Oscar Haydock Phillander is a jolly old soul and at the ripe age of 100 he is still batting in the game of life and appears to be quite the optimist.
Oscar’s birthday was celebrated on Tuesday September 3rd which was the actual date on which he graced the earth with the beginning of his existence. The party celebration was held at the Tipperary Hall in Buxton and was widely a family affair.
Arriving at the Tipperary Hall on Tuesday afternoon, there was an atmosphere that emitted mixed emotions. On one hand there was excitement as news came that Oscar was on his way; on the other hand there was some amount of disappointment and anger over the late arrival of the music set.
A few minutes in waiting and a canter pulled up with the music. There were loud cheers as the music was being set up but even louder cheers could be heard when the man of the hour arrived.
A chat with his only surviving sibling, Carmene, revealed that as a child growing up and right into adult hood Oscar was very caring and loving to his sister. Even though they never lived together since he was the eldest and at aged 12 was sent to live with an aunt.
As her brother was celebrating his 100th birthday, she expressed joy and happiness and wished him all the best that life had to offer. Summing up her brother in one word she chose “kind”.
Oscar’s son, Dennis Phillander, was enthusiastic and very eager to give information on his dad, whom he was extremely grateful for and proud of. “He was a very caring and loving father to his children, very dedicated, very strict with us.” It wasn’t surprising when all of his siblings shared the same sentiments.
He went on to say that when he grew up and went abroad to work he kept in touch with his father. Every time he called him to check up on him they would discuss cricket and politics amongst other things.
His father loves to read so he was always abreast with the news and always ready to give updates on whatever was asked as long as it was published in the papers.
Dennis proudly stated that his father loved cricket so much he named him after one of the best English cricketers, Dennis Compton, and over time he himself developed a love for the sport.
Everything was just about to be settled when a car’s horn was heard. There was accelerated bustle as everyone rushed to the door to get a glimpse of the man who was the reason for the celebration.
As he couldn’t make it up the stairs Oscar was hoisted onto a chair and carried up the stairs to the stage. As he sat on his chair like a king he smiled and looked around as relatives flocked around him, inquiring if he was alright.
He seemed to be a man of few words but a quick interview was snagged as he was being adorned with his birthday sash and crown. Oscar happily greeted the reporter and went on to inquire how she was doing, proving that he was indeed a gentleman.
“I am not of the best but I am trying and I am fighting.” Was his reply when asked how he was feeling, “I am happy to be celebrating my 100th birthday today.” In a strong voice, he explained that his secret to long life is hard work and being a helpful and dedicated person.
He wasn’t a man of many words but it was gathered that he was born on September 3rd 1919, in the Mahaicony area and was the first of two children. Growing up was very simple back then and he was taught to be responsible at a young age.
He learned the art of sugar boiling at Cane Grove and went on to many countries to share his skill and work including Guadeloupe, Martinique, Honduras, Antigua and the United States.
Oscar would spend a period of 3-6 months abroad and then return home, he worked at a number of sugar estates including Albion, Blairmont, Enmore and Skeldon.
He related that he couldn’t complain about anything in life as being a devoted Christian was very high on his list. Lastly, before the party came into full swing he wanted to thank everyone who kept him in their prayers and his family and friends for making his day a memorable one. (Anasa Williams)
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