BOONVILLE — Ninety-year-old Lola Steelman Davis is no stranger to the sport of ziplining. Her first foray into the adventurous sport was five years ago on the occasion of her 85th birthday.
“I enjoyed it so much that I said if I was healthy enough I wanted to do it again when I turned 90,” Davis said. Davis was indeed the picture of health at a gala celebration in her honor on Saturday at The Hearth Restaurant at Sanders Ridge Winery. More than 40 friends and family members joined her for her birthday party, complete with red velvet cake.
Following the celebration, the party moved outdoors to The Big Woods Zipline. Chilly temperatures and an early morning rainstorm did not deter Davis from her celebratory ziplining plan. She came prepared for the cooler March weather. As staff members worked to get her harnessed up, she also donned a fur coat.
“You’re the first 90-year old and first person wearing a fur coat to do the zipline here,” said owner Neil Shore.
Once she was harnessed up and fur coat on, Davis insisted that her purple birthday tiara be added atop her safety helmet.
“I know he’s never had anyone do this in a fur before, but I thought I might be chilly,” Davis said matter-of-factly.
Davis is a native of the Hamptonville area and resides at Parkwood in Elkin. Parkwood office manager Donna Luffman came out for the celebration as well.
“It’s an inspiration to all of us that somebody 90-years old is going to zipline. It gives us something to look forward to,” Luffman said.
She called Davis “a wonderful lady.”
“She does so much for our residents. She does flowers. She’s a positive person and I think that’s why she’s where she’s at today,” Luffman said.
Davis’ daughter Betty Ann McInteer said her mom was elated and not at all scared doing the zipline. She was only disappointed that she only got to do a few lines this time around, not the full zipline course like she did on her 85th birthday. McInteer said her mom is all geared up to go ziplining again for her 95th birthday.
“My mom loves being the center of attention. She loves her family and as you can see, her 90th birthday was the perfect combination of family and attention,” McInteer said. “Mom also loves doing things that keep her physically active, swimming, exercise class, she rides a stationery bike every day, and walking. She always has had an abundance of energy and sense of adventure. Being a resident at Parkwood, she loves the activities there; she tries to be helpful and enjoys doing things for others.”
Davis has three children including McInteer who lives in Pennsylvania, her sister who lives in South Carolina and brother in Utah. She has six granddaughters and several great-grandchildren as well.
“Her 90th birthday was a very special occasion. Some folks traveled 3,000 miles to be able to help Mom celebrate,” McInteer said. “Mom is an inspiration to us all, and truly shows us that ‘you are as young as you feel,’ she is 90 years young! It is also rewarding to see that mom’s sense of adventure is a trait that her granddaughters have definitely inherited.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.