Submitted by Grandson, Bryan Penman
Describing my grandfather in one paragraph seems impossible, but I’ll give it a shot. His wife, my mom’s mom, died before I was born, so I never met her. But I feel like I know her because my grandfather told such beautiful, detailed stories about her. The love he had and still has for her shows in his eyes and spills out onto the rest of the world. My grandpa has more love to give than any other man I’ve met. I know it first-hand because he helped raise me from the time I was two. My dad died in a car accident, and my grandpa made it his priority to help my mom raise me and my two sisters and one brother—all under the age of seven. The four of us weren’t easy, but he never let on. Because it was important to him that my mom get an education, he helped her go to school, and he took care of us while she wasn’t home. He was a simple man by many people’s standards, but he worked hard and smart, and he found a way to make things work so his daughter (his only child) and his grandchildren could have a good life. While we were growing up, no matter what was going on, no matter how hard things got financially or otherwise, he never let it affect us. We only saw a man whose smile was big enough to fill up the Taj Mahal and brighten the darkest January day. He helped us with our homework, always making it more interesting, sparking a love of learning that we all have to this day. He cooked and cleaned, and he never complained. And he laughed. Every day. He still does. Though his body is frail, his mind, his heart, and his spirit remain healthy and strong. “What doesn’t kill me doesn’t kill me” is his favorite take on an old saying. And he always says it with a smile. So to me and the rest of my family, he is a living legend. Thanks, Gramps.