They’re not the Golden Girls, they’re the Silver Bells, and they meet every Sunday after morning mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Airdrie.
The weekly get-togethers – along with monthly meet-ups at A&W – have been a tradition for the group since they got together approximately five years ago. According to Dolores MacGillivary, members of the group often share in each other’s moments of laughter, love, and loss.
Due to restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Silver Bells temporarily disbanded and the impact was felt by all, she said.
According to Dolores, now they are reunited, the Silver Bells have gained a deeper appreciation for the time they spend together.
“If there is any value in COVID, it is that you have such great gratitude for the things that you do have,” she said. “That you have that love and comfort in dealing with people and socializing with them and sharing laughter and listening to the conversations.
"You became almost better listeners to the conversations and you appreciated more what everybody had to say after COVID.”
The group recently gathered for a wedding shower at MacGillivary’s home, enjoying an afternoon filled with laughter, food, and stories and sending their best wishes to the bride and groom. Dolores added the reunion of friends reminded them of what they had been missing over the last year and a half.
“You wouldn’t believe the food I had in this house … it’s just unbelievable,” she said. “And the rule is whatever you take, you go home with. It’s just a wonderful gathering, there is no question.
“Those visits mean a great deal to us ...Everybody just had a wonderful feeling being next to each other again.”
When MacGillivary moved to Airdrie from Nova Scotia, she said the ladies at St. Paul’s Church helped her to feel at home in her new parish. The Silver Bells started out with just a few members and soon grew to include 18 or more congregants. She said membership seemed to multiply as the ladies bonded and shared in common experiences, such as growing up on a farm or spending time on the east coast.
“It was just like a meet-and-greet – when mass was over, we couldn’t wait to get together,” she said.
MacGillivary added the Silver Bells attend each other’s celebrations, family gatherings, funerals and more in support of their sisters. When one member passed away last year, she left a collection of scarves to her fellow Silver Bells.
When they aren’t able to get together in person, they make sure to reach out via telephone, and they are always ready with a recommendation for a local hot spot in town.
“We’re a bunch of laughers,” she said. “We always have something to eat and social time.”
“It’s a bunch of friends... it’s a [feeling] of togetherness.”
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