This afternoon we fulfilled our daily ritual of visiting my mother at her retirement residence on The Driveway in Ottawa. When we arrived she and her dining partner were seated outside on the veranda presumably idly watching people coming and going. We had brought along 4-dozen freshly baked donuts in as many small white cartons. My mother had some trouble understanding why we had done so though she and her friend were each quick to put in a claim for one of the donuts. As we ventured into the residence for the purpose of depositing the donuts with the staff for later distribution to the residents we encountered a forum of the residents sitting in the extensive lobby in the mottled afternoon sunshine listening to Lauren Hall singing to them. We left the donuts at the front desk and sat down with the others to enjoy the performance. My mother and her friend joined the congregation not long afterwards.
As might be expected with an octogenarian crowd many of the favourite renditions derived from the war years including for example Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” and Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again“. Miss Hall didn’t however ignore the more upbeat members of her audience as she sang several rock ‘n roll numbers and some well known country songs. Miss Hall and one particularly enthusiastic member of the audience diverted our attention with some dance-like moves during one of Miss Hall’s songs. Others nodded their heads in time with the rhythm or clapped their hands or tapped their feet to the beat. All in all it was proof positive that music uplifts the soul and restores one’s spirit. The purity of Miss Hall’s voice was incomparable.
Although we hadn’t exchanged much more than a few words with mother during the entire time we were together, the rendezvous was unquestionably a success thanks to Ms. Hall’s very entertaining performance. It naturally pleased me that my elderly mother was being so thoroughly spoiled to have such talent as Miss Hall’s to enjoy. As well one mustn’t overlook the social value of camaraderie in general, just rubbing shoulders with others in a communal setting. Several members of the staff, including the Director of Recreation and the Executive Director, were among the assembled audience.