Arminta Wood was perplexed when dozens of cards began showing up at her home addressed to her son Jason. Did he have some news he hadn’t yet shared with her? Unbeknownst to Wood, her son had arranged to have 96 cards sent to him to be opened by his mother as a surprise on her 96th birthday.
“Mom said ‘Jason, there’s a whole lotta cards here for you,’” Jason recalled. “I brushed it off and said I would tell her about it later.”
Later came Feb. 22 when Wood was surprised by family and friends with more than 159 cards during a 96th birthday celebration.
“Mom’s church friend Pat called me with the idea of getting 96 people to send birthday cards,” Jason Wood said. “I liked the idea so we both started contacting people.”
Arminta Wood was born Feb. 22, 1926, on a farm in Keysville, Va. She is the eighth of nine children, all of them working on the farm raising corn, peas and even sugar cane.
“We all worked on the farm and nobody left home until my older brother did at 28,” Wood said. “I lived a very happy life.”
“People should live by the motto ‘It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.’”
— Arminta Wood on her 96th birthday
Wood, who had six sisters and two brothers, has outlived her siblings although she noted that the most recent two who died lived to 98 and 92 years old.
She was married for 65 years before losing her husband and raised one son, Jason.
When asked her secret to a long life, she replied, “I only worked jobs that I liked. I was a recreation specialist in Washington and was always stationed at lovely playgrounds. I loved my children and that made the job a wonderful experience.”
Her advice to young people today is to get an education and to learn things that might not be connected to your job. But most importantly, she said, is to be nice.
“People need to learn to be kind to each other,” Wood said. “People should live by the motto ‘It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.’”
Her son confirmed that is how his mother has lived her life.
“My mom is the most gracious, sweet, understanding and patient woman you would ever want to meet in your life,” Jason Wood said. “And most importantly she is happy.”