LEWISPORTE, NL – With 101 years under his belt, Victor Baker has no trouble staying active and full of joy.
His 101st birthday brought many relatives and community leaders down to Pleasantview Manor in Lewisporte to share his zest for life.
Born on March 3, 1917, Baker has lived an eventful life, growing up in Badger and working alongside his brothers as a travelling salesman and business owner in areas like Botwood and Lewisporte.
Now living in Pleasantview Manor, Baker says being busy and keeping his spirits up are key to getting the most out of life.
“You got to keep lively, stay as active as possible,” Baker said with a laugh.
Baker says one way he stays active today is by attending church, writing poems and prayers and singing songs.
In his years in the three-digit age bracket, Baker’s most cherished project is the gardening he does outside Pleasantview Manor each summer.
Looking at photos of vibrant flowers from 2017’s garden on display on the walls of his room, Baker says he’s proud of the work he did and hopes to have another successful flower garden this summer.
“Last year was the best year yet,” he said. “Some flowers were still in bloom in November; I just couldn’t get them to go.”
Baker’s 101st birthday brought not only brought visitors but also a special cake and certificates from MHA Derek Bennett and Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke. Baker even managed to break out on the dance floor with manor owner Rhonda Simms for the celebration.
“We had a nice dance,” Baker said. “We danced for a quite a while, but I can’t do much of that before it takes my breath.”
Simms also wrote a poem in honour of Baker’s birthday, detailing the manor’s appreciation and gratitude for his cheerful spirit.
While he has lost some of his hearing, Baker says he feels healthy and happy – and he’s looking forward to his 102nd birthday.
“I still get around and do whatever needs to be done – that’s what you got to do,” said Baker.
Included here is a poem Baker wrote about his successful gardening work at the Pleasantview Manor:
Victor's Flower Garden
Outside our manor door was a useless patch of soil,
To make it good for growing it would need a lot of toil.
Like a bit of hard work, some backache and pain,
It could be made to produce something nice again.
Then we could plant some flowering seeds,
Once we were rid of the grass and the weeds.
Then all was needed was nice flowering plants,
Their flowers to bloom, the whole place to enhance.
The eaves of the building covered most of the ground,
So the showers of rain could not fall down.
To water them often took the work of the hands,
And with the use of those watering cans.
The miracle grow is great growing stuff,
Just give them a little, once a week is enough.
It makes the roots grow, the plants to become sturdy,
The flowers to flourish to become beautiful and pretty.
The residents came out to see such beauty evolve,
With offered advice, every problem to solve.
Many were eager to take part now and then,
But everybody helping could mean the end.
The visiting public as they came in and out,
Saying you’ve got a green thumb without any doubt.
Those beautiful flowers a sight to see,
Will get you a place in history.
Now pictures were taken by most everyone,
And may appear on Facebook page when they are done.
My nieces when coming to make me a visit
Took pictures as well with themselves and me in it.
The management and staff were pleasantly surprised
With such a great sight, it dazzled their eyes.
Victor’s Garden they called it and made up a sign,
Then getting some lights to stick in the ground.
Those flowers they bloomed and made a great show,
Working a little each day, then taking a blow.
Being ninety nine years old and your working days done,
But by the grace of God I can still carry on.
The bosses came by taking a picture or two,
Saying don’t work too hard, whatever you do.
But I promised to keep things under control,
And come in and rest as I was told.
One hundred years old I’ve become this year,
But should be okay if I take great care.
Planting those flowers I still have in mind,
Just ask busy Barbara to get the same kind.
The bees they come flying and buzzing around,
O thank the Lord such sweet flowers abound.
No shortage of honey we can gather right here,
To stock up our lives before winter draws near.