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Mary Lucas celebrates 101st birthday at eatery

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She and her 79-year-old son dine on fried chicken

By Greg Summers

Doctors can’t be right all the time.

Mary Ida Lucas celebrated her 101st birthday Friday eating lunch with her son, Arthur, at Leigh Anne’s Restaurant.

She dined on fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and corn bread.

“Imagine that – eating fried chicken at 101,” said Leigh Anne’s owner Marc Culler. “I guess that goes to show you the doctors have it wrong – fried chicken can’t be that bad for you.

“I’d like to be eating lunch out when I turn 101,” Culler said, laughing.

Lucas’ birthday had Leigh Anne’s employee Dawn Altman laughing, too.

Several patrons stopped to congratulate Lucas on her milestone.

“My son, Shawn, turns 8 today,” Altman said. “When I get home, I’m going to tell him all about her. Turning 101 is pretty special.”

A mother of 10, Lucas has outlived six of her children. She said while laughing, she now has 12 grandchildren and “more great-grandchildren that I can keep up with.”   

She lives with one of her three daughters, but jumped at the chance to join her 79-year-old son for a birthday lunch.

“I don’t go out very much, so I told him, we could go wherever he wanted to go,” Lucas said.

When it comes to why she’s been blessed with a long life, Lucas didn’t really have an answer. Could it be that the Lord has something left for her to do?

“That could be the case,” she said, laughing.

The significance of the occasion wasn’t lost on her son, either.

Arthur Lucas tried to hide his emotion, but was on the verge of crying several times.

He said the chance to treat your mom to lunch isn’t something to be overlooked or taken for granted.

“It feels pretty good,” he said.

Contact features editor Greg Summers at gsummers@thelancasternews.com  or at (803) 283-1156