Family dines outside every Wednesday with 96-year-old uncle, despite weather

Family dines outside every Wednesday with 96-year-old uncle, despite weather

ABINGTON, Mass. — Malcolm MacLeod may come for the food, but he stays for the company.

“I can’t explain how much it means to me. I don’t talk to her too much. I just listen to her arguing with her brother-in-law and I just sit there and listen to them. It’s just fabulous,” he said.

The World War II veteran, who served in the south Pacific, just turned 96 years old. Ever since his wife of 56 years, Shirley, died four years ago, MacLeod’s family has taken him out for dinner once a week. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they eat outside regardless of the weather.

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“I would hope we’re showing them a little bit of joy and ongoing connections and the importance of not letting the weather stop you,” said MacLeod’s niece, Paula Foster.

Originally, the family got together once a month, but they enjoy it so much they now take their uncle out every Wednesday night, often at Sorelle in Abington. The restaurant’s general manager, Mark Doherty, said seeing the family is the highlight of his week.

“They come in [at] 5 o’clock, 5:15, they’ll have a drink. They’re all smiles, they’re grateful we’re open, they’re grateful we’re doing it, but I’m just grateful they’re just coming in. To me it just becomes an inspirational story,” he said.

The restaurant provides propane heaters and heated cushions for the family. Mr. MacLeod, who lives in Hingham at a senior residence, said the coldest it’s been, so far, for one of their dinners is 22 degrees.

“I worry about the girls, but the girls love it, so I got a heavy jacket. She bought me long underwear to wear in case it gets cold, but I don’t wear it; it’s not that cold. We’ve been awful lucky this year,” MacLeod said.

MacLeod said he looks forward to the Wednesday dinners starting on Thursday morning. He still drives and goes to the American Legion Hall once a week and the casino once or twice a month.