She is a spunky, out-spoken widow. Her husband, Charlie, died two years and three months ago, but she still asks his advice. Agnes lives on their small tobacco farm with her pet pig, Miss Margaret, until a kitchen fire forces her to live with her daughter, Betty Jo and her husband, Henry.
After mother and daughter agree they cannot live together, Agnes moves to a retirement home, Sweetbriar Manor. That's when the fun, the trouble, and the 'shake up,' begin.
Through the eyes of Agnes soon after coming to the Manor:
I walked to a window, where I pulled back one velvet drape, and stood looking out for a good long while. I'd acquired the habit on the farm. Before retiring, I'd rest my eyes on shadowed fields or the darkened tobacco barn or the cedars along the fence row. I listened for a hoot owl's call or a raccoon rummaging in the night. My heart grieved for all those things.