Second World War air force veteran Iris Porter still enjoys reading books at 102 years of age, living proof that the pleasures of reading will last as long as our eyesight (and with audible books, as long as our hearing).
Iris joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in England, and you may read about her adventures here: Iris Porter Served in Egyptian Desert.
She immigrated to Canada after the war, worked and raised her family, and now resides at a senior residence in Calgary, Alberta. Iris turned 102 years old on September 19, 2022, and in honour of her birthday, she composed this poem!
Reading in Bed
By Iris Porter
Oh! Such perfect joy to read in bed
With an extra down filled at your head
Nothing to book, nothing to pay
Is awaiting you at the end of each day
No one to want along your row
As you stand to oblige, they step on your toe
No wide brimmed hat to dim your view
In cherry ripe red or Robin’s egg blue
If your shoulders are chilly, turn on the switch
The blanket will warm you with nary a hitch
You gaze out the window at the beautiful night
The stars are all twinkling, such a sight
While the moon is beaming with all its might
You puff up the pillows to cozy your head
With thanks to the dear soul who invented the bed
Now it’s almost time to say good night
You put down your book, though it’s a delight
You snuggle down, oh, it feels so right
God Bless and sweet dreams ‘til morning light.
(I received this poem from Iris’s daughter. If you would like to send a wee message to Iris, post a comment below or reply to this email and I will pass it along.)
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More Laugh Out Loud Books!
Last month I sent you a list of ten funny books, and you can see it here: Ten Laugh Out Loud Books.
This was followed by a number of emails and messages from readers telling me about THEIR favourite amusing books. Humour is subjective, as we all know, but I’m sure you will find something to tickle your funny bone in this list.
This first book was recommended by two individual readers, and the others are listed below.
- “This newsletter immediately brought to mind the only book where I vividly remember breaking into laughter. I was reading it by a pool at the Grand Hotel in Kelowna in 2012. It is by Canadian author Terry Fallis about Canadian politics, titled The Best Laid Plans. I have since read all his books, but this was the best and funniest.” — recommended by Lil Sawyer, West Kelowna, British Columbia
- Best Laid Plans, Terry Fallis — recommended by Ellen Nygaard, Edmonton, Alberta
- The Flashman Papers, by George MacDonald Fraser — recommended by Malcolm Hughes, Claresholm, Alberta
- Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome — recommended by Elaine Meehan, Alix, Alberta
- The Moon’s a Balloon, by David Niven — recommended by Eileen Fiell, Invermere, British Columbia
- Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson — recommended by Dorothy Isted, Invermere, British Columbia
- The Wilt Series, by Thomas Ridley Sharpe — recommended by Will Wigle, Comox, British Columbia
- Stories You Couldn’t Tell While I Was a Pastor, by Bruce McIver — recommended by Susan Florence, Wetaskiwin, Alberta
- Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, by Alexander McCall Smith — recommended by Judith Allen Stearns
- The Runaway Wife, by Dee MacDonald — recommended by Maureen Thorpe, Invermere, British Columbia
- Breaking Smith’s Quarter Horse, by Paul St. Pierre — recommended by Erin Light, Yarrow, British Columbia
- Come, Thou Tortoise, by Jessica Grant — recommended by Shannon Senkow, Calgary, Alberta
- Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis — recommended by Susan, North Carolina
- All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot — recommended by Cindy
- Because of You, by Dawn French — recommended by Torrey Allen
- A Dog’s Life, by Peter Mayle — recommended by Cindy
- Before Life, After Life, and Nether Regions, all by Randall Graham — recommended by Ellen
- The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt — recommended by Allison
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Missing the Queen
And from another reader comes this photo. After seeing my September tribute to the Queen, and you can read it by clicking here: Remembering the Queen, Theresa McGuire of Halifax read the novel I recommended, titled Mrs. Queen Takes the Train.
Theresa serves as a nurse with the Canadian Coast Guard! She sent this photo of herself on board ship toasting the Queen not long before the monarch’s death. She writes: “We always have her portrait on board and will miss her terribly after solemnly swearing my oath 38 years ago as a commissioned officer.”
I think you speak for millions of people around the world, Theresa!
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Join Me for an Online Book Talk
I often visit book clubs via Zoom — this month in Calgary, Alberta; next month in Chilliwack, British Columbia; and January 2023 in Indian Wells, California!
But this one on February 7, 2023 will be a little bit different, as it is open to the public. I’m being hosted by the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum in London, Ontario.
Here’s your chance to read four novels about women in uniform. I’m the only one who will appear “live” on Zoom on February 7, 2023, and moderator Sarah Coates will host the other three book talks.
All you have to do to join is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (This is not a live link, so you must type the address yourself).
Perhaps you’ll see me there!
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Stories of Service
I was interviewed by Blaine Evans, my Shaw Community Cable guy in Cranbrook, British Columbia, for a compilation of stories about six people who are preserving the wartime past. I’m the third one in the lineup and my little interview begins at 9:56 minutes.
It aired for the first time on November 10, 2022 on Shaw Community Cable channels across the country, but it is also available to watch on youtube by clicking here: Stories of Service.
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Friends, once again I am willing to sign, dedicate, gift wrap and mail copies of my books to you or any other recipient.
Email or call me for more information. All my info is here: Contact Elinor.
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Another option is to avoid the postage altogether and order the books from Amazon, or through Chapters, or from your favourite independent bookstore.
If you want a signed copy, I will mail you a signed, personalized label to stick on the flyleaf.
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Last call for My Favourite Veterans
This is also the last call for my anthology of veteran stories, My Favourite Veterans.
This book is ONLY available from me, and I do not plan to reprint the book.
I have about twenty copies left, and I’m selling them at a discounted price of $30 each. (Plus postage, that still adds up to $50, so be forewarned. It costs about the same to mail two books).
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Rest in Peace, Eugenie Turner
Just days before her 100th birthday on November 30, 2022, Eugenie Francoeur Turner went to a better world. This lovely lady, Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, wife, mother, grandmother and role model for all who knew her, was born and raised in Quebec but spent her latter years in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was my great honour to interview her for My Favourite Veterans. You may read about her wartime adventures here: I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World.
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My View on November 16, 2022
Winter is fast approaching here in the Rocky Mountains, which are invisible behind that snowstorm.
But I don’t mind the snow. Soon we’ll be skating on Lake Windermere, hanging our Christmas lights, and finding all kinds of excuses to pour a hot toddy.
You’ll be hearing from me again sometime before the shortest day of the year.
Until then, take care of yourselves and each other!