By the mood of the party and the music that echoed off the walls, the last thing most would expect Mary Bostrom to say about her birthday is that it’s just another celebration.
“It's just -- I had birthdays, that's all,” Mary Bostrom said.
But her friends and family will tell you it’s always a big deal with someone gets to celebrate birthday No. 99.
“It’s wonderful. It’s great,” Mary’s friend, Alene Johnson at the Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center, said. “If it were me, I would be well honored, that's for sure.”
“There's a lot of things that happen in 99 years,” Howard, Mary's son, said. “They've seen a lot of changes.”
Yet the one constant, Howard said, has always been his mother's love of music.
“She'd been around music all her life. She learned to play by ear,” he said. “When I grew up, I took piano lessons. She was always in the kitchen telling me if I went too fast or too slow.”
And with the love of music came a knack for rhythm, which always translated to the dance floor for her and her 10 siblings, especially her sister, Esther.
“Since they were young, all the girls, they all polka danced,” Howard said. “You mention dancing, you better have your coat on because they were headed for the door. They love to dance.”
“I feel better than when I'm not,” Mary said about dancing.
Her rhythm also translated -- in the early 1990s -- to the drum set, which she played at her own party.
“Anytime I can get behind any kind of music, boy I'll take a hold of it and play my music,” Mary said. “I love to play the drums.”
Not exactly what you’d expect from most 99-year-olds.
“I love music, so anything in music I pick up,” Mary said, moments before she picked up some drum sticks and began riding the cymbals. “I like to play, so I play whenever I can. I wouldn't be me if I couldn't play.”
She said the same goes for dancing.
“We're all dancers,” Mary said.
She still enjoys dancing despite recently losing her favorite dance partner -- her sister, Esther, who died at the age of 97.
“Every chance we got to dance, we danced,” Mary said.
“We kind of mention it to her. She doesn't respond too much. I think it just is what it is,” Howard said. “I don't know. But we start playing the drums, she'll smile and start singing the songs.”
And Mary knows plenty of songs.
“To tell you the truth about it,” she explains, “I know so many of them I couldn't tell ya.”
All inspired by her absolute favorite drummer.
“Well, my favorite drummer is me,” Mary said. “It's me.”
Howard said her drumming skills aren’t what they once were.
“Up until a few years ago, she could still sit in a chair and do her thing,” he said. “She has trouble now with just her age. One hand doesn't work too well.”
But her love for drums and music only gets stronger.
“I'm not gonna let it go,” she said. “I'm gonna take it with me.”