Sunday, March 7, 2010

The B-I-G 100!

I just found out yesterday that my Dad's oldest sister, my Aunt Gussie died a few days ago. She was 98! That's a pretty good run. Sadly, she wasn't in good health in her last few years so I guess not making it to her 100th birthday isn't as bad as all that.

Knowing that she was almost 100 when she died got my to thinking about another almost centigenarian I once knew. Round about the time my oldest great niece Alex was born I was visiting a lady who was a writer and had done broadcasts for the CBC named Peggy Holmes.

I met Mrs. Holmes after reading one of her books, Still Soaring. It was about her life in her early 90's. The cover of the book is a picture of her in a bright red outfit just before or after going up in a hot air balloon to celebrate her 90th birthday. She also wrote at least one other book called It Could Have Been Worse. It was about her experiences as a Canadian war-bride in the WWI.

I had looked up her son, who was mentioned in the book I read and had a common first name but one with a less common spelling. Through him I got her phone number and address so that I could get my copy of her book autographed. When I asked him if she would mind this he replied along the lines of "she is a ham, she will love it". After getting to know her a little I told her this, she was less than pleased at the characterization. LOL.

I visited her off and on for a few months. I don't remember getting her to tell any additional stories about herself. She didn't seem interested in that anymore. We just talked about our daily activities. Nothing special. One thing I remember is telling her that I was at the time or had recently worked in a pool hall. I remember this because at the end when I visited her in the hospital she actually mentioned remembering that.

I also remember two slightly unusual quirks she had. One was that she seemed to live on ginger-ale and kit-kat bars. LOL. At 99, I guess she figured it time to eat whatever the hell she wanted. The other thing I remember was that she used white kleenexes instead of book marks and had several books on the go so there was a lot of kleenexes sticking out of various books. It was sort of cute.

My final memory of her was visiting her in the hospital in my last visit to her before she died. I took my mom with me to meet her. We brought her some flowers from my mom's garden. I still remember the sign on her hospital room door as it was kind of bizarre. It read "No flowers or SALADS" I'm not sure why no salads. If we asked we obviously didn't get a good &/or interesting answer. NO SALADS! LOL.

In random news, being Sunday, I went to church today. Today's topic wasn't particularly noteworthy (we did have a guest speaker though - a Unitarian minister and university professor from Winnepeg). The reason I went today was to fulfill my promise to the Egyptian guy I talked about possibly helping with immigration/refugee status. I went to get a transcript of the service on "Standing For Something".

It turns out that I wasn't the only one who missed that service. It never happened. There was just a pre-service talk about the subject that some of the congregation had. There is a "follow-up/replacement" service scheduled for the end of the month so I will make every attempt to get to that.

Finally, while at the church I decided to go to the church library and found a book there that was in the borrowing/take if you like section. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff With Your Family. Look forward to reading this sometime soon. Will probably post some of the ideas that I liked best.


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