Always Looking Ahead

granny in garden

Granny working with Pap in the garden back in day

I’ve been helping Granny work in her yard. We’ve cleaned up last year’s debris and planted a few seeds. She isn’t able to get out and work like she once did and in her absence of keeping things trimmed back nature has about took over the place.

Although looking at the wildness of overgrowth makes me wish for a magic wand to banish it all back a couple of feet or at least for the time to spend cutting it back myself Granny sees beauty and hope in the tangle.

As we walk slowly around the yard with her holding on to my arm and her sturdy walking stick she found in the edge of the woods she points out the beauty amidst the chaos. A rose about to bloom here, a large hydrangea leaf there, a teeny tiny plum.

On the day we planted the containers she keeps close to her porch she asked me to get a piece of wood that was nearby to lay in front of the ones we planted peas in. She said “Move that one up a peg and lay that board in front to keep the mower from hitting them.” Once I had the board laid in protection of the peas Granny said “Oh that’s real nice. Now next year we’ll make it bigger and have us a nice little garden there.”

When Pap died six years ago I didn’t think Granny would make it long. In fact I was afraid she wouldn’t make it two years, which was necessary for the life insurance policy she took out to pay her final expenses.

We didn’t have a clue about what funerals cost until Pap died. Thankfully he had life insurance that paid for everything, but somehow they never took out a policy on Granny. After seeing the cost of a very modest funeral, Granny and I decided getting a small life insurance policy on her needed to be done as soon as possible.

Because of her age and health, it took some time to find one, and once we did she needed to make it two years for it to be fulfilled.

I was ready to give up on Granny six years ago and here she is planning next year’s garden with gusto when we haven’t even got this year’s planted yet. I aim to try to be as hopeful as Granny is and to look for beauty hiding among all the things that need doing.

Last night’s video: How We Plant Tomatoes & Our Favorite Heirlooms to Grow.


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  • Reply
    Patty hansen
    May 15, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    My 92 year old aunt keeps on planting perennials every year. Now that is hope!

  • Reply
    Marilyn Reed
    May 14, 2022 at 10:27 am

    I love Granny’s attitude! We need things to look forward to; even the smallest things. Right now so many different flowers are blooming…blessing overload!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2022 at 1:10 am

    I needed this today. 🙂

  • Reply
    Angela Short
    May 13, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    Grannies are special. Gardens are fun & hopeful & yummy!!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    Thankful to learn Granny is doing well and still excited about the future. Enjoy every minute with her because none of us know when it’s our time to leave this world.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    May 13, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    …another meaningful glimpse into your family life. Thanks

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    Your Mama reminds me of my Mama. My Mama has been gone over 5 years, but she was one to look ahead and plan ahead. Our youngest daughter, who works in the funeral industry, will tell you to prepay your funeral expenses if you can afford it, so you are paying for your funeral at today’s prices. If you don’t have cemetery property, take care of that too. When my brother passed away, we were scrambling to pay the funeral expenses. Fortunately, my mother had cemetery plots so he was buried next to my Daddy. After my brother’s passing, Mama prepaid her funeral and cemetery expenses, so when she passed, everything was easy to take care of. I’m glad your Mama has an insurance policy to cover her final expenses.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 13, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    I used to have a $25, 000 term life insurance policy on myself but nothing on my wife. She never could understand why I wouldn’t buy her a policy. I tried to explain that she had nothing to gain from an insurance policy on herself and that the policy on me was for her benefit. The odds were that she would outlive me and I wanted her to be able to live more comfortably without me. She defied the odds and now we are without her. Before she died she had written down how she wanted her funeral. We respected her wishes. It cost around $30,000 when it was all said and done.
    After her death I canceled my life insurance. It was meant for her not me! The monthly cost was going up every year. I calculated that if I lived long enough it was going to cost me way more than $25,0000 for my kids to collect $25,000. So now I’m saving the money and it’s earning interest.
    I’ve instructed my kids on what to do when I die. I just want to be put in a box and put in the ground beside my wife. I don’t want to be embalmed. I don’t want a funeral. I won’t need a new suit, just bury me in whatever I have on when I die. Strap my coffin on the back of a pickup truck, throw a tarp over it and haul my body to my grave. No shiny black hearse followed by shiny black limousines and a truck load of flowers. No caravan of cars with headlights on full of people with somber faces, as if that would happen anyway. I won’t see any of it anyway.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    May 13, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    I just lost my mother on Christmas Eve. She almost made it to her 94th birthday. Up until 2 years ago when she got Covid, she lived on her own and was always looking toward the next “shindig” at the adult apartments she lived in. She was one they could count on to plan the next party. I guess we all knew she was on the downhill slope when she stopped wanting to plan visits or get-togethers. As long as Granny is looking toward the future, you can pretty much be sure she’ll keep right on going.

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    May 13, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Just lost my mother. How precious is our time with loved ones.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2022 at 1:40 pm

      Gina-I’m so sorry for you loss!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 11:26 am

    It is a wondrous thing to still have a parent. Granny is such a sweet and wise lady, and I always love it when she is brought in on your celebration of Appalachia. I love to look back and see how those parents kept us so grounded. While I was working so many hours, a drive with my dad was so refreshing. He noticed the little things like a duck swimming in a puddle, or the far off mountains where Sarvis had started to bloom. Kept me from sinking too far into the rat race.
    My mom much like Granny continued to take such interest in everything. Even when she became almost housebound, we kept Hummingbird feeders and other bird feeders in her view from the window. Maybe a repeat, but my favorite thing was to get her in the car, and drive to where the garden was–maybe 20 feet. She would stand with her walker and look at the rows of beans and tomatoes, perhaps remembering back when she worked for hours in her own big garden. Her other favorite place was for me to take her along with a foldup chair to the cemetery where my dad rested. She would walk a few steps with her walker, then rest, until she finally could sit quietly beside the man she had spent most of her adult life with. She would gaze off into the beautiful West Virginia mountains, as she sat there looking at peace with her world. We can be assured they are always right there with us as we call on the memories of what they taught to help us through tumultuous times.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 11:11 am

    Always live with HOPE in your heart. Bless her.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 11:00 am

    So nice to see Granny getting out and making plans for her garden. She is a blessing to you all and your a blessing to her!! Can’t beat family and good friends.
    My family loved tomatoes. My brother and I could just walk out in the garden, pick and eat a tomato with delight. A fresh tomato sandwich in the summer is a special treat. Our oldest son loves tomatoes but our youngest does not and that is hard for me to comprehend. lol
    I hope to plant my tomatoes, bush bean, cucumber and squash by next Monday as here in SC PA they recommend you not plant in ground until May 15. I have bought some geraniums for the big iron wash pot and little yellow marigolds to plant along the front sidewalk and some to add as fill in for flower pots. I LOVE flowers and have cut back on the amount of annuals I plant, but I still enjoy them and the perennials that I have coming back every year. Loving those perennials more and more:)

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    May 13, 2022 at 10:42 am

    We can all learn from Granny, reminds me of the song Keep on the Sunnyside.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Grannies are tough. I thought the same of my Granny Mom ( she raised us). When Pa passed I knew she wouldn’t last long but she lasted 20 more years and I thank Jesus for that cause I sure wasn’t ready for her to go. Your mama reminds me of her. God loving and tough as nails. That’s the way our Appalachian women are. God bless!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 13, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Mama wanted to garden up until the very end of her life. We planted some squash and some tomatoes in her flower beds around her house and they produced quite a bit and gave her a lot of pleasure. My mother-in-law helped us pick beans in her late 80’s. She always wanted to come over here & break beans, etc. I’m so glad Granny has yall to help her still enjoy growing things.

  • Reply
    Robert Hale
    May 13, 2022 at 9:58 am

    Good news that Granny is taking an interest in things, and having hope for next year.

  • Reply
    Wendy (Winnie)
    May 13, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Never underestimate us old farts.

  • Reply
    Shirley Frazier
    May 13, 2022 at 9:49 am

    Granny is such a joy. I love the videos of her and love to hear her talk. The crochet projects she’s done are gorgeous and are a real treasure for you. My mom has been gone to Heaven for many years now but I still miss her every day. Guess you never stop missing them. Spend as much time as you can with her while you can. You’re a good daughter to help her as much as you do and your girls are such a blessing to her too.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Granny is such a good example of seeing the positive in the midst of the “wildness of overgrowth”. I wish I could hang around with her. We can all use some positive reinforcement these days. I know Granny misses Pap but she must also have a strong will to hang onto something very special – you and your family. And she knows one day she will be reunited with him.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 13, 2022 at 8:43 am

    Who was it said, “Hope springs eternal.” Something about spring and new green and growing surprises that is encouraging. So glad you have kept your Mom with you. Bless her heart for “a nice little garden” next year. Makes me think to of the song “Just a Rose Will Do” which says in part, “I’ll go to a beautiful garden”. The One who designed and made the very first one knows just how to do it best.

    I’ve probably posted something about this before, but I like to remember that Adam’s assignment was ” to dress and keep” Eden. That was a broad charter. He was free to interpret what each of “dress” and “keep” meant. Just like his naming, it was up to him; a partnership with God who would much rather lead than drive and gives us liberty within bounds of obedience and ability to lead also.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    May 13, 2022 at 8:24 am

    Talk about OPTIMISM- dear granny has a plenty as well as hope! The biggest difference between believers and non-believers is their view on life. One sees life as a treasured gift and the other sees life as a burdensome time to suffer. I’m glad you got granny’s insurance under control because it does cost an arm and a leg to put a body to rest these days. Did you know actually most life insurances are paid for years until an elderly person has an emergency causing long term care, memory loss, etc. When these events occur, most folks are unable to tell their loved ones about their life insurance and it expires quietly with no one being the wiser except, of course, insurance companies who keep truth under wraps. All you need to know is an actuary can predict with just about 100 percent accuracy ( given your age, race, education, job, general health precisely within days how long a person will live. It’s a business with very talented players to even out the playing field. Gods love and plenty peas to dear Granny WHOS got high hopes!!!

  • Reply
    Angie Graeber
    May 13, 2022 at 8:13 am

    Your mother reminds me of my grandmother, who always had flowers, especially pansies, as her name was Pansy. She didn’t do vegetables, probably as a result of so many years hoeing corn,
    which she despised, but always, always had flowers. She had a variety of phlox?, evening primrose? that she called “Pretty by Night.” Always Sweet Williams, hyacinths, tulips and daffs.

    I miss her so much.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 8:01 am

    Having something to look forward to is as important as any medicine.

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    May 13, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Granny has a hope deep within, I pray to keep looking forward as she does. GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME ❤

    • Reply
      Angela Short
      May 13, 2022 at 10:34 pm

      And All the time– God is Good! ✝️

    • Reply
      Angela Short
      May 13, 2022 at 10:38 pm

      And All the time — God is Good!! ✝️

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 13, 2022 at 7:24 am

    Granny is a force unto herself. I go by at least once a week and spend some time with her. I enjoy our visits. She is always crocheting something. She loves to crochet, and she makes a lot of really lovely things. recently she has been crocheting little blankets for all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they are absolutely lovely!

  • Reply
    Denise R
    May 13, 2022 at 7:15 am

    My dad’s health is not the greatest either even though he plans to live until he’s 100 years old, he will be 86 in June. He sees the beauty in everything as well and despite the fact that his body is giving out, he is more optimistic than not. I’m thankful he’s still here, but preparing myself for that time in my life that he won’t be. He raised my sister and I so it will be a large void in both of our lives when he passes. I’m thankful he is still living on his condo and is not in a nursing home or assisted living. We try to help out, but he’s proud and wants to do everything himself, which is good, but he sure can scare the crap out of us!
    I’m glad your mother is still alive and looks forward to the future. She is a wonderful person and so interesting to listen to when you have her in your videos. She is a strong person and has her family there to help and that is the reason she is still alive!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Bless Granny’s heart! It can be so hard to keep hope alive in these dark days, and yet, here she is, at her age, looking ahead and forward toward the future. I love her hopeful attitude and how she doesn’t focus on what used to be but lives her life with hope of what is to come. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing, Tipper. God bless you and your family.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 13, 2022 at 6:09 am

    Never give up one of the grannies in our extended family celebrated her 104th birthday in April. I am shooting for that! She played golf well into her 90’s, enjoyes her neighbors and family. Is well and happy

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