Ottumwa resident still up for adventure at 106 years old

Celma Birdsall takes a ride with her stand-in sailor boy on her 106th birthday.

A resident at the Ottumwa Good Samaritan Society turned 106 years old Thursday, and Celma Birdsall isn't showing any signs of slowing down just yet.

To celebrate her day, she hopped (with some help) in the back of a 1938 Ford and went for a spin. The story of her 106th birthday will be another good one added to the list. Birdsall told the group of friends, nurses and caregivers present how she rode in the back of a similar car back when she was a little younger.

Birdsall responded to an ad in the paper asking for anyone heading west to help pay gas for the trip. Birdsall drove from Denver to California in the back of that car, alongside a young sailor.

When she asked where her young sailor was for Thursday's ride, onlooker Pat Hart volunteered to stand in.

KTVO asked Celma what her secret is to be so healthy and spirited at 106.

"The secret is with my Lord. I don't have any secret," she said. "I'm happy everywhere. How would you not be happy in a place like this?"

The employees and residents at Good Sam also celebrated with cake, a birthday tiara and a round of "Happy Birthday." Each gesture was not lost on Birdsall.

"It's too much! I'm too old for this!" she joked. "It's beyond words... [it's] just so much -- flowers and a ride and a cake. And every day it's the same thing -- kindness. It's beyond my belief. It was wonderful planning."

So how can next birthday top this one?

"Not an airplane ride," Birdsall said. "I don't want to ride a horse. A motorcycle."

A motorcycle sidecar, it is. But with one request -- maybe one that is a little easier to get into and out of.

"Let's have a modern one," she said. "Well, more modern than [the car]!"