4K Community Cup winner for April 2021
Hilda Woods just spent her first full winter in the house she and her husband bought in Sainte Adele 76 years ago. When they purchased the home, it was for winter weekend ski getaways and to enjoy their summer holidays by the lake that her husband made – back when damming water to create personal lakes was still a thing. If you are a cross-country skier, you may even have skied through her property on the western trail. Now, the house is the full time residence of her daughter and son-in-law who convinced Hilda to join them there last March.
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Her voice is strong, and her wit is quick when I reach her by phone to chat, facts I mention because Hilda is about to celebrate her 100th birthday on April 24th! It is interesting to try and see the pandemic through the eyes of someone about to celebrate a centennial and the view is, quite frankly, beautiful. There is no doubt this pandemic has been hard on everyone, particularly seniors. But for Hilda it has given her a chance to spend more time with her daughter and live in an environment where she gets to enjoy the beauty of the Laurentians when she takes her sheltie for a walk every day. Hilda admits she has not felt the negative consequences of the pandemic the way many of her friends living alone in the city have. She speaks about how thankful she is for her family, for her wonderful friends and for being lucky to weather this moment in time in such a beautiful spot. Dive a little deeper however and you can’t help but wonder if there is also a bit of karma at work.
After a career working for Sun Life and taking care of her mother – who also lived with her full time – Hilda began volunteering with the Montreal General Hospital. Her duties ranged from clerical work with the oncology department to taking a wagon of drinks around to patients. Hilda spent 20 years giving her time to support the staff and patients at Montreal General Hospital and recalls receiving a medal for reaching 6,000 volunteer hours. Hilda tells me that when you have had a good life you have to contribute back to society. When I ask who has influenced her outlook on life, she mentions Mahatma Gandhi and says she has always felt inspired by people that give back. As for how she plans to celebrate her birthday, the family has optimistically rented a tent for July in the hopes they will be able to give her a celebration fitting 100 years on this planet. For Hilda, well she would just like to have afternoon tea, “not necessarily with 100 people…just some good friends,” she tells me and offers this key to happiness before we hang up: “I had such good friends. If you have been fortunate to have good friends this can be so meaningful in your life.” Happy 100th Hilda. You are our 4Korners Community Cup Winner for April.