DALLAS -- Inside the Castle Gap jewelry store in Dallas, there are displays full of Native American gems, but the real crown jewel sits just behind the counter.
“Maybe I am just a little bit off,” owner Maxine Bennett said as she twirled her finger around her head. Maxine Bennett opened her store 44 years ago and still puts in a full day’s work six times a week, all at the age of 97.
"The good Lord doesn't want me,” she said. “He says no, I don't want her. The devil says don't send her down here, so here I am!"
It’s hard to go anywhere when you’re already in heaven. “I want to continue working until I fall down dead on the floor.”
It’s not that she just loves to work. She just hates retirement. “What do you do when you retire,” she asked emphatically. “Nothing!”
Maxine tries to take a vacation like when she recently went to the beach in Florida. But just ask her daughter, Beverly, how that went. “Two or three days in, she’s over it,” Beverly said.
Neither Maxine’s work ethic, nor her longevity, come from eating her vegetables or avoiding vices. Maxine is a drinkin’, smokin’ type of gal.
“I like both of ‘em,” she said with a laugh. She drinks a glass of wine every night, but gave up smoking when she was in her 70s. Although, she plans to light up again in a few years.
“When I quit smoking, I would piss and moan, 'I want a cigarette! I want a cigarette!’ Finally, one day, she told me 'When you're 100 you can have one, so I'm gonna live to be 100."
You’d expect that kind of life to have an effect on her heart. And, in fact, it has. For nearly 20 years, Maxine has raised money for the local food bank, sacrificing much of her own profit.
“Why not,” she asked. “Somebody needs food and they don’t have it.” Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend clearly never met this heart of gold.