According to statisticians, only two in 100,000 women live to see 110.
But anyone who has spent even a few moments with Annabelle Hoblinger knows she's one in a million.
Even if the spunky, often ornery native New Yorker doesn't herself believe it.
"No, I'm not a big deal," she declared. "I'm just me and nobody else. And I don't know what it feels like to be 110. And if I did know, I wouldn't tell anyway.
"So don't bother me with it."
You can take the girl out of New York City, but you can't take New York City out of the girl.
On the momentous occasion of her 110th year on Earth, and designation as a “supercentenarian,” the unsinkable Hoblinger was feted with a celebration worthy of a woman who's lived to see 19 presidencies, the Great Depression and Recession, two world wars, the Model T and the Space Shuttle, silent films and ultra-high-definition television.
By way of comparison, the oldest living American is 113. At 111, Hazel Eikermann of Hugo is the state's oldest resident, followed by Hoblinger and Mabel Nesmith of Littleton, who turned 110 earlier this month.
At the Pueblo West home of her daughter Anne Beers, where she has lived for the past 20 years, surrounded by family, friends and members of her Sangre de Cristo Hospice and Palliative Care team, Hoblinger held court from a leather recliner.
"Look at all these people here," mused Hoblinger, stylishly adorned in a pink slacks and sweater ensemble. "Everyone wants to take my picture. Well, take a good look folks: You'll never see another one like this."
Proving, of course, that truth isn't limited to the mouths of babes.
Hoblinger was born on March 16, 1909, in Calico, N.Y.: a farm girl who, along with her parents and six siblings, made due without plumbing or electricity.
"They had an outhouse with two places for adults and one for a child," Beers explained. "And in those days, they could drink water right from the stream, and they did."
Once she became of age, however, Hoblinger left the quiet rustic life for the bright lights of the greatest of metropolises.
"Like every daughter that grew up in this family, my mother was expected to leave high school and go to New York City to get a job, and send part of the money home," Beers explained. "Which is what she and all three of her sisters did."
In The Big Apple, Hoblinger became a domestic for a very wealthy Fifth Avenue woman.
"She took care of the woman's clothing, her child and helped with some of the cleaning," Beers said. "She did this for about seven or eight years."
At which time Cupid came calling.
"It was an arranged blind date. They met at Orchard Beach, close to New York City," Beers continued. "The first time she saw my father Anton, he was in a bathing suit. And she said, 'Oh my gosh, is he skinny. I'm not interested.' But once he got dressed in his not only white shirt but suit, tie, hat and shoes that sparkled, she said, 'Ah, maybe he's a little thin but there's a lot of other nice stuff here.'"
Anton, an electrical contractor, and Hoblinger eventually married and moved into a fifth-floor Bronx apartment. After Beers' birth, and with Hoblinger expecting, the family relocated to a home on Long Island.
There, Hoblinger filled the role of both homemaker — with a penchant for baking — and receptionist and occasional radio repairwoman for her husband's business. Once her daughters became teenagers, Hoblinger joined the team at Macy's, first in the appliance department and later in woman's clothing.
"She worked there until she was probably 75 or 80," Beers noted.
As the Beers' home filled with well-wishers, Hoblinger, in her typical blend of sass and graciousness, greeted one and all.
"You look beautiful," one visitor was heard to say.
"Oh, that's what they all say," came Hoblinger's retort.
After a dapper gentleman gently planted a kiss on her cheek, the birthday girl was, at least temporarily, at a rare loss for words.
"Well, well. I'm going to have to come here more often," Hoblinger said, bringing a vibrant smile to her friendly suitor's face.
After energetic sing-alongs of "You Are My Sunshine" and "Edelweiss," Hoblinger was escorted to one of several birthday cakes for the traditional blowing out of the candles and cutting.
"What's your wish?" called out one guest.
"That everybody that's here will come back again."
And then came another question that's become obligatory of all centenarians.
"What's the secret to a long life?"
"If you know, give it to me," Hoblinger replied. "I don't know. But we're all going to get there."
Beers, however, believes she has the answer.
"She's just ornery. I can't win an argument. If you say something that makes her a little bit annoyed, she'll cut you right off at the knees, beautifully."