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Calgary woman celebrates 101st birthday by gardening, taking part in sports

Getting out to do yardwork is definitely a challenge for anyone in Calgary’s scorching temperatures this week.

But one veteran gardener isn’t letting the heat – or anything else — get in her way.

Margie Cobol celebrated her 101st birthday with several lively activities, including her daily work in the garden at her care home.

Cobol is the lead volunteer taking care of the planted areas in front of the Whitehorn Village Retirement Community (WVRC) in northeast Calgary.

“I planted all the flowers,” Cobol said. “These roses have to come off, because they’re dead.”

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Cobol takes part in exercises classes most days, often after spending time digging and weeding in the garden.

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“The first thing I see in the morning, even at 6 or 7 o’clock, she’s out there already, doing the garden,” WVRC resident Adeline Baptist said.

Cobol’s 101st birthday happened to fall on WVRC’s annual sports day for residents.

Cobol took part in several activities, including tossing balls, frisbees and a plastic hammer.

“She’s fantastic,” Baptist said. “I’ve never seen somebody looking so young at 101.”

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Cobol also still regularly drives her own vehicle.

“I’m very independent,” she said.

It’s a trait she developed while growing up on a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan.

“I love to drive,” Cobol said. “I’ve driven ever since I was a child. My daddy taught me on his knee.”

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It’s a skill that still comes in handy all these years later, when she needs more flowers for WVRC’s garden.

“I take my vehicle and I go pick them up,” Cobol said.

As to what her secret to a long and healthy life might be, Cobol cited a couple of factors.

“The doctors told me not to eat sodium – I don’t” Cobol said. “I sin on sugar; I just love anything that’s sweet.”

Cobol says enjoying daily life is also important: “I’m just happy all the time.”

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