Myrtle Smekofske still likes a good party. And on the occasion of her 107th birthday, the longtime Willow River resident was all smiles as she unwrapped gifts and visited with the friends around her at her home in Northern Pines Assisted Living in Pine City.

She had plenty of memories of life on the family’s dairy farm.

“I didn’t do any milking,” Myrtle said. “My sons and my husband did the milking. But otherwise I took care of everything else. Seven kids. Six boys and one girl. I had my chores. Washed clothes by hand then.”

When asked if we have things too easy now, she laughed.

“Oh, I think so, yes,” she said. “We can’t do things we used to do anymore.”

She still enjoys getting together with family and friends and having a good time. Otherwise, she said, she doesn’t have a list of secrets to a long life.

“I really don’t have any,” she said. “I just eat good and leave the men alone.”

A Northern Pines staff member held her present while Myrtle undid the tissue wrapping paper around it. She was tentative at first.

“Just rip into it,” the staff member urged her.

Myrtle did, and soon pulled out a fuzzy raccoon. She hugged it. She also liked her other present – a new, soft blanket.

“Oh, thanks a lot. How nice,” she said.

Myrtle’s friend Betty came over and introduced her brother, Roger. Roger said he thought Myrtle was doing really well.

“You’re tall,” Myrtle responded. Her friends laughed.

“He can’t believe you’re 107,” Betty told her.

“Well, I guess you’ve got to believe it.” Myrtle said.

“You remember when the cars started to come out, and  when the airplanes came out,” Roger said.

“That’s right,” Myrtle said.

“That was a long time ago,” Roger said.

“That was a long time ago, yes.”

“I’m 86, so I’ve got a few years to go to catch up.”

“Yep, a few years,” she agreed, and chuckled.

She smiled as the group sang “Happy Birthday” to her. When her cake came out she blew out all three candles, 1-0-7, with one puff. And then, just as she seems to appreciate all the small things in life, she enjoyed her slice of birthday cake.

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