RISING SUN — When you are about to turn 100 what do a few days matter on when to hold the party ... or in this case, the parade?
Joseph Wiggins was honored Sunday afternoon with a parade of classic cars and trucks plus vehicles from the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun, Rising Sun Police Department and Mason Dixon Post 194 of the American Legion in Rising Sun.
Wiggins was born Sept. 22, 1920 in Colora. His earliest memory of growing up in Cecil County is being in school where he described himself as a “medium” student.
A World War II veteran who was in Normandy, northern France, central Europe and the Battle of the Bulge with the US Army Battery B, 461st Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Wiggins stood at attention when the legion vehicle, carrying the American flag and other colors, passed him on Surrey Lane.
“I’ll never forget this,” Wiggins said, surrounded by his family, which includes 4 children, 15 grandchildren, 33 great grandkids and 2 great-great grands. “I was never celebrated like this before.”
In this age of social distancing it was about the only way his family could find to celebrate Wiggins’ centennial. Nobody counted, but instead joined Wiggins in greeting every vehicle including older roadsters, muscle cars and one sweet ride that caught the birthday boy’s attention.
In all its aqua and white glory, sporting chrome, fins and white wall tires, it couldn’t be missed.
“I liked that Chevy Bel Air the best,” Wiggins said, boyishly grinning.
Of course when you meet someone who has lived 10 decades, you ask for advice on how one might have the same accomplishment.
“People ask me that all the time. I tell them “Keep living a good clean life,” he said. Then the twinkle in his eyes reappears. “And prune juice.”