Source: News and Record

Friends and family had a big plan for Esther Heilig’s 100th birthday, but then the coronavirus pandemic struck. That didn’t stop her friends from pulling something entirely different together, the Greensboro News & Record reports.

“We just dropped back and punted,” Cookie Hamilton said, a neighbor.

In lieu of a party with cake and ice cream, the friends and family gathered in front of Heilig’s house in a parade of cars. The cavalcade included cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles, all decked out with ribbons, flags and balloons, according to the Greensboro News & Record. In the sidecar of one motorcycle rode a dog with goggles. 

Onlookers struggled to keep count of the number involved. Estimates ranged from 50 to 100. 

Heilig sat in a plastic lawn chair by the road as the parade creeped past her home. 

“Oh, my goodness gracious,” Heilig said again and again, the News & Record reports.

Those involved with the parade said Heilig was particularly deserving of a big birthday party. 

She worked as a teacher’s assistant for a decade at Peck Elementary school and delivered for Meals on Wheels until eight years ago — when she was 92. She’s also active in her church, Emmanuel Baptist Church.

“This has been so much fun,” she said as the parade concluded. When asked for the secret of her long life, she said, “Love the Lord and take care of your body.”

Read the full story of Esther Heilig’s centennial celebration from the Greensboro News & Record.