MILFORD, WY—Mayor Hammond Forsythe officially declared Monday “Hazel McCreeley Day,” and why not? After all, if you’d lived through over 41,500 of them, wouldn’t you deserve one too?
With pomp, circumstance and cake, the oldest living American celebrated the start of the 14th year of her second century of life here amid her friends at the Milford Nursing Home. But make no mistake—old age does not mean old heart!
“What a crock of shit,” re-marked the feisty McCreeley, playfully feigning both inability and unwillingness to blow out even one of her 114 candles. “What a flaming crock of shit this whole day is... For the love of Jesus, honor somebody accomplishing something, not someone whose body is spiting its mind by staying alive.”
Asked for the secret to her long life, the perky, silver-coifed McCreeley quipped: “Dumb luck. Do any of you have even a rudimentary understanding of probability? Extrapolate the bell curve of life expectancy for a quarter of a billion people and see for your goddamn selves.” The frisky matriarch continued. “By probabilistic rights, somebody in America ought to be 119. Only one person being 114 years old is an incredible statistical deviation.”
“Great, I pissed in my diaper again,” wise-cracked the chipper McCreeley, who still has the sense of humor she inherited from her mother, the wife of a pioneer rancher who gave birth to her only child, Hazel, on March 5, 1882, during the administration of Chester A. Arthur. She grew up during the tail-end of the legendary Old West period, graduated high school when Teddy Roosevelt was president, turned 51 one day after the first inauguration of his relative Franklin, and was eligible for Medicare by 18 years when it was first created!
Thinking of those times, McCreeley wistfully recalls them as “a total goddamn blur... Everything before this morning is a brain-fart for me.”
The bouncy centedecarian has lived in Milford all her life, spending 53 years running the general store which she founded with her husband, Herb. Herb died in 1958 at the age of 79. She has three children, five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.
“Buried most of ’em,” the peppy McCreeley noted. “My body is a drooping heap of grief-flesh.”
Asked if her family has a history of longevity, the still-sharp McCreeley riposted, “Christ, the usual rigmarole. All right: My parents did not have long lives, I don’t drink a daily shot of brandy, I don’t exercise regularly, and the clean mountain air makes no difference. I’ve lived in a climate-controlled nursing home for 34 years. Talk to a goddamn actuary, alright? I’m just the randomly-chosen outermost tentacle of the billion-legged beast that is suffering through time. Any other brilliant theories, fuckos?”
McCreeley is the chief claim to fame of Milford, a quaint town of 3,500 in the northeastern corner of the state. Mayor Forsythe, who has known McCreeley all his life, considers her a national treasure. “They ought to put her on Mount Rushmore. And push her off it. I’m not kidding,” kidded Forsythe. “She should do us all a favor and die.”
And what does the future hold for the happy Hazel? McCreeley already has plans for her 115th birthday.
“Plan A is to be rotting in a coffin,” she told us. “Plan B is to do what I do every other day: alternate between brief periods of lugubrious lucidity and tedious stretches of quasi-catatonia.”