Louise Baird Short just celebrated her 105th birthday.
That’s a lot of candles.
And at the rate the razor-sharp Short is going, more birthdays should follow: The longtime resident of McKendree Village in Hermitage remains fit, focused, functioning and feeling fine.
“I use hearing aids,” said Short, who asked a reporter to repeat only one question during a recent interview. “I’m having a hard time reading small print, but the doctors say I’ll never be blind.”
Short doesn’t fret about vision troubles, as the McKendree Village matriarch devotes time to her passion: people.
“I’m on top of the world,” she said. “We had a big birthday party and so many visitors. There were old-timers, and we hadn’t been together for some time.”
Shortly after the party, Short’s son Riley visited and presented his mother with an honorary degree from the University of Louisville. She had attended the university before a flu epidemic forced her to drop out during her sophomore year — in 1926.
Over the years, the gracious centenarian handled various social causes and completed missionary work with the Methodist church — including in Cuba, where she met Fidel Castro.
Short and her late husband Roy also supported the formation of McKendree Village.
“It’s such a wonderful place to live when you no longer want the responsibility and stress of maintaining a house,” said Short, a resident of the community since 1984. “I’m a living
example that McKendree won’t let you die.”
Short still travels solo to Florida, where much of her family — three sons, seven grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren — resides. She is fond of telling ticket agents that waiting in line is unacceptable, as she is “over 100.” At 102, Short traveled to Costa Rica for a wedding and rode a surfboard.
It’s unclear whether Short is Nashville’s oldest resident, but her genes suggest she could set a longevity record. Short’s mother, Amy Jo Schuler, lived to be 105, and her father, James P. Baird, made it to 102. Short’s sons are 83, 80 and 77, respectively.
“I have allergies,” Short said, “but I do feel good overall.”