To celebrate the 97th birthday of Buna Guthrie, her family honored her with a birthday party Saturday at her home, Pleasant Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Outside there were balloons and signs directing guests to the party. Inside, the birthday girl wore an “honored guest” sash of red and sat at the head table, with family and friends sitting at tables in a horseshoe shape around her. A catered lunch was served to all in attendance, followed by birthday cake and ice cream.

Guthrie was born Aug. 5, 1910, in Dekalb County, Tenn. Guthrie’s favorite pastime as a child was visiting her grandmother there.

At the age of 15, Guthrie arrived in Italy, Texas, with her family from Silverpoint, Tenn.

“We lived near Forreston,” Guthrie said. “The first year or so, we went to school in Forreston.”

In 1929, Buna married a local boy, Otis Guthrie.

“We got married in 1929 and I had a baby in 1931 and another baby in 1934 and then another baby in 1938,” said Guthrie, referring to her daughters, Betty Burks, Carol Lineback and Pat Berrier, who were all present Saturday for the celebration.

“We lived in the country on the farm,” said Guthrie of her family.

Did Guthrie help on the farm?

“Oh, yeah. We had a huge garden,” she said.

“She canned and she sewed,” said Guthrie’s daughter, Carol Lineback, who added, “We never went without food. We never went without clothes because mother sewed them. And she always gave away, shared.”

“I’d go to the neighbor’s and can their vegetables,” Guthrie said, “and then they’d come to my house and can.”

“Mother did everything,” said Lineback, who described her mother canning a huge variety of vegetables, “like hominy.”

“Then in 1969, we (Guthrie and her husband) moved to town. We lived there 28 years. He passed away in 1994 and I moved here (Pleasant Manor) five years ago in July,” she said.

A longtime member of Central Baptist Church in Italy and a talented artist who continues to sew and crochet even today, Guthrie has had a full life of serving others and is known for her kindness and generosity.

She was allowed to move a sewing machine into the Pleasant Manor dining room after she became a resident.

“I mend for the residents here and I’ve made a few things,” she said.

Each of the guests at the birthday party received a goody bag that included everything from a photo album to hold photos from the event to a family tree and more. The goody bags were colorful fabric bags with cloth handles and with cloth lining of a different pattern all created stitched by Guthrie herself before being filled by family members.

Guthrie has seen some amazing changes during her lifetime. When she was a child, transportation consisted of horse and buggy. Her father’s first automobile was a Hutmobile.

“It was an open car with no windows. It had curtains,” she said, saying that after she married in 1929, she and her husband bought a 1929 Ford for $500.

Guthrie doesn’t recall having indoor plumbing until 1953 - and she never owned a dishwasher.

“Some people had a lot of trouble with theirs,” Guthrie said, “so I never had one. I am a particular housekeeper and I wanted to do my own (dish washing). But we did have a washer and dryer.”

Looking back on her life, Guthrie describes the years of World War II and the Depression of the early 1930s as “the roughest time of my whole life. … I had two brothers sent overseas during World War II. It was a sad time for a lot of us because we lost a lot of friends. We were fortunate because our family returned,” said Guthrie, adding, “But we had a lot of happy times.

“We had a lot of ups, you might say, and some downs. But we had a pretty good life, looking back,” said Guthrie of her 97 years.

About the birthday party, Guthrie said, “It’s wonderful. I’m just speechless. It is just awesome that it happened like it did. I didn’t expect such a party. But I am so happy to be here. I don’t know what the Lord is leaving me here for, but I guess there’s a purpose.”