My 95th August birthday

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I turned 95 at the end of August, which precipitated a round of celebrations I can only call unforgettable.

People exclaim how wonderful it must feel to have reached such a milestone. But they have no idea how my family choreographed our time together to suit my tastes, my desires, no matter the inconvenience or expense to them. I shall be forever grateful.

Central to our festivities was The Party. I was asked to provide a list of names, for, with family all living out-of-province, this could not be a surprise party.

Anne Yanchyshyn wore palazzo pants at her 95th birthday party celebration at Dakota House.

And they came. What a thrill it was to meet up with relatives and friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. How precious to see my family, big and small, mingling, snacking, and setting an informal mood. You had to witness friend Wilma take my youngest great-grandson for a dance to understand what I mean.

Preceding the serving of the beautiful birthday cake, my Dakota House friends initiated a sing-song. Everyone got a copy of the lyrics prepared in advance. With Irene as Maestra and Margaret at piano, there was unmistakable joy in all voices at that gathering.

For a surprise ending I’d asked my former neighbor-couple from Glenlawn Avenue to sing and play my favorite song, Hallelujah. In my state of euphoria I completely forgot to introduce them. Fortunately, Twila herself spoke up and then brought tears to my eyes with her rendition, while husband Don with his guitar blended his voice in at the end.

Earlier, in planning how to keep my speech light, I thought I’d disclose how I decided to wear my sale-priced palazzo pants at the party. (They were back in style, I’d noticed.) But I chickened out for fear of offending our guests.

Here is what was left unsaid, with my apologies…

Wearing a dress is out — I haven’t worn one for ever so long! And I can’t wear a pair of skinny pants so popular today — my knees are too knobby to be highlighted that way.

Sour grapes? No, I’m just not that fond of them. Blame it on my childhood, when I’d seen a similar style worn by the men. At times, I’d had to wash this fleece-lined underwear using an old scrub board and galvanized tub. Yes, that skinny silhouette was negatively imprinted on my mind.

Now sometimes when I’m in a naughty mood I imagine myself sneaking up on someone in tights to see if there’s a flap at the back, as in the old long-johns or “gotchies.”

That settled it — at my party I’d wear something similar in name only, my wide palazzos called “gauchos.”

Anne Yanchyshyn

Anne Yanchyshyn
St. Vital community correspondent

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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