No rest for the centenarian.
That's the motto of Carmella Nardolillo, a 105-year-old Orchard Park resident with absolutely no plans of slowing down.
Nardolillo, born in the first decade of the last century, celebrated her birthday Tuesday with an action-packed schedule that included birthday pancakes and trips to two gambling halls. The pace left her younger relatives struggling to keep up.
"I'm a celebrity," Nardolillo pronounced. "Get the music out. I'll dance on the table."
Nardolillo, flanked by her 82-year-old daughter, Rosanne Lucci, and 45-year-old granddaughter Vincenne Lucci, celebrated in the Original Pancake House, Orchard Park. She has four children, 17 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
After starting her day with a glass of Tequila Rose, her favorite strawberry cream liqueur, Nardolillo was the center of attention as her family members told stories of the petite, tough, spunky woman who just won't act her age.
The time she stood on a chair at a wedding reception. Or when she and Rosanne made an unannounced trip to Vincenne's house -- after being out until 1 a.m. Or when her sons caught her last week moving furniture so she could vacuum, and chopping ice outside her house.
"At this stage, I can do anything," she said. "I don't owe anybody nothing. My bills are paid, I hope," she said to a chorus of laughs.
Her sons, Frank and Carl, spend each morning with her, and she visits constantly with other family members who live on the same street. She cooks them homemade pasta, soup and spaghetti sauce, and still yells at her sons when they don't call.
Beneath that to-the-point nature is a gentle mother who cared for her four children, working at the Curtiss-Wright airplane factory, in a local produce department and on a farm in North Collins each summer. That allowed her railroad worker husband of 55 years, Michael, and the family to move from East Lovejoy to Orchard Park.
"I worked like a horse," she said.
Beyond that secret to success were other values, passed to her sons and grandchildren.
"She puts life in perspective," Vincenne said. "Work hard, love your family, have faith, believe in God, and do for others. She has more wisdom than Ann Landers has in her pinky finger."
She was presented with -- what else? -- two bottles of Tequila Rose, two bags of candy and 105 one-dollar bills, for when she tried her luck at the slots later that day in the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Besides playing the slots, Nardolillo visits her friends once a month at the Golden Nugget bingo hall in Fort Erie, Ont., and regularly watches religious shows on television. Her luck is much like that of her favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills.
"There's a loser and there's a winner," she said of her beloved team. "You've got to like people whether they win or lose."
Nardolillo hit it big a few years back and plays mostly for fun now. With a bloody mary at her side, she made her way to the Blazing 7s, her favorite slot machine game. After six tries, she won a few credits.
Soon, a family member called her to play craps, a game she had never tried.
"We'd all be lucky to live half as long [as you]," the dealer told her.
On her second try, Nardolillo rolled a seven, winning $50. Two younger men next to her smiled and asked her to roll a six for them. She blew on the dice, then threw them. Applause rang out as she hit it right on.
"I saw it on television," she said. "That's how I knew to do it."
Nardolillo received a birthday present of 150 one-dollar bills from her grandson, quickly placing them in her purse. When it came time to exchange her American money for Canadian, she made sure she got the exact amount.
"I may not know a lot of things," she said after receiving the gift, "but when it comes to money, you can't fool me."
Nardolillo is the latest local resident to gain notice for her long life. Niagara Falls resident Vincenza Colucci celebrated her 108th birthday in January, and a celebration was held Monday for the 11 men and women in the Weinberg Campus, Getzville, who will be 100 years or older this year.
Vincenne was eager to announce that her grandmother will serve as the flower girl in her great-granddaughter's wedding in April.
"I have a nice family," Nardolillo said. "I couldn't live without them."