George Brewster with his Spitfire during the second World War. (Submitted)

George Brewster with his Spitfire during the second World War. (Submitted)

Sarah Simpson column: An invitation I can’t refuse

I got invited to a birthday party.

Something happened the other day that caught me off guard. I got invited to a birthday party. With children, you’d think that happens all the time, but it doesn’t. And besides, it wasn’t for them, this was a personal invitation for me.

That’s right cool kids, I’m popular, too.

Back in July, I had the privilege of speaking with air force veteran George Brewster ahead of his trip to Dieppe for the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

“I want to go because I haven’t been to France since WWII when I was flying Spitfires for the RCAF,” he said at the time. “And that’s why they asked me to go because my squadron was very active at Dieppe, and although I wasn’t with them at the time, most of the people that were are dead now, so they called me.”

Mr. Brewster enjoyed my story and even marvelled at how they were able to acquire copies of it over in Europe.

(Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing!)

SEE RELATED: War taught lessons that should be remembered

Since then we’ve had a few more conversations. (I should mention that his voice is made for radio and I can’t for the life of me figure out why he’s not narrating nature shows or doing some other type of voiceover work.)

Mr. Brewster always leaves me with a smile on my face. At no time more so than recently when he called me to invite me to his party.

“I’m going to have a 95th birthday in April and if you would like to come for a little while or as long as you want…,” he explained. “Some of the girls at the church are putting it on and they said I could invite some people that I like and I thought I’d like to ask if you’d come to my birthday.”

Could he be any sweeter? Well, yes, because his gratitude was genuine.

“They’re doing it all for me. Women are taking over my life, I’m blessed. I’m blessed with my wife and I’m so thankful, I’m so happy and everything seems to be so wonderful.”

This from a man that’s seen the horrors of war. A veteran that’s lived a portion of his life in the fast lane, a man who didn’t want to go back then, but knew the only way to obtain peace was to literally fight for it.

A guy that’s about to turn 95.

“I’d like to have you come if you can,” he said.

Now, I’m not the most social of people. In fact, the very idea of it makes me quite anxious. Odd, I know, given the nature of my career. But heck, yeah, I’d like to go to Mr. Brewster’s birthday party! Free snacks, cake are just a bonus. The real prize is getting to have another conversation with the birthday boy himself.

I feel like I’ve got a lot left to learn from him and the lens with which he opts to view life.

“I just have to focus a little bit on the things I am grateful for and not at what the world is throwing at me,” he said. “Duncan is a wonderful, wonderful place. Nice things happen here, too.”

Yes, like Mr. Brewster’s 95th birthday party.

I’ll see you in April, Mr. Brewster.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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