It was a birthday celebration to warm the heart on a chilly spring day.
When Harry Forbes turned 103 on Sunday, Maple Creek ensured his special day was a memorable one.
A balloon-decorated sign outside Cypress Lodge, where he lives, urged passing motorists to “Honk for Harry” – and many did just that, letting the neighbourhood know how much they admire the distinguished Second World War veteran.
Shortly before 2pm, Harry, wearing a wide-brimmed dark brown hat, appeared outside the Lodge in the company of Jeanie Culligan, director of care, and Linda Hanline, recreation coordinator.
Seating on a chair on the grass, he waved as a procession of vehicles, headed by a lit-up RCMP car, drove through the parking lot. Some people called out birthday greetings from their cars. From one vehicle, a “Happy 103rd Harry” sign fluttered from a window.
After it was over, a presentation ceremony was held in the grounds of Cypress Lodge. Among those present were Royal Canadian Legion personnel from Maple Creek and the surrounding area: Walter Arnold, Zone Commander of District 2, Zone 2; his wife, Debbie, Maple Creek Legion branch treasurer, Lester Nickel, Deputy Zone Commander of District 2, Zone 2; and Charlie Bertram, Piapot Legion president.
The occasion required a change of attire for Harry.
He reemerged in a smart blue Legion jacket, emblazoned with medals, and a matching beret.
After being greeted with a rendition of ”happy birthday”, Harry was seated in the garden next to his wife, Norma. He received an assortment of presents.
Walter Arnold handed him items from the Royal Canadian Legion, Saskatchewan Command. They included a letter and poem, and a framed copy of the hymn used by the 10th Canadian Battalion after Vimy Ridge, a pivotal 1917 battle in the First World War.
Bertram and Nickel also presented Harry with gifts and birthday cards.
Harry stood to thank people for the ceremony, befure he and Norma went back inside to continue the celebration … and tuck into a scrumptious cake.
After all, what birthday could be complete without a cake?