Turning 80 in style

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Merv Jaques enjoyed a brisk morning walk Saturday, letting his feet take him on a trek of more than 26 miles as he walked the equivalent distance of a marathon. He raised $15,000 for Ronald McDonald House in the process. How else does someone celebrate their 80th birthday, right?
Merv Jaques enjoyed a brisk morning walk Saturday, letting his feet take him on a trek of more than 26 miles as he walked the equivalent distance of a marathon. He raised $15,000 for Ronald McDonald House in the process. How else does someone celebrate their 80th birthday, right?

Jaques turns 80 in style

Merv Jaques is one of a kind, and Ronald McDonald House staff are very happy he’s a proud supporter.

One day after his 80th birthday, the Bothwell man walked a marathon – more than 26 miles – in a fundraiser effort to help the charity. He raised $15,000, three times his goal of $5,000.

Fortunately for the octogenarian, he smartly planned to walk the track indoors at the HealthPlex at St. Clair College. As the wind howled outside, Jaques briskly circled the track as family and friends offered support.

Well, it turns out more than just close family and pals had words for Jaques. Family members reached out asking for words of encouragement from far and wide, and Canadian icons responded.

The likes of Rick Mercer, Don Cherry, Ron McLean, Paul Henderson, Mitch Albom (OK, not Canadian), George Chuvalo, Pinball Clemons and Jerry Howarth responded.

So too did Olympians Curt Harnett and Marnie McBean, who teamed up with Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson. The witty trio provided a hilarious video honouring Jaques.

Meanwhile, Jaques had no idea of these well wishes as he rounded the track lap after lap Saturday. Little more than three hours into his morning trek, he was past the halfway point.

This wasn’t Jaques first marathon. Five years ago, he walked a similar distance outdoors in the heat of summer, trekking from Dresden to Wallaceburg and back, raising funds for Princess Margaret Hospital in the process.

The man has more energy than most guys decades younger, and a great sense of humour and love of family.

Well done, Merv!

 It might get loud

Five loud young ladies and one quiet young man. That’s who occupied our living room and kitchen Friday night as they gathered prior to their semi-formal.

As they cranked up the pop music, I sauntered outside, fired up the Big Green Egg and fed the crew. It was a safe haven for me, as they were excited for their big event.

What better way to celebrate Nov. 18 than sit outside munching on a burger, sipping on a beer, listening to The Clash, all while wearing shorts?

I retreated to the basement as they continued to prepare, and surfaced in time to be one of the chauffeurs. At that time, I realized these kids I’ve known since they were in the early days of grade school are growing up too fast. Five pretty girls in little black dresses and one “aw shucks” guy in a blue shirt and red bowtie.

The girls also were reminded the price they pay for wearing high heels too. As my wife drove most of the kids home, another dad picked up two others. They had to come back to our house to pick up their other clothes and makeup bags and whatever else teenaged girls need.

I opened the door to let in two very well dressed young ladies in bare feet. It seems like those heels, combined with dancing, took their toll. In fact, Brenna’s feet were still aching Sunday morning.

 Fall finally arrived

As mentioned, I barbecued Friday. In shorts. On Nov. 18.

Talk about wonderful weather.

And then the weekend arrived. Talk about a massive temperature difference, and high winds.

Here in Chatham, debris and leaves blew about and the wind quickly sapped the heat from anyone not dressed for conditions. But it was great to see people out and about and even playing in the brisk fall weather.

 Christmas season looms

What does a teenager do on a cold fall day? For our kid, it was surprise the heck out of her parents.

After a fundraising breakfast at the Legion and a trip to gather school supplies, we returned home, expecting our child to spend the day lounging around, teenager style, and doing her homework.

Well, she did do her homework, but my wife looked up from a book at one point to see Brenna picking up after herself in the living room, and clearing away a couple of items that were just lying around.

She told her mother she was clearing the way for the Christmas decorations.

“Should I vacuum?” she asked.

When you have a kid who is cleaning part of the house, you don’t stand in her way, so in no time, she had the vacuum out too.

Then she put away all her summer clothes and got out her winter wear. And we didn’t have to ask.

When she came downstairs to hunt for Christmas decorations, I broke away from the football game to haul out all the boxes with “Xmas” scribbled on them and got them up the stairs for her to take into the living room.

Mary got everything out of the boxes, leaving Brenna to decorate as she saw fit. And the kid did a great job!

She certainly loves the Christmas season. I think she’d skip Halloween and decorate for Christmas in October if she could.

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