5 Things Appalachia

5 Things

1.Pap coached little league baseball for years. He coached the teams Steve played on until he moved on to high school level and he coached the teams Paul played on until he too moved on to the high school level. All those years of coaching means a lot of boys and a few girls walk around with memories of coach Jerry Wilson in their heads. At Pap’s funeral more than a few of the boys, now grown into middle aged men with graying hair and deepening laugh lines, walked through the visitation line. Two of them couldn’t speak to me. One finally managed a word of condolence the other could not summon one syllable to rise above his sadness. Sadness over a baseball coach that he never even talked to much in the last 30 years. I’d heard about Pap’s influence being great in the lives of the players he coached, yet it was only at his funeral that I realized the depth of meaning behind the stories I’d heard.

A few weeks ago a former baseball player posted a team photo on facebook and asked for help in identifying the players. True friendliness showed up in the comments as folks looked back on those years with great fondness for each other, for the sport of baseball, and for one of their coaches named Jerry Wilson.

2. Granny’s already working on her Christmas presents. She crocheted cozies for two little round tins for the girls. When I stopped by one day last week she said “I made these for Christmas but go ahead and give them to the girls, tell them I said its Christmas in July.”

3. Paul and the girls started working on a cd last week. They already have tracks laid down for three songs. The songs will be on a cd we have planned-sort of a compilation of The Pressley Girls and the Blind Pig Gang. Paul and Pap had been working on several songs in the months before Pap passed away. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the cd.

4. I think I’m growing the world’s largest Candy Roaster. I said I think because this one isn’t growing no where near where I planted the seed. The giant is growing in my watermelon patch. I added some compost from the front garden to my new watermelon bed in the back garden and I’m guessing I carried along a few seeds from last year. There’s several green striped cushaw and a few spaghetti squash volunteering in the bed too. Oh well I guess if my watermelons don’t make I’ll at least have winter squash a plenty.

Fergus County Jail
Paul and I are still mostly in the planning stages for the dvd I told you about a while back. On the Blind Pig and The Acorn Youtube channel there are 3 Front Range covers in the top 20 viewed videos. We won’t put all 3 of them on the dvd, we will most likely go with the one that has the most views which is The Hills I Call Home written by Bob Amos-it has over 27,000 views. My favorite of the 3 is further on down the list, Fergus County Jail. I love the song, I believe I’ve written about it at least twice. The song’s got it all: a story that keeps you hanging onto the edge of your seat, a lonesome catchy sound, and a longing to be back on the farm with the whippoorwills singing in the dell. The video is pretty much perfection. Paul could do it another 1,000 times and we’d never capture the sound we did that day. Go here to see the Fergus County Jail video for yourself.


p.s. The photo at the top of the page is different from the one circulating on facebook. My best guess at the boys in the photo shared here is: from bottom left-Mitchell Phillips, ?,  Corky Anderson, Jan McCoy; from top left-Larry (Lum) Ledford, Keith Williams, Keith (Pickle) Stalcup, ?, Steve Wilson, Curry Penland, ?. If you recognize any of the ? boys I’d appreciate it if you’d tell me who you think they are.


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  • Reply
    Cheryl Anderson
    July 14, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Tipper, what a special legacy your Pap has left. Reading your posts and watching your family’s music videos is a blessing to me. You know what is really important in life: family, friends, sharing and giving in whatever way you can with others. You are able to reach so many people with your Blind Pig posts, the music and all the great information you share with us every day. Thank you for taking the time from your busy life to give your time every day. This is not to enter the give away, just felt like thanking you today.
    Cheryl Anderson

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    July 13, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I often buy/make Christmas gifts throughout the year and put them in one special cabinet just for them. I’ve done that for years. Sometimes it’s because I run across a sale or something that I know will be just perfect for a certain person. Other times I think it’s just because I’m thinking of that person at the time.
    Prayers everyone’s having a safe happy week with special prayers for peace, especially in the UK and US.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Wow, that picture has Norman Rockwell wrote all over it, can’t you just see it…

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I just want to say that whenever I read anything you write about your father these days, I feel a sore tenderness in my heart for you. I feel it a gift to witness your love for your family, all around, and for your “place” and your “walk.” I love listening to your family’s music, including the Pressley Girls! My kindest regards to you and all your relations! (Please don’t add this comment to the give away…I just wanted to say stuff and I will eventually–soon–buy some of y’all’s CDs for myself. Plus, I already won a drawing from you before!) 😉

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    The phrases ‘of blessed memory’ and ‘of enduring memory’ come to mind regarding Pap. He or she is especially blessed who is remembered as one who shaped a life for good. It says they were someone who did redeem their time.
    Volunteers in the garden are part of the fun; from ‘what is that?’ to ‘I think it is a ….’ to ‘Good gosh, look at that!’ and ‘where in the world did that come from?’. Last year, I planted Cherokee Purple tomatoes that you recommended. We like them but they don’t keep well so I didn’t plant them this year. But I moved 6 volunteer tomatoes up from my compost pile and yep, you guessed it, I got one Cherokee Purple anyway.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Debbie-thank you for the comment! So glad you both liked Katies jewelry : ) That will tickle her pink! And she is Chitter : )

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Miracle Whitehorse-Thank you for the comment! It makes my day to know you’ve been enjoying the Blind Pig and the Acorn!! I love that song too-its still on the playlist, I just moved it down. Every once in a while I add new songs and try to mix up the rest a little : ) You can scroll down and you’ll find it at number 137.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Howland-thank you for the comments! You know if Pap asked himself that question I dont think he’d have had any answers either. Its the people around him who had them…just like its the people around you who could name off a multitude of things you’ll be remembered and missed for too : )

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    You could see the love in those penetrating eyes of Pap. I know he liked me and most everyone else that he met, that meant a lot to me. No wonder all those young baseball players he taught cared for him so much. If I could go back, I’d tell all those wonderful teachers just what they meant to me. Thanks for all you do, to bring this Appalachian Post each day…Ken

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Your #1 has got me to thinking ‘What, if anything, will I be remembered for? What have I done to influence others to the point of “If Howland was here, he’d have done that/answered that/told you how in no time at all..” ‘ so far, I have no real answer…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I loved this post today, especially the story about Pap’s participation and involvement with Little League Baseball! Having raised two boys childhood baseball is dear to our hearts also we are involved with our grandsons sports today as well. Our boys were raised playing organized sports baseball and basketball, fishing and organized youth bowling leagues. My husband coached for years, and one team went to the state championship. Winning all their games until the final stand off with only two teams left. Only losing and coming in second..by one point. Were the boys disappointed maybe a little…but it was all forgotten at the motel swimming pool after the game and a big dinner! They had climbed a mountain for young 8/9 year olds, remaining the first team to go that far in years. After all the whole point was having fun and winning of course added to the memories.
    Occasionally when we’re out and about some man will come up and reach his hand out and say “Hey coach, remember me and say do you remember that year we won all our games and played in the state tournament?” I usually prepare myself to listen to all the plays remembered and all the fun they had traveling all around just having fun! ha

  • Reply
    Miracle WhiteHorse
    July 13, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I grew up in the South . . . Southern California that is. I’ve relocated many times. I’ve lived in NC for about 8 years and have relocated to the Murphy area. I’ve been reading your posts and listening to your music for the last month or two. I so enjoy learning about WNC from you. I love the songs, stories, garden tips, old time ways and just the warm home fun, love, and lore.
    Someone took the music: Growling Man and Grumpy Woman off your playlist. I miss it!!!!!

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    July 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    That’s a wonderful testimony for the kind of man your Pap was.
    We always have a Christmas in July.We have a (farcracker) grandson.He use to think everyone was celebrating his birth date on the 4th of July.When I grew up we didn’t celebrate birth dates .My how times have changed.

  • Reply
    Debbie Nobles
    July 13, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Please pass on to Katie a big Thank-you.She really made my daughter’s birthday special. I ordered some things from her site.Connie loves them.We get stopped all the time to ask where she got her jewelry.We are happy to tell them.Is Katie Chitter or Chatter?

  • Reply
    Suzy J
    July 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Tipper, you never fail to pull on the heart strings. I hope to see you and the gang soon 🙂

  • Reply
    July 13, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Pap left a legacy that you can all be proud of. His influence on the lives he touched will certainly live on. Granny has a true Christmas heart. I remember when she said every day is Christmas, I love her spirit! We are looking forward to the cd and dvd!

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    July 13, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Your posts always take me back in time to stories that are very similar but with different characters. I look forward to your posts every day.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 13, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I too coached Little League for several years and made some wonderful friends. I look around now as the first team I coached has “Kids” nearing fifty years of age and I wonder where the years went. I hope I had some positive influence on these young men. I remember the old field Don refers to in his post, I lived to far out of town to play Little League but we had a Diamond cut out of the Broom Sedge and Prickly Pear Cactus on our island in the Little Tennessee River where the neighbors played pick-up games for years. The infield was fairly smooth but the Outfield was dangerous since we never did get all the cactus removed. Thanks for awaking some more old memories as you often do. You show that Brasstown and Needmore aren’t to far apart as the crow flies and as the Appalachain way of life has shaped so many of us. Kudos to Pap for helping form so many young lives in a positive manner.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 13, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Tipper—Little League baseball was important in my life, in Daddy’s, and especially in brother Don’s. When Little League baseball first started in Bryson City (1960) I was the coach of one of the four teams for a brief time. Then I got a summer job in Cherokee that meant working far too late in the day to continue coaching. Daddy took over and that was good in a bunch of ways—he knew far more about the sport and about coaching than I did, he secretly loved being involved since he had played a lot of baseball and fast pitch softball as a young (and not so young—I can remember him still playing when he was in his 40s) man, and the field was almost next door to the house so he was readily available.
    Either the next year or the year after that, in company with my lifelong friend Jackie Corbin, I oversaw the whole program—supervised building of a new field with lots of help from players and parents, lined the field before each game, umpired, oversaw the concessions, and also worked with Pony League. There were four Little League teams but only two Pony League ones. By the time boys reached Pony League age (13), many of them had summer jobs.
    Don was a good player and I know he looks back on the years he played with great fondness. He’s got a picture of his team (the Full-Cream Flour Falcons or a name close to that) and I suspect that if he reads today’s blog he’ll post it.
    Coaching kids at that age somehow has a real impact on them. One of the boys who played for me the few weeks I coached was Joe Benny Shuler, the father of noted football player Heath Shuler. Joe Benny came from a poor family but had to be the hardest working, most eager boy who ever lived—selling Grit newspapers, mowing lawns, selling Cloverine Salve, and doing any and every kind of chore imaginable. Many years later when I was in may late 50s or early 60s, Joe Benny drove by Momma and Daddy’s house while I was visiting. I didn’t recognize him but he stopped his vehicle (he carried the mail and it had signs indicating that), got out, and gave me a huge hug before I really knew what was going on. “A boy never forgets his first coach,” he said. I will never forget that moment.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    July 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

    This will be one of my favorite posts. I especially like when you talk about Granny and Pap. They’re some good folks.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 13, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Some of my fondest childhood memories are connected with Little League baseball. I played for the Fullcream Flour Falcons (sponsored by Slayden-Fakes). The other teams were the Pepsi Cola Pirates, the Coca Cola Cubs and the RC Cola Braves. On game days (twice a week), I’d have my uniform on at breakfast.
    The league had a little bit of support from the town and donations from the community (including the team sponsors, who paid for the uniforms), but there was also a lot of volunteer work. The backstops were locust poles with chicken wire fastened to them. The fields were anything but special; the infield was all bare dirt and whatever grew in the outfield wasn’t grass. On the first field we had, there was a distinct slope going up out into left field and one dropping off in right (on top of Black Hill).
    But it was all we knew. And it was great.
    At our 30th high school reunion, two of my former teammates and I stayed after everyone else had left and recalled little league memories until almost two in the morning.
    A little ditty, remembering those days:
    Throwing pebbles off and runners out
    At the diamond down below town,
    No rosin bags, just dust and spit,
    “Come on boys, let’s bat around.”
    It was Roger and Mickey and Whitey;
    Stan the Man, Hank, and Say Hey, too.
    In those days Orlando was Cepada.
    And Ernie said “Let’s play two!”

  • Reply
    Wes Bossman
    July 13, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Good morning, Tipper,
    I just wanted you to know that the book, (Grandma Gatewoods Walk) arrived, and I am enjoying it very much. I have to tell you that I truly enjoy the music videos you include, and am a fan of everyone involved, especially your Dad and Paul,( who I watch like a hawk, because I play guitar, and will add some of those songs to my repertoire. Thanks, again for ALL the aspects of Appalachia that you cover in your blog!
    Wes Bossman

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 13, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I liked your post today–telling about many things that are poignant and memorable. Sometimes just to talk about them–or better still, to write about them–helps us to perspectively view and accept what transpires in this journey called life.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Christmas in July, I love it! I miss Pap, though he’s not really gone. I feel his presence often.
    Looking forward to the new CD. It’s ok to make us wait cause it gives us something to look forward to.
    A candy Roaster in the watermelon patch. Do you suppose that candy roaster wanted to be a watermelon when it grows up?

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