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A party for Smiles - Dec. 03, 2013

Vern Faulkner/Courier
Olver “Smiles” Green lives up to his nickname, moments before blowing out the candles on a birthday cake (below), all part of an elaborate surprise party for the man held Saturday on Grand Manan. Everyone on the island was invited, and, somehow, managed to keep the party a surprise for the guest, who will turn 100 on Dec. 21.

Vern Faulkner
Grand Manan
At just about a minute before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oliver “Smiles” Green began walking down the hallway to the main events room at Grand Manan Community School.
He thought he was about to attend a musical performance at the school, a “sing-song,” as he called it.
“I thought, ‘my God, there’s a crowd here, tonight’,” said Green.
There were, indeed, a lot of people there, a good three or four hundred to be exact, and as Green stepped into the darkened room, the throng joined in a chorus of “happy birthday,” while several people threw confetti into the air.
Then came what so many knew was going to happen, what so many certainly expected.
In response, Green, who is about to turn 100, lifted his cap with his left hand, and a radiant, full-of-life smile emerged on the man’s face.
Smiles can’t recall when he got his nickname. But to any present that night, or any who have known the man during his almost-100-year-existence, the reason for the nickname is obvious.
Green smiled as people sang songs, smiled as he watched a carefully crafted, 14-minute-long video and smiled as he received best wishes from countless friends and a flock of family.
Many of Green’s family, including grandchildren, travelled from afar to attend the event. It featured the usual fare of 100th birthday parties, in the form of greetings from the Governor-General, prime minister and sitting MP, as well as congratulations delivered in person by MLA Rick Doucet.
But it also featured birthday greetings from an entire island, many of whom had been directly involved in the planning of the surprise party.
Helping mask the surprise was the fact that Green won’t turn 100 until Dec. 21, but that minor mathematical difference dissuaded none gathered at the school Saturday evening from fully participating in what was, in all regards, a celebration of an entire community.
Green had absolutely no idea about the celebration, which included an invitation mailed out to every single resident on Grand Manan, save Green himself.
“I don’t know how they done it,” mused Green the next day. “I didn’t know anything about it.”
That, alone, was a surprise. As Doucet aptly noted, “you can’t drop a pin on Grand Manan without everybody knowing about it.”

For the full story, see the Tuesday Courier.