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‘Cheers’ to a magical 97

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 6, 2020 1:08 AM

Pat Jeffrey celebrates her birthday with Henry Weinhard and Snow White

COEUR d’ALENE — For her 97th birthday, Pat Jeffrey raised a glass of Henry Weinhard’s beer, smiled, and listened to Snow White sing for her.

Not a bad party under coronavirus lockdown conditions.

“I hope you’re having a magical day,” said Snow White, standing about 25 feet away in a trailer decorated with balloons.

“I’m having a magical day and you’re a part of it,” a delighted Jeffrey answered.

Jeffrey’s daughter, Cristin Hart of Sagle, arranged the drive-thru party at Courtyard at Coeur d’Alene, Pacifica Senior Living Center at 21st and Sherman Avenue. She sent out invitations via social media.

“I figured at least out in the front yard might be more exciting than sitting in her bedroom,” Hart said. “They’ve got them locked down pretty good for their own safety.”

The two sat together outside the main door for the impromptu party that included a pizza, a few gifts, a congratulatory poster and accolades from some new friends.

“Cheers,” Jeffrey said.

She has maintained good health, mentally and physically, by staying active and thinking positive.

“Absolutely fabulous and on top of that, I feel full of health,” Jeffrey said.

She credited her daughter for the wonderful day.

“She makes life happy. She makes me feel good,” Jeffrey said. “She herself is a wonderful person.”

Hart said her mother led an adventurous life. She traveled the world, was married at the America’s Cup, had four children, and was a vice president with American Bankers Life Insurance Company in Miami.

Jeffrey’s journeys led her to Australia, Europe, Japan, Canada and Hawaii.

“It’s a wonderful world,” she said. “A fabulous world.”

Asked what advice she would offer today’s younger generation, she didn’t hesitate.

“Pull up your pants, put a buck in your pocket, and go for it,” she said. “Because it’s out there.”

In her experiences, people were kind, friendly and opened their home to her.

“What more can you ask?” she said.

As for those Henry Weinhard’s, she drinks two a day and has for three decades. It’s part of her health regiment but she’s willing to try other beers.

“I am a Henry’s fan but when you go to someone’s house and they serve you something else, you’re not going to turn it down,” she said, laughing.

As for why two a day, she said, “I don’t know. Someone told me, ‘You’ve gotta put a limit on yourself.’ Actually, I think it was a fellow I was dating who was a doctor who didn’t drink at all.”

It was a quiet celebration on a 90-degree, sunny afternoon, with many family members in other states, until the arrival of Snow White, in full costume as she sang “I’m Wishing” from the movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

“Look what’s coming,” Hart said to her mom as music played.

Snow White was with “Dreams are Forever,” a family-owned character entertainment business. Heather Roberts, an owner, read about the party and decided Snow White should make an appearance to honor Jeffrey.

The animated movie came out in 1937, when Jeffrey was a teenager, so Snow White’s visit brought back some magical memories.

“I was a little teary,” she said. “It was such a lovely surprise.”

A delighted Jeffrey paused, glanced at her daughter and sipped her beer. Then, she said, “It truly has been a wonderful day.”

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Pat Jeffrey and daughter Cristin Hart listen to Snow White sing on Wednesday as Jeffrey celebrates her 97th birthday in Coeur d’Alene. (BILL BULEY/Press)

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Pat Jeffrey and daughter Cristin Hart listen to Snow White sing on Wednesday as Jeffrey celebrates her 97th birthday in Coeur d’Alene. (BILL BULEY/Press)

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Snow White with Dreams Are Forever sings for Pat Jeffrey on Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene. (BILL BULEY/Press)