Animals In Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Be Your Ownself

My life in appalachia be your ownself

Chatter and Chitter have always danced to the beat of their own drum. I wish I could take credit for their strong sense of self, but I can’t.

Even as small children the girls seemed to forge their own way—even when it wasn’t popular with their peers. Preferring to run wild in the woods, they left the popular video games and tv shows behind in favor of making mud pies or damming up the creek with their cousin. I sometimes wished they were couch potato kids just so I could have a break from their constant movement, their constant need to be ‘doing’.

Many of you have made kind remarks about the girls’ talent for music making and dancing. Their musical pursuits, whether it be clogging, contra dancing, or performing as The Pressley Girls haven’t ever made them the ‘cool kids’ when it comes to impressing their peers. All you need to do is flip the channel to MTV or even CMT to see what Chatter and Chitter do isn’t remotely mainstream. Yet, listening to their own internal rhythm they continue to do the traditional dances, songs, and tunes that have been performed in Appalachia for generations.

Me—I followed the crowd. I wanted to wear what all my friends wore, I wanted to listen to the latest music and be in the popular line of kids who walked the school hallway. Looking back, I guess I succeeded in my endeavor, but I clearly see the error of my ways from this vantage point.

Pap used to tell me “Be your ownself and don’t worry about what other people are doing or not doing. You’ll never be happy in this world till you realize you’ve gotta be who you are.”


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    May 31, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Thanks Tipper. I have a daughter who is liberated (My favorite word) from the mainstream as well. My philosophy, No Fear of me as she grew up. I’m happy, as well as proud, of her.
    My Story;
    Friends and lovers I’ve known in my time
    This Poem that’s my life has it’s own rhyme
    And when it starts feelin like I’m fading away
    I remember the music that was mine yesterday
    There were songs of freedom, songs of the road
    Songs about justice and those who carried the load
    All those sad songs, some songs of good news
    I remember Hank Williams and the old “Lovesick Blues”
    But i’, a long way from the “Fifties” and a long way from home
    Just seventeen, when I set out to roam
    The Hunger I felt then I’m feelin today
    The Journey’s forever, I heard someone say
    Now the Hobo is history and the Beatnicks, all gone
    The Hippie’s called “Homeless” but memories live on
    And that old distant drummer keeps changing the tune
    So I’m saving the Last Dance for the Man in the moon
    Yes, the hunger I felt then, I’m feelin today
    I’ve gotta live my life in my own way
    That old distant drummer keeps changing the tune
    So I’m saving the “Last Dance” for the Man in the Moon.

  • Reply
    Granny Norma
    September 8, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Pap is a wise man. Too many young people are so afraid of not having friends they are willing to give up on their hopes and dreams to run with the crowd. It’s just tragic. Unfortunately, many of them also don’t think they need any advice from their elders. They already know it all, of course.
    For Jackie Jentzsch: I hope you don’t live too near Henderson County because that white wooly worm means lots of snow. I wouldn’t really mind that if it’s not too cold — better than no snow and one below.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    It took me a long time to figure out exactly who I was and to start acting that way. I know sometimes my ways embarrass a sibling or two, and I’m sorry for being the cause of their embarrassment, but I’m not sorry for finding out who I am and honoring that, whether anyone else likes it or is comfortable with it or not.
    What Tipper’s Pap said is true “You’ll never be happy in this world till you realize you’ve gotta be who you are.”
    But even more, you’ll never be what God created and needs you to be until you find out who you are and start honoring that either; you’re the only one just like YOU, and that’s by God’s design, so don’t hide it or belittle it, honor it – cause He ALWAYS knows what He’s doing!
    I believe that!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    September 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I am one who always marched to my own drummer. Works for me.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I agree with miss Cindy too. You and the deer hunter are both great parents. And me and another crusty old deer hunter are great fans of those girls AND their parents. Love.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I totally agree with Cindy! You and
    the Deer Hunter have done well,
    teaching the girls about life and
    just being there for them. I like
    the way they are, listening to
    themselves as they have been taught. Hope they have enjoyed
    their first week at College…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Do you think that uniovular twins might have a paranormal ability “to see yourself as others see you?” Can they share experiences? Can they learn from each other’s mistakes simultaneously and in real time? Did your twins try on each other’s prom dresses to see how they were going to look?
    Uniovular twins might have trouble singing in harmony when they are smaller because they sound so much alike. But as they progress one or both will have to change in order to achieve harmony instead of just volume. Your twins seem to be making that adjustment rather well lately.
    You and the mister really have something to be proud of in those three. Chitter, Chatter and The Pressley Girls. And the best is yet to come!
    Lorraine Collett was the original Sun Maid girl

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Such great advice! I usually did my own thing with the guidance of my parents, but sometimes I would do something out my ordinary and then it just didn’t feel right. I became my own person as I grew older and then it was my own decision time.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    September 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I’m proud of those girls, too. I’m proud of the whole family. So many families are completely dysfunctional. Yours seems to be strong, disciplined, and proud. I pray that there are enough families, like yours, to keep this nation from declining any more than it has.

  • Reply
    Bob and Inez Jones
    September 1, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Tipper- Pap, as an elder generation, has the words of wisdom.”Just be your ownself” is the very best advice. Be who we were created to be. Thanks Pap! Bob and Inez Jones

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My two girls are so different when it comes to behavioral traits. I always thought the youngest inherited a gene from her daddy’s family. My mother-in-law called it strong willed. The oldest was a kind of laid back, go with the flow kind of girl.
    Be thankful the girls are their ownself. So many young people “follow” others and that’s not always a good thing.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Those young girls are so truly amazing! They set such a fine example in the maze of young folks with nose rings and body piercings–tattoos traveling up around their neck. You have to take some credit, Tipper, as you and the Deerhunter set the example. Your wonderful family was a support group during those growing up years. They are so pretty and talented, and I have so enjoyed watching them grow up into fine young girls. I had a strong Dad who taught me how to brave all the knocks and scrapes of life and I am ever grateful.
    I say this at the risk of sounding like the old fuddy-duddy that I am. But, I have great concern for our young people, and I want all of them to succeed. Sadly, some of the young grocery checkers don’t know cabbage from lettuce.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Your girls are truly letting their lights shine!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    September 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I fully understand what you are talking about. I have two grown daughters and one was kind of like Chitter and Chatter. I remember when she was in elementary school, she loved the movie Gone With the Wind (still does). She had a Rhett Butler T-shirt and wore it to school regularly and didn’t care what anyone thought. She now is a Director of Music at a school Kindergarten through 8th grade.Her students absolutely love her. She is also in the community band and orchestra and has given private flute lessons. She still is her own self and certainly not a follower. I applaud Chitter and Chatter for not getting caught up in this ridiculous Kim Kardashian kind of world we live in where people are so afraid to be themselves and politically correctness is so out of hand ( I for one am over it)! I don’t know your girl’s but I have to say, I am proud of them for being themselves and not caving in to peer pressure!

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    September 1, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I was a high school teacher and principal for too many years to count. I can tell you your daughters are the exceptions. I know you’re proud of them and you have ever right to be.

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    September 1, 2014 at 8:29 am

    It is a wonderful thing when children are strong enough to go their own way. And this you did give to them

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 1, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Being one’s own self reminds me of that classic quotation William Shakespeare had Horatio say to the young man Hamlet:
    “And this above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man. (from William Shakespeare, HAMLET).

  • Reply
    Jackie Jentzsch
    September 1, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Love your girls !!!!!!
    I finally met your mom a couple of weeks ago. I had pictured an entirely different person LOL. She was so nice and friendly. I thought she would be shy. I really enjoyed our visit. I have a question for the Ask Pap and Granny….I know all the old wives tales about brown and black caterpillars predicting the weather. Yesterday I saw a snow white caterpillar. I have NEVER seen one before. What will he predict????

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I think the girls get that strong independent streak from the Deer Hunter. He has always moved to an internal rhythm that most others don’t hear. He was also a sweet and much liked child like the girls are.
    Tipper we are all born with a certain temperament then our life experiences , at least in part, control how they are manifested. As parents you and the Deer Hunter have always supported their knowing and being themselves. That is a beautiful and rare gift you have given them. I think you are the best parents I’ve ever known!

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