One Hundred and Two Year Old Harry Potter Eyes by Dr. Michel Rice (future sports medicine doctor of Mr. Charles Gumbs.)

By anguillian August 17, 2012 08:48

One Hundred and Two Year Old Harry Potter Eyes  by Dr. Michel Rice (future sports medicine doctor of Mr. Charles Gumbs.)


Dr. Rice (Author) with Mr. Gumbs

‘Eight days away from my 102nd celebration of the day I was born…August 26, 1910’ is what Mr. Charles Gumbs said to me when asked if he thought he was Anguilla’s oldest citizen.  Oldest citizen, maybe, but certainly the youngest at heart. His spirit was strong and joyful even after playing host to many SJSM student visitors in the smothering afternoon heat of Anguilla. He sat there on the veranda, as they do in old Italy, entertained by passers-by.


Oddly, he asked if I knew his son, a retired school principal living inToronto. Retired! Imagine that. Two retired generations and a third one coming. His posture straighter than most slumping 20 something students, he asked if I could examine his spine and recommend some exercises, not for physical improvement but for the sake of preservation, as he was confidently happy with his stature. I promised to pop-by and teach him a few good moves that’ll keep him both entertained and dancing like he’s never jived before.


With age, one would expect a balanced shortfall of the health triangle whose three sides are sound physique, mind and soul. For Mr.Gumbs, his wellness triangle impressively remains symmetrical even after 101 years. His mind was as sharp as a Russian circus tiger whip, physique as mobile as his three-generations down neighbours and – let’s not forget – soulful eyes that could tell a story as captivating as the Harry Potter collection. Very fittingly, those brown eyes were decorated with the same classic Harry Potter frames. Perfect fit!


Dr. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zone, has made it his decade-long mission to discover the secrets to ‘centinarianism’. Mr. Gumbs is certainly a prized interview candidate for Dr. Buettner’s study. I think Dr. Buettner has missed a pocket in the world with a record number of centenarians. The book’s tag line is exactly what Mr. Charles Gumbs has to share with his younger than thou world: lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest!


What keeps this distinguished platinum-aged gentleman so young, I asked? ‘Regular talkative visitors’, he replied. This led me to my questioning what it is that would keep me going beyond my golden years – family, great grandchildren, and a strong cup of coffee every morning!


There is always a feeling of being the recipient of an unidentifiable spiritual energy when you meet someone as old as Mr. Gumbs. It always leaves me inspired for my own hopes of longevity, as I am already half his age almost to the day. What is it that makes me smile when I look into his eyes? An unmeasurable form of human energy? Is it the purity of an aged spirit? Who knows –  but what I do know is that it’s a privileged experience looking into this man’s eyes, shaking and then holding his hand – and talking as much about nothingness as we did of meaningful things. He re-sets and re-directs my focus with a blink of his magical Harry Potter eye. Our time together is now about what’s important in life: love, communication, respect, family and friends. Mr. Gumbs’ eyes say all that without saying a word.


My first visit with Mr. Gumbs was short in time but long lasting in memorable experience. I will visit him again next week to teach him those exercise moves that I suspect he already knows. ‘See you next week’ I said. ‘Only if I’m still here’, he replied. Imagine that!




By anguillian August 17, 2012 08:48


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