100+ and Goin’ Strong
A couple of years ago Rita and I were invited to attend a Vanguard Seniors Home Bar-B-Q and listen to a local Bluegrass band. There we met our first Centenarian (a person 100 years old or older) – Margaret. We were sitting at an empty table when this spray old lady asked if she could sit at our table. She was so sharp and high spirited that I would have ventured to speculate that she was not much over 80.
Born in 1913 she celebrated her 101st birthday at Vanguard Seniors Home in 2014. Margaret gave us a very brief outline of her life. She was raised and schooled in Edmonton. I noticed she was wearing a wedding ring, but she didn’t say anything about a husband or family. In her adult life she managed a couple of Edmonton stores, and owned and operated a general store at Alberta Beach ‘for years’.
Other people joined our table. In the course of our table-talk, Margaret mentioned a number of times how she could not believe that she was over 100 years old. As she said this, I could almost see some images in her eyes as thoughts of those years reflected in her mind.
A Heathen In Our Midst
When the Bar-B-Q was ready, I was asked to give the blessing over the meal. Most of those present were unfamiliar with us as we had not met them through our ministry time at Vanguard. There were well over 100 people looking at me with the unspoken question; “Who is this guy?” I briefly introduced us as “Rob and Rita who minister here on a voluntary basis”.
Later, after we had eaten, I was offering drinks of juice to some of the people. One of the (younger) residents came over to me and asked; “Are you the minister here?” I explained that we only volunteer here.
He said; “I want to thank you for allowing us to live here.” This unexpected comment surprised me.
He explained; “When I filled out the religious affiliation part of the residency application form, I entered ‘Reformed Heathen.’” I didn’t know how to respond.
He expanded; “When I answered the question about religious practices I do not support, I entered ‘Sacrificing virgins to the volcano gods.’” I couldn’t help myself. I burst out laughing.
When I regained some composure, I told him; “Those are such great answers, they had to let you in – just to liven things up a bit.”