Centenarian has never visited a doctor: Soup, milk, beer and loving kindness are Mercedes Salazar’s secrets to longevity | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Centenarian has never visited a doctor: Soup, milk, beer and loving kindness are Mercedes Salazar’s secrets to longevity

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Mercedes Salazar talks about her life as her only son, Carlos Ahumada, looks on.
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Good food, a healthy attitude, six naps a day, no doctor visits and a Bud Light every day have contributed to Mercedes Salazar’s long and plentiful life.

The South Lake Tahoe woman turned 100 a few weeks ago with her family by her side – reflecting on a woman who grew up on a ranch in Mexico where she learned to ride a horse, rope a cow and sing in the church chorus.

A modest Salazar sang a few bars Monday with family and friends gathered around but stopped when she realized her voice had cracked a little.

Salazar has kept up most of her life’s pace in Tahoe since moving here eight years ago, according to translators consisting of her son Carlos Ahumada, granddaughter Lilia, daughter-in-law Maria Castaneda and family friend Maria Vargas.

A long life runs in Salazar’s family. Her grandmother lived to age 104.

“If I wanted to walk to Mexico, I could,” she said, raising her legs from the sofa to prove it. Her son Carlos, her only child, placed his arm around the matriarch of the family.

As it turns out, Salazar walks on her apartment balcony on Larch Street every day. The typical day includes breakfast with the family of seven, washing dishes, the first of a half dozen naps, strolling the balcony and yet another nap. She sprinkles time with her family throughout the day, including riding around in the car with her grandsons.

Atypical behavior – but this centenarian may be different. Her diet consists of soup and milk. She doesn’t eat meat but doesn’t call herself a vegetarian. She’s never been to the doctor because she’s never had to, she explained waving her arms around.

And instead of allowing stress to bring on illness when her husband Dionisio died 40 years ago from a medical error in Mexico, she channeled even more of her love to her family.

“After he died, I never got sick. I gave a lot of love to my son and moved back with my (brother and sister in Mexico). I thank God for living and for my son,” she said.

The former elementary school teacher said her life has been full since coming to Tahoe.

“Tahoe is beautiful. I’ve been happy in Tahoe. There are nice people in Tahoe,” she said.

Even at the ripe age of 100, Salazar said she still likes seeing the snow, she mentioned, motioning snowflakes with her fingertips.

Sept. 24, 1906, Mercedes Salazar was born and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devil’s Tower in Wyoming the nation’s first national monument.


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