The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Life must go on

The life eulogized in this article is worth noting, among other reasons, because her optimism and many healthy habits may have contributed to her longevity along with her winning of the good genetics lottery.

Thinking of this as a short story, it becomes an interesting 'slice of life'.


Halifax,Nova Scotia, Canada

HALIFAX -- Mrs. M.P. had a family history of longevity, but insisted that hard work was really what made her live long enough to become one of Canada's estimated 7,500 centenarians.

But throughout her 106 years, she managed to remain optimistic and eager to try new things. 

She was born in 1906 in Harrigan Cove, about a 90-minute drive northeast of Halifax, into a family that lived off the land and sea.

"My grandfather would gather lobster that washed on the shore and crush them for feed for the pigs," she said. (Nowadays the lobster is 'dear' and the pig is cheap thanks to over fishing)

She attended a one-room schoolhouse until Grade 6, and was just 11 when, on 
 (Halifax had a 9/11 type disaster)

Dec. 6, 1917, a French cargo ship loaded with wartime explosives detonated in Halifax's harbour. 

More than 90 years later, she could recall "like it was yesterday" the famous explosion that killed 2,000 people, injured another 9,000 and levelled everything within two square kilometres.
 She found love and larceny on the ocean. Out in her rowboat one day, she came across the nets of fisherman who became her husband, and mischievously emptied them.

The couple married on Dec. 22, 1927, and went to live with the groom's father. Four years later, with the help of horses, their house was moved across a farmer's field to its current location.

The couple spent more than 80 years in the small, two-storey home where they raised their 13 children.

All the children were born at home without the help of a doctor because he had to get to her by horse.

Work went from morning 'til night. While her husband fished, she maintained a large garden to help feed the family, washed clothes by hand, tended to the livestock, cooked and preserved food. 

She said,
"I think the greatest invention I've seen is the washer and dryer"

She didn't smoke and stayed away from processed foods.

She didn't nap, but made sure to get enough sleep every night.

She never drove a car and would walk to church with her husband every Sunday until he died about 30 years ago.

An optimist, she had little patience for complainers.  
She would go out to card parties and to play bingo a couple of times a week.

While she loved television, she blamed it for causing a lot of loneliness in rural Nova Scotia. 

She always said, ''Once TV came in, nobody came to visit no more".
 Never afraid to try new things,  even went toDisneyland when she was 80; going on all the rides except those, such as roller coasters, that posted health warning signs.

"'Life must go on,' she always said.

Special to The Globe and Mail

University of California researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin offer a few hints about why some people live so long in their 2011 book:

The Longevity Project: 
Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life.

"Having a large social network, engaging in physical activities that naturally draw you in, giving back to your community, enjoying and thriving in your career and nurturing a healthy marriage or close friendships can do more than add many years to your life," they write.

"Together, they represent the living with purpose that comes from working hard, reaching out to others and bouncing back from difficult times."