What a fun and pleasing day it turned out to be! The weather was pleasant, with no rain or snow.

I’m talking about Saturday, Nov. 9, the day of my 80th  birthday.

A meet and greet gathering was quietly organized by a couple of longtime friends of the Little Lady and  I, and it coincided exactly on the date of my 1933 birth and was held at the well-known Fergus Legion. Which, incidentally, is the town in which I was born, in a little stone cottage across the river from Groves Memorial Hospital.

The story told was that my father had shovelled a path through three feet of white, fluffy snow in order to get the nurse in to the door. I apparently was in quite a hurry because it was further related that before Doctor Groves was able to shortcut his way across the slippery stepping stones, summertime  placed in the river, I was already squalling in the nurse’s hands.

She was eyeing a large pair of scissors, getting ready to cut the umbilical cord, just as the doctor arrived. Apparently I didn’t like her much because she had whacked my butt in order to get me breathing.

Being a conservationist by heart, and at the age where it is wise to conserve up and down energy, I parked the same butt that the nurse had slapped on a hip-high stool and spent the next four hours shaking hands and chin-wagging, in the process of meeting and greeting. There wasn’t a dull moment; the first hand was shaken moments after the hour of one, the last one just prior to when the big hand pointed at twelve and the little hand directly at five.

They came from far and near, and ‘twas as though they were emerging from hidden nooks and crannies of our life, bringing back pleasant memories of years that had long ago departed. There were family, friends and neighbours, some who I had just recently met and some longtime readers whom I had never met. There were young and there were old, a neatly mixed jumble of ages.

Well worthy of note, midway through our gathering, a phone was handed to me by the bar-keep. It was a phone call, wishing me well, from one who now resides somewhere in the outward fringes of Owen Sound. She is one whom I have not seen in many long years, but had first met about a week or so prior to meeting my Little Lady.

She and a couple of younger sisters lived a couple of doors hither from the house where I boarded, which was across the street from where my Little Lady then resided. Do the math, folks – she is no longer 16.

On returning back home I checked the many emails that had arrived on my computer. There were many, some from far and some from near, while others were breeching continents, most wishing the same salutations: “Happy 80th Birthday, Barrie.”

But there is one that came from a reader from way down under, Australia, to way up over, Ontario, Canada, which I would feel deeply remiss if I did not pass its humorous antidote on to you. Here it is!

“I think the life cycle is all backwards! You should die first, start out dead, and get it out of the way. Then you wake up in a nursing home, feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day!

“You work 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You drink alcohol, you party, you’re generally promiscuous, and you get ready for secondary school. You go to primary school, you skip kindergarten, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, and you become a baby.

“Then you spend your last nine months floating peacefully with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service on tap, larger living quarters every day, and finally … you finish off as an orgasm. I rest my case.”

Do you think perhaps we do live in a topsy-turvy world? Is there anyone out there who would disagree?

At my age, certainly not!

Take care, ’cause we care.                   



Barrie Hopkins