The invitations had gone out, the menu set, and the party decorations purchased.
But then it happened, and Ruth Block’s 102nd birthday party could not take place.
Ruth, my dear mother, was born March 12, 1918, in the small town of Zlochew, in the province of Lodz, Poland.
For more than two years now, she has been living at the Westhill Residence on Sherbrooke W.
She’s in good shape, with no chronic illnesses, and as we like to say, she has all her marbles.
At the residence, they celebrated her birthday with a special cake, but our event, which had been planned for March 15, on a Sunday with a brunch at a favourite café not too far away would not take place. For weeks, Ruth had been asking who was on the guest list, and how she would get there, and other questions. It was uppermost in her mind, with great anticipation.
Our local family and friends had indicated which of the four meal choices they would like, and we passed on the result to John, owner, chief cook, and bottle washer, at the ma-and-pa Kokkino’s Café.
Then came the virus, and granddaughter Myriam Block, an obstetrician-gynecologist, had to cancel because my partner, Barbara, was returning from a visit to Cuba and all medical staff were under strict orders not be in contact with anyone who had travelled internationally.
After a sleepless night, I realized the party could not take place, since Barbara, whose presence is essential, could not be there. Of course most of the 20 people would have been seniors.
Then I realized I couldn’t attend because I would have been in contact with Barbara.
Clearly, the party had to be postponed. And when I called John Friday morning to let him know, he said, “I was waiting for your call.”
Ruth, always rational, always thinking of others, of course understood. She is an avid reader of The Gazette and was up on the virus news. After a few days, she phoned to tell me she was running low on oranges and would appreciate a fresh supply but only “if it isn’t dangerous.”
Since the residence is following a no-visitor rule, I won’t be able to visit there for a while yet.
Now we are waiting and self-isolating, and hoping…
And one day in the not-too distant future, Ruth will have her 102nd birthday party. Let’s hope she doesn’t have to wait until she’s 103!