A Special Man
My mom and dad loved life and had many great friends. One of the benefits of living in the south end of Winnipeg most of my life is that from time to time I see many acquaintances from my past. I also run into some of mom and dad’s old friends. I met one of them, Les, earlier this week.
Les was a pilot in the Canadian air force during WW2. His plane was shot down and he spent part of the war being protected by the Belgian resistance movement but eventually ended up in a German prison. He has written a riveting book about his war experience called Days of Laughter, Nights of Fear.
When I saw Les, he showed me an invitation he had recently received to a celebration being held in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Les is the oldest living pilot from Canadian Wing 15. He turns 99 on Monday! The letter of invitation was signed by the Commander of the Canadian Snow Birds, Canada’s world famous aerobatic team. Not everyone receives an invitation like this. Les was excited to be invited and was hoping he might be able to attend.
From my perspective, Les has barely aged for decades. He walks with purpose, is still very agile, and maintains his wonderful sense of humour. He is a very humble and positive person and is often kidding people in a good natured manner. I asked him what his secret to a happy healthy life was. Here is his response.
“I married a wonderful woman and had so many happy years of marriage. And I think it is important to not take yourself too seriously!” Les lives that mantra and is a true joy to be around.
I am privileged to know Les. He continually displays a sense of fun and happiness when he connects with people. He reminds me of my mom and dad which is also special. I salute my friend, Les. He is one special man.
Happy 99th Birthday, Les!
John Hindle, The Contact Hitter