WASHINGTON - When you turn 108, it's kind of a big deal. And when you're Ms. Virginia McLaurin-- well, it's really a big deal. The DC resident and centenarian who captured hearts around the world when she danced at the White House with the Obamas celebrated in style on Monday, with a little help from some very special friends.
Ms. McLaurin told reporters she never dreamed she would live to see 108, but she did-- and she's still got her spunk. As you might expect, she was the center of attention at Monday's party, hosted at LAMB Public Charter School in northwest DC. She was joined by a group of elementary school kids, and two Harlem Globetrotters.
Her actual birthday was Sunday, March 12, but Ms. McLaurin was happy to keep the party going for one more day. There were plenty of tricks, and of course cake (donated by It Takes the Cake), but for Ms. McLauren, the highlight of the day was learning to spin that ball on her finger, with some help from Globetrotter Buckets Blakes. She also loved seeing a woman on the team. Hoops Green, the 15th female in the Globetrotters' 91-year history, joined her teammate Blakes and Ms. McLaurin to inspire young students. The Globetrotters spoke to students about Ms. McLaurin, her life and how they can incorporate some of her positive attributes into their own lives.
This isn't the first time she's "partied" with the Globetrotters. They helped her celebrate her 107th birthday last year (she was even wearing her custom jersey at Monday's party), and has since become a close friend of their organization.
Another bonus: The Globrotters even donated 108 tickets to see the team play in DC and Fairfax to underprivileged youth in Ms. McLaurin's name. The Globetrotters will play in DC and Fairfax this weekend. Tickets are available at HarlemGlobetrotters.com.
Of course, everyone wants to know Ms. McLaurin's secret to longevity.
"I don't know myself!" she laughed. "Cornbread, peas... collard greens!"
While she says she didn't expect to see this birthday, something her mother taught her still holds true as she starts the journey to 109.
"I love people," Ms. McLaurin said. "My mother trained us to love everybody. You don't know who you're going to need, or who's hand you will fall in before you leave this world. So you have to love people. And I do."
She also offered this bit of advice to the kids she met on Monday.
"Treat people with grace and glory, and you will have a front seat in heaven."