Friday, March 4, 2011

We Celebrated 99 Years of Life!

Papa celebrated another milestone this past Wednesday, March 2. Today we all gathered together to celebrate his 99th birthday. We are celebrating 99 years! Can you imagine all the events that have happened over an era of almost 100 years?

It was more than a privilege to spend some special time with Papa last summer, during his wife's illness. This is one of my favorites photos, watching Papa and John engaged in discussions around agriculture. Papa came from Germany in 1951, which was 60 years ago, which would of made him a young man of 39 years of age. Who says you can't start a new life?

I could imagine Papa picking up the soil, letting it sift through his hands, feeling and testing for moisture, and texture. Papa had achieved his diploma in agriculture before coming to Canada, in 1951. One of the most profound lessons he was taught, was that when he came to Canada, he was NOT to challenge the Canadian agriculture system, but to watch, listen, learn, and observe for one year, to see how Canadians farmed, going through the cycles and seasons to see what he could learn from the Canadian farmers. This, then would qualify him to be eligible to offer his expertise to other farmers about soil, crops and planting. He loved the study of plant life and it's development.

I can see him checking the furrow...Is it straight enough? He's probably wondering if these young farmers know what they are doing today. I remember him always carefully pacing out the steps to the fence post, hanging an old shirt, taking the tractor and dropping the plow, to make the first furrow. It had to be perfect.
"Keep your eye on the target, never looking back." A great motto to live by.

During his years in Canada, Papa was very active in the church, often volunteering his time preaching the German sermon, or he would be conducting the German choir. He had a love for his culture and his faith and it was truly evident. I can still see him conducting the song, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," and pointing his hand to the tenors for their cue, and then to the bass, for the next cue. He loved music and passionately shared it with others.

Papa loved family. I remember him sitting outside last summer, as the little one slept on the lawn. I can just see him whispering a prayer of blessing over this great grandchild...I wonder what he would of said..."May you grow strong, and stay deeply rooted in the faith, no matter what comes your dear boy and may the peace of our God and Savior stay with you forever." Those are the words you could hear him say many times with the comings and goings of his grandchildren.

"The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. " Numbers 6:24-26. The words spoken to Mikki as she left for Haiti.

We all smiled and cheered today as he opened this one special gift. I can just imagine him proudly wearing this shirt at his new home in the Primrose Gardens at Menno Place.

The evening was filled with laughter, good food, tributes, from young and old. The turning point was when Papa stood up and gave a tribute to God for bringing back Helen's health. It was exactly a year ago when Helen, his wife of 29 years became suddenly ill, bringing on a new set of circumstances for their life. And here they are together once more celebrating another day, another year. Happy Birthday Papa!

And now we want to give back the same benediction to you, that you have often given to us!

"The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. " Numbers 6:24-26.


  1. That's a heartwarming story, Marg! I haven't seen Papa and Helen for over a year; they look very good! Dairymary

  2. What a handsome man! I'd be hard pressed to guess that he is in his 100th year!
    We who have parents still alive are so blessed. What a gift to the grandchildren and great grandchildren they are!

  3. What a wonderful tribute to your papa. I love the song that played along as I red..."The Lord Bless you and Keep you" i got very teary as I read your post. The prayers, and blessings....I add my amen to his.
    Loved the shirt.....he looked mighty happy and i'm sure he is wearing it as he walks about his new home.....he has a dear family to brag about.
    It is clear to see that you are a family who supports, loves and has fun together.

  4. Beautiful! You and your own grandchildren have been blessed with a wonderful legacy.

  5. How great is that!? What a wonderful legacy Marg. He is such a good looking 99! Blessings on him and Helen and all of you!

  6. Such a beautiful post, Marg! Your Papa's prayer choked me up! I want to learn to bless like that.

  7. Marg. .this one made me tear up. What a wonderful godly legacy this man has had on your family. To be blessed by a father is very special.

  8. The years and good health! Ah such a blessing!

  9. What a precious tribute to your Papa! Gottes Segen for many more of such beautiful memories!

  10. The picture of John and your Papa is so wonderful. I really love your story as family is so special. Memories of special times with parents and grandparents always produce a wan feeling.

  11. Congratulations to your wonderful Papa. Seeing the pictures of him standing out checking on the crops brings me a lot of memories of my dad and his father doing the same thing. My dad bought the family farm from his parents and we lived right next door to them. Those farming roots go deep.
    Thanks for relating to my nervous eating!

  12. Hi Marg
    This is such a beautiful story of a wonderful man who has a sweet daughter.
    Ninety-nine! Congratulations ~ and lookin' so good too! My favorite photo is of your father overlooking the fields. I also love the "Best Opa" shirt too!
    Smiles from me to you ~

  13. I'm a new friend to Helen and John and had the privilege of helping them last Fall. This post inpresses me to strive at leaving a beautiful legacy such as do your parents. PTL

  14. Great story, great picture! ^_^

  15. What a special prayer of blessing from Papa.
    My Mom would have been 93 on March 2. She loved to celebrate.

  16. That's YOUR Papa?!! I remember when they were newlyweds! Helen is my Uncle Jake's sister (it's a small mennonite world!) They are just the sweetest couple and she is soooo in love with your Papa! I didn't realize he was 99!!!! What a beautiful birthday blessing and tribute!

  17. Marg, this is such a beautiful post and a loving tribute. How blessed your family is to have each other.

    Thank you for sharing all of the love.

  18. Marg... my heart melted at the blessing that is handed down to you and your children through this godly man. What a heritage!

  19. What a wonderful milestone, Marg! Happy 99th birthday year to your Pappa! God bless him and your family always.

  20. What a lovely tribute to Papa - May God grant him a wonderful 100h year.


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