Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peggy Jo

A week ago my grandmother was taken from us. She certainly wasn't living her best life the past few months, but we didn't know it would be that day, that soon. I'm still processing it all, so I'm going to post the speech I read at her funeral a few days ago.

Hi, I’m Lindsay Priester, Peg’s oldest granddaughter. My grandmother was one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She lived life each and every day with the kind of enthusiasm most of us can only muster on our birthday or a holiday. I’m so blessed to have known her for 30 years and during those 30 years she taught me several lessons. Some of them serious, but most of them silly because Po is the absolute last person in the world who would want this to be a pity party. A party? 100 percent yes. Bust out the decorations and cocktails. But a pity party, never. On that note, here are some lessons she taught me.

  • ·         She taught me lots of lessons about hair including keep it away from water, don’t let it go gray and always befriend your hairstylist.
  • ·         She taught me that it’s okay to love both Alabama and Auburn, even though we may be the only two people on the planet who feel that way.  
  • ·         She taught me the secret code for getting bartender Burt down in Clemson to make you a drink.
  • ·         She taught me that as long as you can get away with it, it’s okay to lie about your age. For that reason, we decided that for at least the next 10 years I’d be 25 and she’d be 45.
  • ·         She taught me that getting a little tan is okay, despite what the doctors say.  She’d say that “a little culuh” was important for looking healthy and happy. I’m naturally very pale, but she’d notice any time I got the smallest amount of a suntan and she’d tell me how pretty it looked.
  • ·         She taught me the difference between squash and watermelon, but she would kill me if I told y’all what that meant, so we’ll keep that one a secret.
  • ·         She taught me how to make a perfect vodka martini (before I was old enough to drink a vodka martini).  I’m more of a wine girl and don’t like olives, but I know I’ll have one every now and then in her honor.
  • ·         She taught me that cheese and crackers not only counts as dinner, but is one of the best dinners. The other best dinner (or breakfast, or lunch, or snack) is bacon.  And lots of it.
  • ·         She taught me that when it comes to fashion, go big or go home. Leopard print, sequins, nothing is too flashy. I remember when I was little she had a multi-colored jewel encrusted lizard pin which we both thought should be on the cover of Vogue.
  • ·         She taught me that you should never, ever be seen without lipstick. Preferably, Revlon Fire and Ice.
  • ·         She taught me to love people ferociously and with abandon. It was such a privilege to watch her share her love so generously every day with people from all walks of life. She became like family to the nurses who took care of her. She adored all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even became friends with our friends.  She wrote one of the greatest love stories of all time with my grandfather, Big, a man she still looked at with the same sparkle in her eye at 75 as she did at 17. 



But mostly, she taught me to say “yes” more. Yes to more late nights, yes to that piece of cake, yes to that cocktail and, most importantly, yes to that thing that terrifies you. The tiredness, headache and fear will go away soon enough and the memory will be there forever. She taught me that life is short and living life afraid is a waste of time.  We’ll miss you Peggy Jo, but you’ll be with us in every decision that we make. If I can live a life half as full of love and joy as yours, I will be one lucky girl. Love you forever, Pogers.