Fast mover, 97, practices what she preaches, staying healthy by keeping busy

Pandemic Postcards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Many of us during the pandemic have wanted to throw our hands up and yell, “I can’t take it anymore!” There is a woman here in Central Ohio who will tell you to get busy rather than give up.

She gets up and high-step dances with children at the library. As the Soul II Soul song said, “You gotta keep on moving.”

Ruth Qualls, 97, keeps on the go. She is a mother of 6, grandmother of 14, great grandmother of 20, and great-great-grandmother of 4 and keeps going.

“I used to walk fast, a long time ago, but the older you get you slow down your pace,” Qualls said as she walked down the street where she lives. “You’re going fast right now, Ruth,” I said laughingly. “Oh, I don’t mean to.”

Ruth Qualls is always moving fast. Her grandson calls her “quick feet.”

“He said, ‘Grandma, do you go on the freeway?’ Only when I’m in a hurry,” she chucklingly said.

That’s right. At 97, she still drives.

“’I saw Grandma, she was speeding on that freeway,’” she said when recalling what her grandson said.

She’s fast!

“Ruthie, be careful when you get on that freeway.. never know who’s on there looking at you,” Qualls said while going for a short drive.

Lots of people are looking at, and looking after, Mother Qualls. Mostly because they see her walking two miles every day around the neighborhood.

“One woman said, ‘How old are you?’ and I told her, and she said ‘What? Why they do that,’ Qualls recalled.

When asked if there was anything she wished she could do at her age, Qualls took a moment to ponder her response.

“Be a swimmer, that was my desire,” she answered. When asked why it didn’t happen, she said, “I guess I didn’t do it right.”

As long as the temperature is above 35 degrees, she’s outside.

“It relaxes my mind, my brain,” Qualls said. “I talk with the Lord and try to figure things out, if something’s disturbing, I’m not going to be depressed, do you hear me?”

That faith in God has helped her when both the oldest and youngest of her six children died.

Mother Qualls, as the neighborhood calls her, is not much for the spotlight and considers it a waste of time. Regardless, the National African American Male Wellness Walk acknowledged Qaull’s with a check for $1,000 for her inspiration to others, by walking and staying positive.

Quick feet. Quick mind. Quick to count her blessings, one step at a time.

“You kind of take one day at a time,” she said. “That’s what you do and thankful you can get up in the morning.”

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