Graceville- "Well, I have wondered, why in the world God let me get to being 107," Annie Mae Hinson said with a chuckle. She didn't know the reason, but knew she didn't need one to celebrate her birthday.
Hinson lived at the Signature Health nursing home in Graceville, where friends and family gathered to cut cake, cut loose, and share some stories.
"My husband had on a tie one time- a bow tie," Hinson said, telling us about of the early days of her marriage." A fellow came up to him and said, 'Son, you won't make it in [to heaven] with a tie like that.' Well, it shocked us! Neither of us had a bible when we were first married. God gave us one, we went to reading it. We didn't find anything in there about a bow tie!" The room erupted in laughter and from somewhere among the noise, another story emerged.
"We never ate a meal at our house, that I remember, before we got up and went to the piano. She played and we sang," Her son, Randall Hinson recalled.
And Thursday was no exception. Hinson took to the piano instinctively and played several hymns in the cafeteria of the nursing home. She and her husband had both been pastors after finding the Lord when Hinson was 21.
"That's my favorite," she said, "I'm Bound for the Promise Land."
"Your son's favorite is Amazing Grace," we reminded her.
"Well, I didn't play that one," Hinson laughed.
We came to discover that people around town had long called her, 'Mother Mae'. But Randall called her, "lovely, independent... You might say stubborn!" He laughed, but then made a pretty good case for all three.
"She drove until we took her license away at 96," he said. "So, she proceeded to write Tallahassee and have it mailed to her!" Mother Mae lived alone until she was 99 years old.
"When I first came over to tell Randall that the Lord laid it on my heart to live with him, I said, 'You don't have to worry I won't be here long, I'm looking for the rapture to take place. I'm going up in the rapture,'" she told us. "So, Randall said, 'Please Lord, come quickly!"'
Mother Mae said she was still waiting on the rapture, so until then, she would just keep on loving, living and storytelling.
"Randall and his boys have heard the story many times, and they'll hear it many more if they hang around!"