“This is the first time I’ve attended a 109th birthday party,” exclaimed Prime Minister Erna Solberg, as she shook the hand of Carl Falck, Norway’s oldest man, on Friday. “Gratulerer med dagen!” (Congratulations with the day, Norway’s standard birthday greeting.)
Solberg arrived with flowers for Falck as he celebrated his birthday in brilliant spring weather in the garden of the Majorstua nursing home in Oslo. He didn’t move there until he was 105. Born on May 27, 1907, he’s now 109.
The garden was decorated with flags and flowers, chicken and sausages were on the grill and the prime minister stopped by to convey official state greetings. The mayor of Oslo and a quartet of tuba players popped in as well.
“I’ve been lucky with my genes,” Falck told Solberg, in explaining how he’d lived to be so senior. He’s been retired for more than 40 years, but hasn’t been just sitting on the sofa. When he turned 80 he signed up for exercise classes at a local athletic studio and kept at it for 25 years. When he moved into the nursing home, he complained there was a lack of exercise equipment, and it was soon provided. He still works out every day, even though he now has some trouble with his legs.
“My theory is that the better humour you have, the longer you live,” he told Solberg. “It’s nothing special to be 109. I look forward to be 110.”