“They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.”
Regardless of social origin, education, wealth, Father Time will soon or later take us down a peg or two. What we could easily manage a decade ago becomes more problematic with each passing year.
But some people age better than others and Hagop Sarafian (son of Saraf) is one of them.
He was born on December 23, 1922 in Marash (Southeastern Turkey) a city with a tormented past that was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
Due to the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide, and under very difficult conditions, Hagop’s family escaped Turkey and trekked to Aleppo, Syria. Hagop was then just 40 days old.
His father was a small rug merchant and in Syria Hagop learned the weaver trade by watching and helping him.
At age of 20, he gave up this line of work and started to make a living as a drummer in a local band. He performed throughout Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran for the next fifteen years.
In 1958 at age 36, Hagop emigrated to France and shortly after he met and wed fellow Armenian Isabelle Sarafian. They were married according to the Armenian tradition in an orthodox church in Paris.
At 90, Hagop (Armenian form of Jacob) is the poster boy for senior citizens.
A fierce pétanque competitor and a renowned “shooter”, he can still deliver amazing “carreaux” and put to shame people twenty years younger.
One also wonders at his remarkable ability to crouch like a young boy to measure contested points.
Not adverse to an occasional shot of booze or a puff of locoweed, he still has a sharp mind and all his hair, things I wish I could say about myself.
He also has an excellent memory that contributes to make him a formidable card player.
Born and raised in a patriarchal society, Hagop inherited some of the characteristics of a male oriented society.
He is not unlike a chestnut, prickly outside, sweet inside.
Often misunderstood, thin-skinned, slightly handicapped by some hearing loss, Hagop has mellowed with age and blossomed into an upstanding human being.
He is proud of his Armenian roots and of his Christian Orthodox faith.
Please join me in congratulating Hagop Sarafian on his 90th birthday and wishing him many more “carreaux” in the years to come.
Let’s make Sunday, December 23rd, Hagop Sarafian Day!
Tsnudat Shnorhavor Hagop!
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