Remember how much sweeter Peachland became in 1988?
That was the year Martha Jenkins and her husband Dan came here to retire.
They were looking from rural Alberta upon retirement, after finding the perfect place on Columbia Avenue.
“Location, holy,” she exclaimed. “That was why we bought it.”
Having spent most of her life in a sleepy hamlet, nothing made Jenkins happier than basking in the simple pleasure of pushing a baby carriage down Beach Avenue. And since becoming a Peachlander, she’s always had babies to stroll with.
“We have 10 grandchildren,” she said. “And I just found out yesterday we’re going to have our 10th great grandchild! Isn’t that special?”
That new great grandchild is going to get some of the best strolls, since he or she will arrive in time for the completion of the Peachland Pier—and of course Martha is excited for the extension to the beautiful waterfront walkway.
“We just love all these babies.”
She had a hand in the pier project too —Martha and Dan have been involved with the Peachland Sportsmans Association since they first moved to town, though she just resigned in December.
“We were avid hunters and fishermen, we have lots of trophies,” she said.
Martha can’t wait to see how much more enjoyable the annual Fishing Forever event will be in Peachland, when fishermen and fisherwomen with disabilities will casting off like the new pier.
When it comes to the outdoors, Martha and Dan also love spending time up at Big White. They just celebrated Dan’s 85th birthday there with a big group of 15.
“We’ve skied probably every cross-country trail at Big White.”
Martha never got into downhill skiing, but on her 65th birthday, she rode down from the top of the mountain on a sled, which was steered by a Big White employee. She was surrounded by her whole family, who were skiing by her side the whole way down.
But even on the flatter surfaces of cross-country trails, Martha said she loves going fast. Same goes when she’s behind the wheel of a car.
“I have to forgive my granddaughter for having a heavy foot, she takes after me. I’ve had four speeding tickets already.”
She’s heavily involved with the Catholic Women’s League in Westbank since moving to the area, and she calls that club her first love.
Martha had a blast partying with them earlier this month. And she was at a Sportsmans Association party. And she also had family visiting from Edmonton to surprise Dan for his 85th birthday at the Gashtahus on the Lake.
“Three parties in a week… no wonder I’m worn out.”
As a beloved employee of Ace Hardware for 13 years, she loved always getting to meet people in the shop, an was dearly missed after her last shift five years ago.
“Martha’s one of the most energetic, wonderful great-hearted enthusiasts I’ve ever met in my whole life,” said Ace Hardware owner Tim Stubbert. “Whenever you’re having a rotten day or things are going bad for you, you want to talk to Martha. Martha brings you right out of the hole to where life is good again. And Dan Jenkins is a heck of a nice fellow too.”
Martha said Tim tried many times to get her to come back.
“He would say, ‘just come help out for a half a day,’ but I knew if I did it once I’d get hooked.”
She knows all too well how easy it can be to get hooked on hardware – it’s already consumed her husband.
“Dan loves puttering around. He’s always building something—building a box for something.”
Martha’s idea of a good time is being with the family, so she’s excited for the annual gathering up at Mable Lake in July, which is going to be packed with activities like colouring contests and cupcake baking.
She still doesn’t have a computer, nor does she want one.
And who could forget how Martha’s the President of the Peachland Fall Fair. She already has her sights set on the 99th annual event.
When asked what she loves so much about the fall fair, she said “all the entries, the ribbons, acknowledgements and trophies … Oh the trophies.”
Until last year, she was on the team with the Rubber Ducky Race, and she still helps out at the annual Fishing Forever event.
There’s no telling how much less vibrant Peachland would be had it not been for Martha’s altruistic efforts.