Staff at a British Columbia hospice granted an 88-year-old woman's childhood wish this week: she met a Mountie.
Seventy-eight years ago, at the British Empire Exhibition in her native Scotland, Jenny Stewart first laid eyes on an RCMP officer in full red serge.
"There were these beautiful red apples coming down a chute, and at the top was a Mountie. He was standing there, representing Canada. My gaze fixed on him. I don’t know what it was, but I was smitten," Stewart recalled to the Globe and Mail.
The then-10-year-old was "absolutely taken by this Mountie" and told her friends, "Maybe some day I can go to Canada and I can see a real Mountie again."
In 1946, Stewart married Walter, a Canadian soldier, and moved to Halifax, then Saskatoon.
In 1958, the couple settled in British Columbia, where Stewart still lives. Walter died in the '70s, leaving Stewart to raise four children on her own.
This week, the now 88-year-old great-grandmother of five finally met the other man she once dreamt of: a Mountie in full red serge.
Stewart recently confided her Mountie dream to staff at the hospice where she lives. They arranged to have RCMP Constable Scott MacLeod surprise Stewart with a visit.
"This was an important thing for Jenny," Gail Koehle, the kitchen supervisor at the hospital, told the Canadian Press.
"It wasn’t something she asked for but we thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great for him to come and we can look at the two of them?' She’s just a tiny little lady and he’s a big Mountie. It was a beautiful sight."
The hospice also arranged to have Virginia folk singers perform Scottish tunes during their visit.
"I spent an hour with her and because my family’s from Scotland we had a chance to talk about where she was from, and we had tea," MacLeod said.
The pair chatted about dogs, too, as they discovered a mutual love for golden retrievers.
"It sort of reminded me of that movie 'The Bucket List' and knowing someone who's going through a painful moment in their life, just to give them a spark that somebody cares," MacLeod added. "I don't know how long she has to live, frankly, but she was a joyful lady."
Stewart was thrilled by the visit.
"Oh boy, it was great. It was really great," she told the Globe and Mail. "His uniform was beautiful, so well turned out. And he was good-looking, yes he was. About the same as my husband Walter. For some reason, I’ve just always admired the Mounties, and I will always admire them."
"My husband takes first place," she said. "He was a Canadian, he was in the Lorne Scots and he did his bit in the war, so he’s number one. But, yes, I would say this Mountie is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a long time."