Archived Story

Grandmother ahead of times

Published 12:35pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This weekend I got a chance to do something I don’t do nearly enough.

I got to spend a Sunday with my grandmother.

Dane and I attended my childhood church and had lunch with my dad’s mother, better known to our family as Peppy.

My grandmother’s first name is Peggy, which when I was a small child I somehow translated into Peppy.

Since I was the only grandchild for four years, the name stuck, and my siblings and cousin later followed suit.

Peppy and my grandfather, Jake – don’t ask me why as a child I decided he didn’t need a nickname – lived 10 minutes away from me while I was growing up, so we spent a lot of time together.

Peppy was the one who first suggested I take ballet classes at age 4, which I continued until my sophomore year of high school.

She would often pick me up from school to take me to ballet, and she usually had a cold Grapico and a Big Sky cookie waiting.

She is responsible for not only my lifelong love of dance but also my passion for reading.

She helped me learn to read and took me to get my first library card. She patiently read every one of the short stories I scribbled and dutifully pretended they were worthy of national awards.

Peppy and I have always been close, but Sunday I realized how awesome she is as a real person, not just at being a grandmother.

My grandmother is 74 years old, but over lunch Sunday she told us about how she’s learning to use her new iPad.

She’s had a laptop for years, but she recently updated to wireless Internet so she can email and share pictures more quickly.

Dane was blown away that at her age Peppy was not only interested in utilizing technology, she was forward thinking enough to use Apple products.

I was pretty impressed myself. But I should not have been surprised.

Peppy has always been pretty forward-thinking.

She graduated in 1961 from Howard College, which later became Samford University, in a time when most women did not even attend college.

She earned a pharmacy degree and went on to co-own and operate a successful drug store for almost 34 years, all while raising four children.

Last year she traveled to Alaska and Germany, and this summer she swam laps in her pool almost daily for exercise.

There is not much she sets her mind to that she can’t do, and I continue to be impressed.

I thank God for placing such an incredible lady in my life, and I pray that he allows me to keep her as long as possible.

I have a lot more to learn.

Pemberton is a staff writer for The Outlook.