For someone who’s always loved bagpipes, it was the perfect gift: a piper showing up Tuesday morning at Diana Lindstrom’s condo building in northwest Calgary, to help her celebrate her 100th birthday.
“I don’t feel any older than yesterday!” Lindstrom said with a laugh.
As the piper led her family in a rousing round of Happy Birthday, Lindstrom checked out the messages of congratulation she’d received, from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and from Buckingham Palace.
“I’ll have you know I met the queen, (at) The (Calgary) Stampede (in) 1950,” Lindstrom said. “She wasn’t queen yet, but we met her — it was great, it was wonderful.”
Lindstrom was part of rodeo royalty: her husband Wally earned a spot in the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame, after winning several championships as a cowboy competing around North America during the 1940s.
“We lived in a tent. We had no motorhomes, none of that stuff,” Lindstrom said. “It was tough.”
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Lindstrom’s daughter Sandy Olorenshaw said her mother played a big role in her father’s success.
“She looked after all the saddles and made sure that they were in behind the chutes when they needed them,” Olorenshaw said.
Lindstrom keeps busy now with some major knitting projects, having turned out hundreds of toques to donate to charity.
“Toques for the preemie babies in the hospital and for the homeless, the rehab centre — whoever needs them,” Lindstrom said. “We’ve got to do that, don’t we? Help each other.”
And as for some advice to help others enjoy a long life?
“Just keep breathing!” Lindstrom said with a laugh. “I’ve got the most wonderful family. They just keep me going — going to the bingo, going to the casino.
We went out last night, for Thanksgiving, to the Grey Eagle (Resort and Casino) and then we played the slots for a while.”
Family had travelled from around Alberta and B.C. for Lindstrom’s big day, a scaled-down version of the celebration she’d hoped for.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t have had the whole family, (but) with the (corona)virus we can’t,” Lindstrom said. “We have to be safe and we’ll have (a proper party) when this is all over. We’ll have a big one!”