Appalachia Music

Where We’ll Never Grow Old


Pap – photo by Chitter

We went on a long hike yesterday. We tramped up steep mountain ridges and slid down narrow leaf filled mountain hollers. As always Chitter picked up way too many rocks and by the end of the day she was having a hard time keeping up because her backpack was heavy. Staying out half the night making music the night before didn’t help any either.

The Deer Hunter and I were pleased that we can still out do the girls when it comes to hiking. He said “But you know, it won’t always be like this. Someday we won’t be able climb up steep ridges and slide our way down the other side.”

I’ve already got enough creaky joints to know he’s right, but I don’t like to think about getting old.

When I was growing up Pap was like Superman. There wasn’t nothing he couldn’t do-at least that’s how I saw him. When I was a little girl and got too tired to walk Pap would hoist me on his back and carry me till I rested enough to walk behind him again. I can still remember how it felt to be on his back with his sure footsteps leading us back home.

As Pap got older he couldn’t do the things he’d always done. I know it bothered him that he could no longer take off up the creek and walk the mountains he roamed as a boy.

One of my favorite hymns to sing in church was “Where We’ll Never Grow Old”.  The website hymnstudiesblog shares the following information about the man who wrote the song.

“The text was written and the tune composed both by James Cleveland Moore Sr., who was born on May 2, 1888, at Draketown in Paulding County, GA, the son of Charles Robert and Mary Ellen Hesterley Moore. Intending to become a Baptist preacher, he was educated at Draketown Baptist Institute, Mercer University at Macon, GA, and the University of Florida. Also, he received musical training under Benjamin B. Beale and J. Henry Showalter.

In 1914, while a 26-year old seminary student at Mercer, Moore visited to preach in his home church at Draketown, where his aging father had led the singing for years. The elder Moore’s voice failed him and the son said that he knew that he would not be hearing his father sing much longer. Back in school at Macon, James produced the hymn with the incident still fresh in his mind, and wrote, “Dedicated to My Father and Mother.” Apparently, it was not published until 1930.”

In March of last year Paul uploaded a video of him and Pap doing the song “Where We’ll Never Grow Old” at the Historic Union County Courthouse. The video was provided by Ridgeline TV.

I hope you enjoyed the song. Pap don’t have to worry about getting old anymore and someday I won’t have to either.

When the girls were little they’d sing where we’ll never get cold instead of where we’ll never grow old. They really thought the song was about not getting cold in heaven 🙂


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 24, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, that tenor harmony is something else! I know you have the memories always, but you are so blessed to have these recordings.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Boy, Pap’s tenor gave me chills. You are so blessed to have these recordings. I’m sure they bring comfort along with vivid memories.

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    February 6, 2018 at 2:03 am

    Thank you so much for sharing the story behind the song. This is one of my hobbies; collecting Song Lyrics and stories behind the writing of the songs.

    About those joints. Try Cod Liver Oil in capsules. I had been taking 3 a day for over 20 years. Recently I have increased to 6 per day because my fingernails were getting too brittle. In the past, if I took too many pills my fingernails would get too soft. So, each one should adjust your intake to what helps you. – – A word of caution: Some people do not digest the oil the same way, and you might burp up the oil for some time after taking. Take an hour before eating, or 2 hours after eating for best results. My Aunt Mary could not even take the gelatin capsules. I understand that liquid Cod Liver Oil has quite an odor and taste!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    February 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Just beautiful. It is a privilege to hear this, a reminder of the kind, courtly man we met at your house. Thank you, Tipper.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve watched No.’s 1,2, and 3 episodes at the Blairsville Courthouse many times. I was there for most and really enjoyed it. I love all the Wilson songs.

    I’ve said it many times before, getting old is for the birds. I can’t do anything I use to do since I fell working on my water. But I do what I have to, and as long as I can. …Ken

    • Reply
      August 3, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      Love this song have heard it in old Country Churchs all my life.thank you.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Oh, Tipper! What a sweet post! It makes me sad, because I miss my Mom and Daddy SO much. It was so hard to see them grow older and then to stand by both of their bedsides to say good-bye for the last time. You are right, Pap and my parents and those who have gone on before us will never have to worry about growing old ever again, and one day, you and I won’t have to worry about it, either. I love this dear, old son, and no one sings it like Paul and Pap. Thanks for sharing. God bless you and your family! P.S. – Are you still willing to do an interview with us? I would love to do that, if you are still interested. Just let me know. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I slowed down some about the age of 40, a little more at 60 and tremendously at 70. It now takes me two weeks to do the work I used to do in a morning.

    • Reply
      Leon Estes
      February 6, 2018 at 2:06 am

      Yes, we each must do what we can do. Just keep on doing what you can as long as you can. I have heard that walking is good for the body. Some may not be able to because of their joints, but I suggest do what you can.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    February 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    always loved this i am 71 an a couple of weeks but still going strong and enjoying life to the best of my ability you all have a great week

  • Reply
    Annette Hensley
    February 4, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Hearing Pap’s pure, sweet voice again and simply the theme of the song brought tears to my eyes. We’re all so lucky that you have recordings of your family’s music to keep it young in our hearts.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    February 4, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I remember this song from church. I can also remember my Grandma singing it. As always, thanks for the Sunday music.

    Getting old is something I worry about. I had kids later than my parents did. I’m always concerned that I will be “that old Dad.” But, I take comfort from my family who seem to age well and the words of the fine folks here. Just keep on keepin’ on. No sense in worrying about what might or could happen. Just get on with it.

    It is cold here, though. So, I’m feeling partial to the girl’s version.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 11:14 am

    But our bodies are only vessels and our minds a conveyance between physical things and reality. “We” do, never grow old! “We” are born into an infant body and mind and depart from a used up shell but we are still as young as when we came. Those of us who can accept that our mortal dwelling place is only a prison and our own creations amount to nothing will be given a timeless domicile where age, disease and discord does not and cannot harm us. Pap is there already! Celebrate!
    If this is getting too deep for comfort, get back out and I will put your swimmies on ye.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 4, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I really like that song, and would like to think that I might be kin to the author (Mama was a Moore). Paul and Pap outdid themselves on this – Paul’s lovely mellow voice and Pap’s tenor harmony were just lovely.

    A few years ago, when I was in my early 60s, my hiking and bushwhacking stamina was as good as it ever had been. That’s no longer the case, and I’m definitely feeling that growing old part of things.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I have never heard this song before, but I really enjoyed it. I found myself singing along with the refrain.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    February 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I love that old song and remember singing it often in the church I grew up in.
    I’m not as quick as I use to be nor as limber but thank the Lord I can still get out in the woods and explore. I’ve gotten wiser though.
    Instead of going straight up a steep hill now I go up at an angle. Takes longer but easier.
    I saw a good climbing tree the other day and I was so tempted to shimmy up it but then I realized that I just turned 60 and I probably shouldn’t be climbing a tree just for the fun of it but I have not ruled it out yet!
    I was talking to an older guy one day about aging and he said, “ when I was younger I use to run over things but now I just run up against em!”

  • Reply
    Barbara T Woodall
    February 4, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I was thinking, if nobody told us how old we were, we’d not know.
    Today, I turn 63. It’s been a year since I scaled the top of a mountain.
    I keep telling myself, ONE MORE TIME. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
    See ya’ll at the top!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 4, 2018 at 8:00 am

    My Grandma very rarely ever said anything in church (but her life spoke volumes). The one song she would sing was “Time Has Made a Change” that speaks of growing old and losing strength until being changed to the other side of time.

    For those who believe our perfection requires the passage through the valley of the shadow. I’m looking forward to meeting Mr. Jerry Wilson.

    And today is my wife’s birthday. We are growing old together but not for always.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 4, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I still believe age is a state of mind. If you think you are old you will act old. I am 78 and still doing what I did before at a slower pace. If you stop you will age quickly. I have been pushing myself to do more than I think I can. This winter has been rough with the cold keeping me inside a lot but I can still dance around the dining room table. So put on the music and dance and see how good you feel.

  • Reply
    Pat Dobbins
    February 4, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Yes. We’ll never be old and we’ll never be cold….it will be perfect. And we know yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not certain so live for today. Thanks, again, for all your stories and history lessons about your neck of the woods. We still have no rain or snow or any kind of moisture here in West Texas, close to 100 days. Really been a weird winter, temperatures in the 70s and 80s for several days. Hope you all have a good February. I’m ready for spring so I can get out in the yard.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Thanks, I needed that this morning, I visited with my Parents yesterday morning and it’s hard to see them struggle to get up and down, Moms on a walker now, seems this past year they both have gone down really fast.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 4, 2018 at 7:05 am

    My wife and I will turn 70 this year and we are all too aware of the changes that happen as we age, but we still get around well and keep busy and thoroughly enjoy our life together. Of course, we have no idea when we will move on from this earthly life, but we know that we will move on.

  • Leave a Reply