Sundays In The South – Walking The Walk

I have been thinking a lot about my sweet grandmother this week. Not sure why, just all this week she has been on my mind. She was a very kind and generous person despite having grown up the daughter of a school teacher in the rural south and having to endure the hardships of the great depression as well as loosing not one, but two husbands by the time she was thirty, she knew all about making ends meet and hard times.

Despite all that, she was one of the most joyful persons I have ever known. Always full of sage advice and recipes, she cooked and cleaned and cared for all no matter what personal struggles she might be enduring and always made people feel special. Her fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits are the stuff that deep south legends are made of… I did manage to get her sweet potato pie recipe that has been in our family since before as she put it, the “recent unpleasantness” (civil war) and it is a prized possession in our family cookbook.

She baked cakes for people in her neighborhood for their birthdays and took them round just to wish them well. She sat with the sick before their was a home health industry and never asked for a dime.  Her faith in Christ ran deep. She was faithful to attend worship and she prayed daily, gave to missions and loved the church.  She was not overtly “in your face” religious, she didn’t have to be. She lived it with her life….. I came across this video this week and it touched me so. I was once again reminded of my precious grandmother and all she meant to me and how her legacy lives on…..


About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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5 Responses to Sundays In The South – Walking The Walk

  1. Susan Hemann says:

    Chris, love to hear stories about relatives. My grandmother was a religious woman, she walked the walk, although her style was different. She was English so stiff upper lip and all that, but I loved her so much. She was a renaissance woman, artist, crafter, potter. Unfortunately she could not cook lol. One was always smart to eat hearty before going to grandma’s house. lol She was an avid gardener too. Hence my love of gardening. Thank you for sharing her world!


  2. Grace says:

    What a special tribute. How wonderful it must have been to have such a sweet grandmother. I can understand why you’re thinking of her, especially now that it’s cucumber season. 🙂


  3. Kelli says:

    Chris, I thought of my grandmother this week in Walgreens of all places. Their Musak was playing The Alley Cat Song, a song she and I would listen to on her player piano. I think she was sending me a message. 🙂 She loved to garden, and I’m planning a grandmother memorial garden to honor both my grandmothers, who, like yours, walked the walk. Thanks for sharing your memories!


    • It never ceases to amaze me what things remind me of people. A song, a phrase, a seemingly meaningless object will evoke strong memories and suddenly I am with my loved one again… It’s an incredible thing……


  4. Alicia says:

    What a wonderful post.. It is amazing how we never know the effect of our lives while we are living them. I’m sure it is the way the Lord keeps us humble so He can continue to use us with others.


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