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Woman celebrates turning 106 in style
Resident rides steam engine in town
Bud Thomas, far right, and Joey Moore prepare a steam engine for Flossie Ehlert, who celebrated her 106th birthday Friday with a ride. - photo by Autumn McBride

Flossie Ehlert started a birthday tradition of taking a special ride six years ago.

That was her 100th birthday motorcycle ride.

For the big 106 on Friday, Ehlert boarded a road-ready steam engine and took a trip down Castleberry Road from her home at the Cumming Nursing Center.

Pretty in pink down to her booties, Ehlert rode atop the 1923 engine with nursing center staff and some train operators.

Larry Hill, who organized the first motorcycle ride, got a friend to donate his steam engine to the cause.

“Glad to do it,” Hill said. “Maybe someone’ll do it for me some day if I make it that long. Not many people do.”

The 106-year-old had her birthday accomplishment recognized on the “Today” show last week.

Her daughter, Dot Bates, said her mother’s long life doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

“She never smoked, and if you’d give her a sip of wine, she’d take one sip and say ‘oh, I’m drunk,’” Bates said.

Her mother was an avid bridge player until she turned about 99, she said.

For her 100th birthday, her first at the nursing center, a group of students wanted to grant her a wish — something she’d always wanted to do but never done.

Ehlert chose to ride a motorcycle, which she did on her 100th birthday from the sidecar.

“He turned that engine on and she lit up like a star,” Bates said.

On her 105th, she took the motorcycle ride for the second time, when Hill told her about his steam engine.

“I was going to take her for a steam engine ride next Fourth of July,” he said. “I guess she couldn’t wait.”