Time, as they say, marches on. Some of us are dragged along for the ride, for better or worse. Others grasp the reins and saunter forth with a smile in their hearts.
Ezra Martin certainly belongs in the latter category.
Mr. Martin celebrated his 104th birthday Thursday morning at NHC Healthcare with family and friends, and reflected on his years as an educator in Carroll County.
Born in 1914, Ezra grew up in Trezevant as the eldest of eight children, and took his education seriously.“Ezra rode a mule to high school,” said Ruby Martin-Alexander, Mr. Martin’s youngest sister. “He was hard-headed enough about getting his education that he rode a mule.”
Mr. Martin went on to graduate from Bethel College and get his Master’s Degree from Murray State University before returning home to teach in Carroll County. Ezra served his community as a teacher, school administrator, band director for 32 years, beginning in a one-teacher schoolhouse. Ezra served as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts for 15 years, led the school’s 4-H Club and even served one term as Mayor of McLemoresville, something he said everyone should do.
After retiring, Ezra enjoyed spending time in his shop, rebuilding antique furniture.
“I’ve admired Ezra since I met him,” said Ruby’s husband Mel Alexander. “There’s just no end to how highly I think of him.”
Alexander’s sentiments echoed the feelings of everyone who had met Ezra, including one of the staff members at NHC Healthcare, who told him that she remembered him as principal at the McLemoresville School when she was just a little girl.
“I taught the things that I believed in my heart would make it easier for [my students] to get through life,” Mr. Martin said.
Ezra also reportedly wrote plays for the school, and is a self-published author, penning a book of poetry, entitled “Pipe Dreams”. Caregivers at NHC stated that once a month, they take out his book and read his poems to the other residents.
“Life goes on. Sometimes why, I don’t know,” Mr. Martin said as he began to reminisce about his time on this plane of existence. “I don’t know how I got to be 104.
God did the work I knew I couldn’t. I have an idea that God saw that I was treating people the way I wanted to be treated, and maybe He gave me a little edge on everyone else.”Ezra has since slowed down, but his mind and his heart are still sharp.
One of his poems, “My Retirement”, rings true today as a humble servant of the Lord whose heart is willing, but whose body is weak.“There are lots of things I’d like to do, to help my fellow man.
I’d help the mighty and the low, but Father Time says ‘No.’
I’d like to teach the perfect class, and I still believe I could.
I have so much I could bestow, but Father Time says, ‘No.’
To write a pretty song, you see, for everyone to hear,Those dancing notes all in a row, but Father Time says, ‘No.’
To build a very pretty house for everyone to see,To feel so proud the place to show, but Father Time says, ‘No.’I do not need to fume or fret or fear of growing old,
There are still a lot of things I just gotta do,Even if Father Time says, ’No.’”