TRURO – Herb Peppard’s face was aglow with pride as he held up the certificate.
The 97-year-old was one of three finalists in the Outstanding Columnist category in the 2017 Better Newspapers Competition with his work published on a monthly basis in Hub Now.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Peppard, about becoming a finalist. “I was so happy.”
Peppard’s been writing stories and poems pertaining to his life experiences for quite a while now, first being published in the late 1990s. He published a book in 1994, but this is the first time he’s received recognition for his writing.
“I thought people who didn’t get the book or didn’t read the book would like to know about my army life, and just my life,” he said, about why he wanted a column published on a regular basis.
“I get joy out of writing.”
With two fat binders sitting in front of him, full of his pieces, Peppard is modest when he says he has about 40 stories in his repertoire.
“Dad, it’s closer to 100,” said his daughter, Lark. “You have six of these binders.”
Peppard stops to think about it.
“I’m smarter than I thought I was,” he said, hearty laughter escaping his mouth.
On occasion, Peppard will read through his written pieces, and will often read them aloud when family members visit who may not have seen the published piece. Oftentimes, he will break out in song when the story warrants it.
“I enjoy recalling my old friends, my buddies,” Peppard said. “So it was nice to get that (recognition).”
He said it’s hard to pick a favourite story, or even topic to write about. Many are about his army experiences, while many are about his family life, including his beloved Greta.
“It’s hard to pick between the army and family. Both are my favourites,” he admitted.
Now, at the age of 97, Peppard is still penning his life, but he says it’s not often enough.
“Once I get an idea, I’ll feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I’m always afraid I’m going to forget something that’s important.”
Peppard didn’t walk away with the award – that went to Celeste Godin, of Acadie Nouvelle – but you’d never know it by the smile on his face.