I've Had Quite A Few Trips Around The Sun In My Life

I’m betting you are much younger than me, given that I am in my 93rd year. That’s quite a few trips around the sun for me and a life filled with family, friends, memories, adventures,
and proudly serving my country.

It’s a journey that has brought me to Perley Health, and I am so lucky to be here at this stage and even more lucky to have people like you in my life.

Are you like me and looking forward to Christmas? It will be a special time at Perley Health this year, and I hope you can make it even more special by donating.

I have many things to be thankful for in close to a century of living. I have gratitude for all
the blessings life has given me. That gratitude certainly extends to you.

From the bottom of my heart, I am writing to thank you for your role in the full life I lead at
Perley Health. Our lives are richer and fuller because of you.

I think of you every morning when I arrive at the art studio early to enjoy my passion for creativity and working with my hands. People here chuckle and say they can set their watch by my early arrival. Some think my military career makes me arrive so early, but it’s
my love of the Arts Program that makes me such an early bird!

It was in the studio that I created the artwork on the Christmas card enclosed. My fellow artists and I had a great time creating these collages of winter scenes.

It’s because of you that programs like these are possible! You are making a difference at Perley Health and in residents’ lives every day!

Because of you, I wake up every morning excited to get my hands into art, pottery and woodworking. You also make activities enjoyed by other residents possible through your donations. It would mean the world to residents if you support these programs with a donation in time for Christmas this year..

As a young boy growing up in Burk’s Falls, Ontario, I never could have imagined the life that lay ahead of me. Our farm had no electricity or running water and was a three-mile walk into town. Safe to say that it didn’t have the comforts I enjoy at Perley Health today.

Christmas as a young boy holds many memories. I remember cutting down trees on our property and hauling them half a mile uphill for my school’s Christmas celebration. I remember my mother returning from her walk to town with packages under her arms. There were always cows to milk, even on Christmas morning!

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December 2023 will be my third Christmas at Perley Health. The staff here do a fantastic job making the holidays so magical. This year will include concerts, social activities, turkey dinners and a visit from the man in red, Santa Claus. I will love hearing the singing
of Christmas carols by residents, staff and volunteers.

So much of the joy and laughter at Christmas is thanks to you. It would mean so much to have you make a special gift this Christmas You’ll be helping to bring new life to our much-loved but well-used activity rooms - where we travel the world from the comforts of our armchairs, get plants ready for spring gardens, play trivia with volunteers, and even have our horoscopes read!

During my time in the Korean War, joy and laughter were harder to come by during the holidays. I often think of my Army colleagues from those days, especially those who never came home. It reminds me that Christmas is also a time when we remember the people
who are no longer in our lives.

Knowing that you are in our lives this Christmas and thinking of us means a great deal to those of us missing loved ones. That’s why your donation during the holidays would carry such special meaning.

When I decided, at 17, to join the Army, mainly to escape a future life of cutting down trees in the bush, I probably didn’t realize what a life-changing decision it was. Beyond my family, my 42 years in the military is my most significant source of pride.

I met the love of my life, my late wife, Gwynneth, while stationed in Calgary. I often think of all the different parts of the world my family got to experience because I was in the military—so many adventures with Gwynneth and my boys. We loved Germany, discovering hand-carved nutcrackers in markets. Do you know Christmas tree decoration began in Germany in the 16th century?

I am so proud my boys, Mike and Kevin, followed me into the military, and together, we served Canada for over a century. We all received the rare Order of Military Merit from different Governor Generals of Canada, a treasured family honour for the Pattersons. I
don’t mind bragging about that!

In closing, I hope you will make your presence felt again this Christmas at Perley Health by making a special donation. My friend, Courtney, in the Perley Health Foundation, tells me your gift will help renew and refresh popular recreation and creative arts spaces at Perley Health. What a wonderful gift that will be!

Thank you for reading my letter today. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Sheridan “Pat” Patterson
Master Warrant Officer (Retired),
Rideau Veterans Residence

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