Therefore, when a party is thrown for a 100th birthday, people know it’s going to be a milestone celebration. When it comes to local residents, they knew the centennial celebration planned for last weekend was going to be a real shindig since it was in honour of Herb Duncan. Herb is in amazing condition for a man of his age and he and his wife, Connie, recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.
Aside from his age, what made Herb’s birthday spectacular in my mind was the stamina and party spirit displayed by the birthday boy. He set the pace by visiting with friends at a social in the afternoon before playing his violin with family members and fellow musicians. After a brief rest and supper, Herb returned to the Legion Hall for a jam session and dance. He again treated the crowd to songs with the accompaniment of his son Neil and grandson Scott and the band known as The Grandma and Grandpas. Bernice Stewart and Herb also teamed up as the last remaining members of the Old-Time Fiddlers, a well-known local group that produced an album and made commercial tape recordings as well. Before the festivities ended, Herb continued visiting with friends and was mingling with people even when the clean up began.
To top it off, the centenarian didn’t even seem tired as he stood around and said good-night to folks as they left.
It was quite a sight and I left the hall thinking about the great celebration Herb’s family had put on. It made me think about Herb and Connie and my own health. I am very grateful for my health and I hope my body and mind are going half as strong as Herb’s if I manage to reach his age. The celebration also made me reflect on the situation of many seniors who do not have good health.
As I pondered that thought, my father and his ailments came to mind, as did a problem he is currently facing in a seniors lodge in British Columbia.
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined smoking dope to be an issue in a seniors home, but was I wrong. One of the tenants who is also my dad’s neighbour uses weed fairly regularly and stinks up the entire wing of the building. The matter has been taken to the board and president of the housing authority several times, but no action has been taken to stop the old pothead from violating smoking regulations and narcotic laws.
Therefore I ask, what is the point in having regulations and laws if they are not going to be enforced? The board and president do not want to deal with it and from a legal perspective, I am sure no police officer wants to arrest a senior for quietly sitting at home and getting buzzed out of his mind on B.C. bud.
No Crown attorney or judge will want to prosecute the old guy who seems incapable of performing community service. Therefore, it seems as if officials are relying on nature and life expectancy statistics to kick in and solve the problem.
What initially appeared like good news from Statistics Canada may actually be a detriment to my father’s situation as figures indicate the life expectancy of citizens continues to increase. Based on information from 2005, residents are now expected to live an average of 80.4 years. It means a child born in 2005 will live an average of 80.4 years. It is a notable increase since babies born in 1991 were expected to live 77.8 years.
It is interesting that women continue to live longer than men, which indicates to me that males are not as difficult to live with as most women claim. However, the difference between males and females is shrinking. In 1991, girls were expected to live 6.3 years longer than their male counterparts. That has now been shortened to 4.7 years for boys born in 2005. On average, girls born now will live 82.7 years, but males will only make it to age 78.
Expectations are not that good further north as people in the three northern territories are estimated to have a life span of only 76.3 years.
One thing that remains consistent in the face of statistical studies is that Herb Duncan knows how to defy the odds. What is his secret to long life? Herb says a big part is avoiding conflict and finding happiness in life and that includes marriage, family, friends and making music of course.
All I can say is, “Congratulations Herb and thank you and your family for a great party. You gave us a fantastic reason to celebrate – you set the bar high and reached a milestone I can only dream of.”