Basil Shaw was born Nov. 1, 1912 on a farm about three miles from a little town called Eston, Saskatchewan located near the larger centre of Kindersley.
He was born the same year the Titanic took its first and final voyage and the year the first rodeo and festival known as The Stampede was held in Calgary.
Last Thursday, exactly one century from the day he was born, Shaw, surrounded by family and friends, celebrated his 100th birthday at Sylvan Lake Seniors Lodge.
It truly was a day for celebration and everyone at the little party seemed to be having a good time, not the least of whom was the birthday boy himself.
“If you hear anything bad about me, don’t put it in,” he quipped to the reporter armed with camera and notebook.
Shaw’s children and grandchildren say their dad and grandpa has always had a keen sense of humour and wit, which has helped keep him young despite his years.
“He was always young,” remarked his son, Del.
Shaw admitted that he sometimes wonders about the reason he has enjoyed such a long and fruitful life.
“I often wonder,” he said. “I know I must be here for a purpose, but I don’t know what it is.”
His remark drew laughter from his guests, who encouraged him to talk about his days as a baseball pitcher, recalling that he once pitched 18 straight games without a loss, receiving a medal from his teammates in appreciation.
“Yes, I enjoyed it (playing ball),” he said. “I enjoyed my young life, but I enjoy my life now.”
His birthday cake, shaped like a John Deere tractor, and a small plastic replica of a grain elevator sitting at his table tell the story of a man who made his living from the land.
He was a farmer, and, for 20 years he was a farmer who smoked.
“I quit after I didn’t have enough suction to keep going,” he said.
“And I had an occasional drink, but I wasn’t an habitual drinker.”
Shaw, whose wife Hazel died on Feb. 19, 2010, is pleased to be close to his children, daughter Carol Wilson, and sons Del and Gerry, his five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“I like it here being close to my family and there is good staff and nice people here (at the lodge),” he said.
With 100 birthday candles to blow out, Shaw, no doubt, has some good advice to impart that young and old might do well to listen to.
“Stay home and mind your own business,” he said.