Ruth L'Herrisont won't say what famous people she cooked for during a lifetime of service that took her from Missouri to Texas and finally to the Beehive State in a century of living.
She's 101, and at that age, there are certain things you don't have to tell if you don't want to."Yeah, there have been some big names," she says. "They're all dead now."
L'Herrisont arranges her shawl with pretty, painted fingernails.
Her wristwatches, one each in silver and gold, and bracelets on her other slim arm glisten under a canopy of trees where she and 29 other Utahns who've lived for 100 years or more are gathered at Gov. Mike Leavitt's mansion in downtown Salt Lake City.
Who!? Please tell. Now I'm really curious.
"Oh, some really big names. Political folks. I cooked all my life."
Who? Like local politicians?
"Bigger than that."
The guests of honor came with their families - some blood, some adopted - from as far away as Delta to a "Centenarian Celebration" hosted by the governor and his wife.
Many of the 142 known centenarians in Utah came to the event, dressed in their finest and bolstered for the day with stories of war and love and children and the way things used to be.
Here is John Holley, 102, dodging the sun between bites from his fruit plate.
Mildred Martin, 100, wore a beautiful peach blouse, and her favorite brooch.
Rhoda Stay, 100, toured the mansion during the celebration, and remembered a governor's children sliding down the banister long ago. She used to live just up the street, she says, at E Street and Third Avenue. She used to baby-sit the children of one of Utah's governors, she said.
"Drink lots of water," reminded the people from the state's Division of Aging and Adult Services. It was hotter than a firecracker on the east lawn of the Governor's Mansion.
Paramedics were standing by as Leavitt distributed gold pins and congratulated each honoree personally.
The oldest woman was Rachel Sealy, 107, Logan.
The oldest man was Frank Griffin, 104, Springville.
And all had stories.
It's hard for some folks to hear the questions, the inner workings of their ears affected by a century of use.
Harry Meinhardt, 101, is leaning into the queries. He's wearing suspenders, a smart-looking derby and a pin in the shape of Utah that says "100" from last year's gathering.
He says they've tried to steal it at the rest home where he stays.
He's tired from his 2 1/2-hour trek to Salt Lake City from Delta, where he's lived nearly all his life. He's surrounded by chattering great-grandchildren and relatives. Trucks rolling up and down South Temple like they do everywhere in this crazy city add to the noise. He's having a hard time hearing.
He's sleepy, and after a few reminiscences about the alfalfa seed he's farmed since moving to Delta from Los Angeles in 1917 and the motorbikes he rode until the family made him quit at 95, he closes his eyes and dozes.
But here comes Gov. Leavitt, and First Lady Jackie. They've got a pin for Meinhardt, and they're both telling him how proud they are and Meinhardt's countenance has just dropped 10, 15, 20 years and his smile puts him at 70 again.
Seems for a moment Meinhardt has some things to tell the chief executive, but then he just pauses, smiles and says, "You don't get to be 102 overnight, you know."
"You sure don't," Gov. Leavitt nods.
Jackie Leavitt is warm and loving. She gives Meinhardt's shoulder a squeeze and tells him he's wonderful. She's the homeroom mother for these 30 centenarians who've gathered at her temporary residence.
"Ah," says Meinhardt when the first couple moves on. "That was the governor of the State of Utah."