VANCOUVER - A British Columbia woman's dream of meeting a Mountie dressed in formal uniform has come true — 78 years after she first laid eyes on an RCMP officer in Red Serge in her native Scotland.
Jenny Stewart, 88, shared her secret wish with staff members at the hospice where she lives in Port Alberni, and before she knew it a Mountie showed up to visit her.
Stewart first saw a Mountie at the British Empire Exhibition in Glasgow as a 10-year-old girl while she was on a school field trip from the village of Crosshouse, an hour's train ride away.
"It was all beautiful red apples," she said of the Canadian exhibit. "But at the top stood somebody in red and it was a Mountie. I was absolutely taken by this Mountie and I said to my friend, `Maybe some day I can go to Canada and I can see a real Mountie again.'"
In 1946, Stewart became a war bride when she married a Canadian soldier and sailed to Halifax six months later aboard the RMS Aquitania to join her husband.
The couple lived in Saskatoon before moving to B.C. in 1958.
Walter Stewart died in the 1970s, and it wasn't until this week that the woman met another man of her dreams — in the form of RCMP Const. Scott MacLeod.
"I just have always admired the Mounties," she said. "I just don't know why."
Stewart said she was tickled pink to meet the Mountie because she's loved those men in red for so long.
"He was a really nice fellow," she said of MacLeod, who'd heard about Stewart's love of dogs and brought along pictures of his golden retriever.
It's the first dog Stewart and her husband bred in Port Alberni after setting up a kennel in the Vancouver Island community, where she also owned a Canadian champion shih tzu.
MacLeod said Gail Koehle, the kitchen supervisor at the hospice, attends the same church as him and asked if he'd make a special visit to see Stewart, who has lived at the hospice for a year and a half while most residents spend a couple of months there.
MacLeod showed up on his way to his son's graduation ceremony, for which he'd dressed in full uniform because he'd be on duty.
"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," he said.
The hospice had also arranged for folk singers in town from Virginia to perform a private concert of Scottish tunes during the special occasion.
"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 said.
"I don't know how long she has to live, frankly, but she was a joyful lady."
Koehle said the entire staff was thrilled to see Stewart in her glory as she wore MacLeod's hat with pride.
"This was an important thing for Jenny," Koehle said, adding Stewart was starry-eyed just to be in the same room with the Mountie.
"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."
Koehle said Stewart worked hard to raise four children as a young widow who had to get a job as a homemaker in private homes. She now has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly spelled the officer's name as Macleod instead of MacLeod.