good money.” Today she spends her time painting pictures, and painting and decorating little bird houses. She also made 47 homemade quilts for the mission in Guatemala. “I cut big pieces and little pieces and put them together, and they were so thankful they had gotten those. A bunch of our people went over there and took them over there so I knew that they got there…..that was one of my good experiences.” She went on to say she truly enjoyed making the quilts. Actually, she said, her life has been a good one as far as she’s concerned. “I had to work hard to begin with, but as the years went on, I had it pretty easy. I had five children, and I think I raised them pretty good.”

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