Be slow to anger, quick to forgive and look good doing it.
That’s the philosophy that Amanda Corrine Pugh Jackson has been following for the past 100 years.
Tuesday, about 50 of her family members and closest friends attended a 100th birthday party for her at Moot Senior Citizen Center on High Street in the historic Fruit Belt neighborhood.
During the celebration, the centenarian showed she still has a sense of style and a sense of humor, too.
“I’m 43 years older than Heinz Steak Sauce,” she joked during the party.
Decked out in purple – her favorite color – Jackson is known for donning her Sunday best any day of the week.
“She loves to dress and shop,” said Carrie Bryant, the activities director at the Moot Center.
A house fire in 2007 forced Jackson to relocate from Alabama to Buffalo to live with her great-niece, Karen Gray. And she brought her fashion sense with her.
“When she came, she asked me, ‘Where do you go around here to buy designer clothes?’ And I said I guess Macy’s,” Bryant said. ‘Oh no,’ she says. ‘I mean designer clothes.’ ”
“She dresses every day as if she’s going to the ball,” Bryant added. “She loves hats. She wears beautiful designer clothes.”
Perhaps her love of clothes can be traced back to her days as a department store model when she was in her 20s and 30s, her family and friends said.
“She loves her clothes. That’s her glory,” Gray said. “She lives in the mirror. She shops. She will pay $700 for a suit, $400 a hat. She only wears name brands.”
Jackson’s friend Annie Hooks agreed.
“She still is buying clothes. I take her shopping. I take her back and forth to the Moot Center,” Hooks said. “I just do whatever I can for her. I’m just blessed that I can do for her.”
Hooks is a member of Hopewell Baptist Church on Fillmore Avenue along with Jackson. The church held a birthday party for Jackson on Sunday.
Hooks described the centenarian as “very independent” despite her age.
By many accounts, Jackson is sharp as a tack in terms of her mental agility.
“She is totally with it,” said Gray, her great-niece. “She runs circles around some young people mentally. ... She cooks. She can quote you Scripture – book, chapter and verse. And she can put a sermon together and break it down like any pastor you’ve ever known.”
Jackson was born in Jackson, Ala., and is one of seven children.
She was raised on a working farm, and her daily chores included working in the cotton fields.
While in high school, she met her first husband, Johnny Gamble. They attended Hatcher College together and later married.
The couple divorced years later, and Jackson completed her nursing degree. She then wed the Rev. Albert Jackson, composer of the popular Baptist hymn “He’s Sweet, I Know.”
But the well-known song is not Jackson’s favorite spiritual.
The tune that holds that crown is “Jesus, I’ll Never Forget What You’ve Done for Me,” she said.
The Jacksons were married for 26 years before he died in the 1980s, her family said.
In addition to her flair for fashion, Jackson said her faith has kept her going more than anything else.
“I pray I will be more like Jesus,” she said. “I want to be as humble as he was.”