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“I just dies at you!”

A Newfoundland expression translated: You make me laugh!

Are you afraid of the elderly? Do seniors give you the shivers?

Of course not. You should not fear that sweat, loving Grannie or that charming, stately Granddad, right?

Unless you are in Newfoundland and Labrador. Then, you need to run, and run as fast as you can to get away. Save your soul, my son – just run. They are coming for you!

All kidding aside, Newfoundland is a very special place. It is absolutely unique and one of the best places to have a vacation in North America. You will enjoy the most amazing experiences that you will ever know. Just do not go now – I am told that there is a pandemic bubble wrapped around this Province. It must be a very big bubble? I mean gigantic, right?

Why is it so very special? It is because Newfoundland is overflowing with truly amazing people. Luckily for me, I am related to many of them. My Mother was from Fermeuse a small fishing village on the Avalon Peninsula. My Newfoundland family is large. So, every time I visit my ancestral home, I receive the warmest of welcomes. It is a powerfully magical place. And, these warmest of welcomes will be extended to you too.

One of my aunts there is Teresa Lawrence. She is in her 90s now, but she has more life within her compared to ten youngsters under 30. She is a live-wire as my Mother would say. So, keep your distance unless you want to be shocked with laughter and love. There is no funnier humour anywhere than from these elderly Maritimers. They know joy, music, and love, and they will unequivocally and utterly tickle your fancy. Hey, is that a good thing? What the heck is your ‘fancy’ anyways? I hope it is not something vulgar? Newfoundland expressions can be so confusing for us ‘from away’ folks, But, you will absolutely be charmed and will love the warmth of the soften Newfoundland accents.

This NTV news clip of Aunt Teresa tells of her parasailing at 80, running the world’s longest zip-line at 85, and of course, skydiving at 90! We are all holding our collective breathes for her upcoming 95th birthday celebrations.

Aunt Tess, as we always lovingly call her is now living in the Alderwood Retirement Centre. Now, the idea of a retirement home conjours up all sorts of negative thoughts. Remember though, you have never really lived, until you have been to Newfoundland. So a retirement home there is so dramatically different – it is so full of life, and happiness – that the rest of Canada; the rest of the world for that matter, are all confused and unable to properly comprehend the pure radiance of fellowship that emanates from these glorious people. Yes, these Newfoundlanders may be old, but they know how to live life, far better than most. They are not dead yet!

Here is Aunt Tess in full horror makeup for her Halloween scare to entertain the children. She was lying in a coffin that she borrowed from the local funeral home. OMG!

Below is an overview of some of their special Halloween events, this one is from 2019. The story is an excerpt from a television news magazine program that ran on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Rene Houlihan, recreation director at Alderwood Estates, said the theme of Tuesday night’s event was “Club Med turns to Club Dead”.

Our seniors have been working on characters all week that they think will be horrifyingly terrible,” Houlihan said.

The real story here for me is the vitality and sense of humour that the residents have attacked this project with.

Aunt Tess and her friends at Alderwood put together a fun event for Halloween for the local kids and the extended Alderwood families to come and enjoy with them. It is a frightening evening of scary fun and spooky games. They go all out there. They are fully committed to having fun, laughter, and the joy of life.

Here are a few photos and videos of my Aunt Tess.

2020 – My sister, Karin Martin and her amazing husband, Trevor Walker decorate their High Park home every year for Halloween too. To call their decorations extreme is an extreme understatement.

However, my 92 year old Aunt Tess says, “Hold my beer” as Halloween is fast approaching. Here is a photo of her. She and her retirement home cohort are doing a “dress rehearsal” for their annual Halloween extravaganza. Yes, you see that right. They are loading her into a hearse to prepare to terrorize wee little ones. Do not worry, that frightful face is adorned with skillful makeup. Like my twisted sister, Karin, and her partner in crime, Trevor, Aunt Tess loves the spooky stuff too.

The question that remains, who will get more national media coverage? – Karin or Aunt Tess? While Karin ran nationally this past Sunday on CBC Radio One with Ian Hanomansing, Aunt Tess is a serious player, so I am betting she will get national ‘television’ coverage this year.

Well played Aunt Tess… well played… Time to up your game Karin Martin.

Here is a new video clip that has been released about Aunt Tess’s Halloween preparation party. I dread to think what they will actually do on October 31, 2020. Let us hope that COVID does not limit the size of the audience for all of this hard work. Yes, managing the hundreds children brought by their parents and families who gather to see these elderly trick of treats will be different this year, but they have all seen pandemics before, so they are not scared themselves. Life goes on in Newfoundland!

Life is an adventure. Unless you embrace these daring adventures, then you have not truly lived a meaningful life. Just sayin’.