"I went there for therapy and they put me to work," she says, noting the exercise classes she leads twice a week also are great for fibromyalgia.
Visited Nicaragua as part of mission
"It's not a cardiovascular workout. It's slow. It's for strengthening and range of motion."
Her trip to Nicaragua in March 2005 was with a Baptist medical mission out of Mississippi.
"We went down there for a week and slept on the floor. We had a good time."
During that week, they supplied people with 776 pairs of glasses. It was rewarding work.
"They'd just hug us when they could read their Bible," Watts says. "They could sew and do their daily activities."
Speaking of hugs, Watts knew how to reciprocate.
"I think God gave us arms so we could hug," says Watts, who is a member of Magnolia Christian Church in Harrodsburg.
Tax refund came in handy
Her South American trip was pure happenstance. She and her daughter, Betty Carter, who lives in Franklin, were checking on some calves when she got the invitation from a neighboring farmer to go with her daughter's church.
The only problem was coming up with the $1,500 needed to go.
"I always do my taxes in February and you know how much I got back?"
Watts was no stranger to travel as she and her husband of 52 1/2 years, Lewis, went to Europe, Canada and all but three of the United States together. She still shows her love for him.
"Not only do I rake the leaves, but I cut the grass at the cemetery. I keep his grave mowed and trimmed. I don't let them do it."
One of their favorite things to do together was square dancing and she still is a member of the Constitution Squares.
"Oh, he loved square dancing. He thought he invented it."
No hesitancy in revisions
Although she misses her husband very much, a little bit of Watts' ability to roll with the punches stems from her birth in a Southern Railway boxcar.
"We lived in it. It was a two-room house, but it had Southern on the outside," Watts says. "During the Depression, you lived anywhere you could."
One of her three children, son Gary Watts, now lives in the same vicinity, Talmadge-Mayo. Her other daughter, Donna McGinnis, lives in Harrodsburg.
It's no surprise with her tendency toward trying new and different things that Watts doesn't hesitate to revise recipes. When Val Harrison gave her a recipe for muffins, Watts doctored it until it was completely different, but still healthy. "I have added to it until it's just not the same muffin anymore."
For example, instead of 5 cups of flour, she uses flour, Bisquick and yellow cake mix. She added preserves and instant pudding. Instead of 3 cups of sugar, she mixes brown sugar and molasses, honey or sorghum.
"All that makes it better," she says.
One tip she offers about making the muffins is to spray Pam or cooking oil in the paper liner to keep it from sticking.
Her muffins are expected
Over the years, many people came to expect Watts to come bearing muffins.
"When I went to see Dr. Lukins, I'd take muffins. When I'd go back, the nurses would say, 'What did you bring us to eat today?'"
One of the reasons she was able to make muffins so often is because the batter will keep for six weeks in the refrigerator.
"It's a lot of trouble to make, but it keeps six weeks," she says, noting that she also makes sourdough bread and gives most of it away. The meter reader and the mailman often are the recipients.
"I have so many boyfriends but they either have to be married or under 10."
Original recipe from Val Harrison, but modifications over the years by Rose Watts have produced this recipe.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses, sorghum or honey
1 cup oil
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 cup Bisquik
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
1 quart buttermilk
20-ounce box of Raisin Bran
Bake at 400 degrees for 22 minutes.