Festive meal what the doctor ordered

Peter SweeneyMidwest Times
Marie-lize and Jac de Bruyn make Christmas special for many seniors.
Camera IconMarie-lize and Jac de Bruyn make Christmas special for many seniors. Credit: Peter Sweeney

A decade ago, Jac de Bruyn was feeling a “bit homesick” for his native South Africa.

It was around Christmas time.

He said to his wife Marie-lize how he would love to be able to cook a meal for his parents.

She thought, then made a suggestion: “why don’t you cook a meal for some old people here?”

So the Geraldton-based doctor — who last month made Statewide news when he suggested people should “hop off the couch and exercise” to get fit — did just that.

On Saturday, Dr de Bruyn hosted his ninth annual December dish-up for more than 100 elderly people in Geraldton. But something sets this lavish dinner and drinks date, and also Dr de Bruyn, apart from the norm.

He pays for everything.

They are all his patients. The doctor says it’s “not really” about Christmas, or even saying thanks to his clients, rather a chance for folk, all at least 75, to relax, have a meal and talk.

“It’s about me giving something back to the community — and for patients to have a good time and not talk about their health problems,” Dr de Bruyn said.

The dinner is a winner, but not as much as the host himself is.

People of all shapes and sizes arrive and make a beeline for Dr de Bruyn.

Women kiss and hug him, men shake his hand admiringly.

“l adore him,” one woman said. “I cannot tell you my name, my husband might read this and I’ll be in trouble.”

The functions have got fancier as the years have gone by.

“We started under the gazebo at my practice, but it’s got bigger and better,” Dr de Bruyn said.

“I’ve had them in bowling clubs, restaurants and hotels.

“Today we’re at the Masonic Lodge.

“It’s just all about people having a good time.”

Three graces — to cover different religions — are spoken. And then it’s time to dig in and forget the worries of the world, and enjoy the tunes of yesteryear.

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