Capacity crowd gathers for surprise party

Hope Bridgewater
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Located at the Wentworth Recreation Centre, Sharon Miller organizes a surprise birthday party for her mother, Jean Mooring. Standing in the background is Bill Baker. Submitted photo by Joel Miller

WENTWORTH - At the Wentworth Recreation Centre recently, a capacity crowd was in suspense. When would Jean Mooring come in the door and how would she react to the surprise birthday party arranged for her by her daughters, Sharon Miller and Sharon Goode? Not everyone wishes the world to know that the 80th birthday has arrived for him or her.

Jean, fed a fib by her daughters, thought she was driving in to Truro for a family restaurant meal as her birthday celebration. Instead, her daughter, Sandra Goode, drove into the recreation centre where the parking lot was crowded with cars. Instead of 15 family members honouring her 80th birthday, Jean was facing a large community crowd ready to sing “Happy Birthday” to her in a standing ovation. Jean’s two daughters, Sharon Miller and Sandra Goode, had notified the Wentworth community and friends beyond, invited people to come to the party and told them to keep it secret. Somehow the secret surprise was kept from Jean, and this in itself is a surprise when one thinks how fast all kinds of news travels in a country community.

At last Jean came in the door, and fortunately the youthful-looking Jean took the surprise with good humour and, even more, was touched emotionally by all this regard for her by all these people. Jean went around to each table where the people sat and thanked them for coming to the party. All ages were represented, and young children dashed about on the large open area of hardwood floor while chasing one another in the sheer joy of running about.

Older adults talked and laughed at tables until there was a call by Sharon Miller that the food treats were up front on side tables and punch, tea and coffee were available in the kitchen. Sharon Miller, relatives and friends spent time earlier that day at her home preparing meats, salads, rolls and sweets, and, after lining up for the food and drinks, people gathered at tables for a time of socializing.

Afterwards, three of Jean’s children, Sharon Miller, Sandra Goode and Ashley Baker took the stage to express complimentary birthday wishes to their mother. As well, two of Jean’s grandchildren, Mitchell Baker, aged seven, and Max Baker, aged six, sang “Happy Birthday” to her. Jean’s daughter-in-law, Carmen Baker, announced on stage that federal MP for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Scott Armstrong, and provincial MLA for Cumberland South, Jamie Baillie, had sent birthday congratulations to her.

Time was taken on stage to remember Pearl Crowley who is in hospital and unable to attend her sister’s birthday party. Jocelyn Morris, Sandra Goode, Carmen Baker and Jean Mooring sang a song of hope and love to her. Then, at 9 p.m., Ashley Baker, Ronnie Ruston, Wayne Reid, and Jim Mosher were on stage to begin a music session lasting until 11:30 p.m. All kinds of musical traditions were represented: rock and roll, older and current songs, hymns, Don Messer old-time style and singing interspersed with the instrumental.

In addition to the four musicians previously mentioned, other performers were Sharon Miller, Sandra Goode, Charley Patriquin, Jocelyn Morris, Hilton Patriquin, Natalie DeCoste, Faye Henderson, Aubrey Giffin and Paul Merlin. Later, even Jean herself at the piano joined in the music.

Finally, a huge birthday cake was shown around and then cut into pieces for everyone present. In total, this event was a splendid way to celebrate a birthday.

Organizations: Wentworth Recreation Centre

Geographic location: WENTWORTH, Truro, Cumberland South

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