Well they never expected this.
In the lead-up to his 100th birthday, the family of Antoine Babin had hoped he would get 100 birthday cards, but by the time his birthday arrived on March 28, the Sluice Point native had received 730 of them.
The birthday wishes came from across Canada and the United States and from overseas too.
“The furthest we had was Japan and Germany,” said Bertha Brannen, one of Babin’s daughters.
The family was overwhelmed by the response.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Brannen said Wednesday afternoon during a birthday celebration at Villa Saint-Joseph du Lac, where her father lives.
The family thought 100 cards would be a nice way to celebrate their father becoming a centenarian. A fitting one too, considering how many cards he would have delivered during his many years as a mailman.
“Whenever he looks at a card, it brings him right back to what he knows really well,” Brannen said, “which was delivering mail and handling it, so when he opens a card, it brings him back and he can reminisce and he enjoys it.”
Family members and friends were at the villa to wish Babin well and to help him mark his milestone birthday.
As for the card campaign, Brannen said people who responded included those who know her father and others who don’t.
“It’s hard to know if some of these people are distant relatives or friends of a friend,” she said. “Some of them we know are strangers because they’re telling us.”
Among those who got in touch with him were people looking for advice, apparently confident that a man who has lived 100 years has acquired wisdom.
“This fellow was asking Dad if he thought he should get married to his girlfriend,” Brannen said.
Babin was born and raised in Sluice Point. Interestingly, Brannen said, her father had a twin who died as an infant.
Babin was nine years old when he lost his father – who drowned – and he was 11 when his mother died. Despite having some sad things happen in his life, her father has always had a great sense of humour, Brannen said.
“He was kind of adopted by an older aunt, who took him in and raised him and instilled in him a faith and a positive attitude that he’s carried until now."