Minnie Jepson claims that the secret to long life is garlic. Garlic sandwiches.
And she would know. She's turning 100 Aug. 29.
Jepson is a longtime resident of Payson. She keeps busy by spending time with her friends, attending activities at the Senior Center and working around her house. She has a full head of soft white hair and seems to be the picture of health.
She said she doesn't have many of the aches and pains of many people her age.
Jepson's nephew, Valley resident Michael Sumner, said there is nothing she can't do.
"When people ask me about her, a good definition is hell on wheels," he said. "She could kick my butt in a heartbeat."
Indeed, Jepson is very astute and unafraid to speak her mind.
"I'm old. I have lived too long," she said.
Jepson has kept very active over the years. She used to walk three or four miles a day, Sumner said, but after a while her younger companions couldn't keep up.
"She does not use a cane, does not use a walker and will not say the word ‘wheelchair,'" Sumner said.
He shared a story that shows Jepson's spunk.
A few years ago while Jepson was still in her 90s, she was riding in a car with a friend when they ran out of gas. Together they pushed the car out of the road. Jepson began to feel light-headed and was taken to the hospital.
"Nothing was wrong, but the doctor's orders were ‘No more pushing cars,'" Sumner said.
Jepson grew up on a ranch in Colorado and married Floyd Jepson at 27.
"He was mine. No one was going to get my sweetheart," she said. "He never spoke an ugly word to me."
When she got married, she made it clear that her younger brother came along. Their mother had died, and it was expected that Minnie would look after her young sibling.
She saw to it that her young brother went to school and received an education. She never had any children of her own, but has acted as a surrogate mother and grandmother to many neighborhood children and relatives.
"I like people," she said. "Babies, teenagers ... I like all ages."
She said she would like to have been a nurse, but there was no way.
"You were educated when you graduated from eighth grade," she said.
Instead, Jepson cooked for railroad workers in Durango, Colo.
She would cook where there was no running water, using only a wood stove to feed 40 people a couple times a day.
Jepson said she remembers a time when men would tip their hats to the ladies, and walk on the street-side of the sidewalk, to protect the ladies.
She remembers learning to fold cloth diapers, scrubbing a wooden floor and using a washboard to clean the clothes.
She remembers riding horses on the ranch and making up games.
"We'd play in the twilight," she said.
While she is entering the twilight of her life, Jepson said she doesn't regret much. She'd rather stay home than go on vacation.
"I like it here. I liked what I done and I done it well," she said.
If anything, she'd like to get a manicure and a haircut.
Sumner said Jepson has a great attitude and feels like she's lived a good long life. Several times she has said she's ready to go.
But in the meantime, she'll continue with the garlic sandwiches.