Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Pap

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Music can Continue

My life in appalachia heritage is passed on

Oh the thoughts that have been running through my mind since last Tuesday when Pap died. We’ve all been on a roller-coaster of highs and lows. I’ve cried till Granny told me I was going to ruin my face. Actually we’ve all cried like that so I guess I won’t be the only one with a ruined face.

I dreaded playing music together again. I kept thinking how can we without Pap? To be honest I wasn’t sure I could do it and I sure wasn’t in any hurry to see if I could.

Granny said she wanted us to do our picking before the boys (my nephews, her grandsons) had to head back home. I brushed her off and hoped she’d forget about it. If you’ve ever met Granny you’ll know she doesn’t give up on nothing. She kept insisting we play till I said “Okay okay okay” just to get her to be quiet.

As we gathered together in Pap and Granny’s living room I figured we’d all fall apart one by one. There were a few tears, but there was also lots of laughter and plenty of Pap stories. From the start Ben said he’d take Pap’s place of keeping us on track. And just like Pap used to do he’d nudge us along every time we got to talking instead of playing by telling us “Now we got to do something.”

Ben’s sweet wife Rachel took the panoramic photo above. Granny is on the couch behind Paul and if you look behind Chatter and her guitar you can see my elbow and my bass.

I’m glad Granny made us play. I made it through just fine and the picking gave me assurance that we can continue making music just like Pap would want us to.


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

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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    April 27, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I’m so sorry about Pap. Sending love and prayers. It’s hard, I know, but remember this – the next time he opened his eyes, he looked into the face of Jesus.
    Praise and Thank God!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Tipper I have been through what you are going through . I lost my mother ,dad oldest two brothers next to youngest brother & my youngest sister but we have our memories of them .you will have times when you will think of something you need to ask pap but realize he is not here now ,but it helps to remember things he has taught you . the best thing is you have his music & you know you will meet him someday over in heaven. we will be praying for you & the family.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Well, you know that is what Pap would want you all to continue doing , ( it’s easier said than done) but I’m sure it gives your Mother a sense of comfort and healing by having you all there with her.. May God Bless with strength and comfort..

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    April 25, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Keep music in the air. Jerry would want that. Silence would be tragic.

  • Reply
    Julia Hall
    April 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    What a precious photo. So happy that you have your music, blog and pictures with all your memories of your daddy. Love you bunches and miss you.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I once received a sympathy card which read “immortality is being remembered in the hearts of those who care”. That, my friend, is your Pap but with the added blessing of his music.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, Tipper, Thank you for this post. I feel like you all are family and we truly are all apart of God’s sweet family. When one hurts, we all hurt with you and cry with you and enjoy those rich songs together that comfort us and give us hope to go on. God bless you each day and hour as you do travel on and meet each other someday “just beyond the Eastern Gate.”

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    April 25, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    If you want to see Pap, simply look into the mirror or into the faces of your two beautiful daughters. He lives on through you and through your future grandchildren.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Pap and Granny had a partnership established. When one of the partners is away the other has full charge. Granny will need help and lots of it in order to keep the endeavor alive. Granny realizes she has to replace the stronger of the two, and if she fails, she will have to dissolve the union.
    Granny needs to be the focus of the family. Granny needs to be needed. Granny needs the burdens of a matriarch. Being needed probably sustained Pap for a long time. Now it needs to be on Granny. If you want to keep her, don’t dote on her, make her earn her place in the hierarchy, but do it gently. Seek her advice before you make a decision and act accordingly (if it’s feasible).

  • Reply
    Deanna Juhl
    April 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Granny was wise to insist on some singing and playing. Best thing to get you to relax, do some talking and remembering. Pap was a good man and deserves the family times you had from that.
    You all will be in my prayers as you begin the journey without Pap.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Pap ain’t dead until I can no longer hear him in my mind and in my heart…

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 25, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Pap left an impression on me that I’ve never experienced before. At the funeral, my mind wasn’t working very well and I meant to tell Ben and Rachael they both married well. And I tried to tell myself it was the Pollen, but that wasn’t it at all.
    The next day I called Hoyt Brown to tell him what a good job he did on Pap’s funeral. We talked for about half an hour and he seemed to appreciate it. I thought Mr. Ray Morgan did a very nice gravesite speech too. My prayers are with All the Family and take special care of your Mama…Ken

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

    That Granny is one smart woman. As you move forward there will be so many “first without Pap” in your lives this year. So glad you did the one Pap would have loved the best. I know he was looking on, smiling and saying, “I knew Granny would know just what to do.”

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    April 25, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a life so well and fully lived! Or a better way to start the healing process- Granny is a wise woman.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

    So glad you listened to Granny, she is a wise woman. Pap would want the music to contnue and he is looking down from Heaven and smiling! Thinking of Pap and Granny today on their 52nd anniversary.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    April 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

    So sorry to hear that you have lost your beloved Pap. Keep singing and playing and healing.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    April 25, 2016 at 9:56 am

    “All things shall perish from under the sky Music alone shall live, Music alone shall live Never to die.” You are a beautiful family. It’s joyful to see your love in the picture and to hear it in the music. The pain shall pass but as the song goes, “Music shall live on.” Love to all Chuck

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon Hopkins
    April 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

    So sorry to hear about Pap. Coming from a musical family myself, I can relate to your story about Pap and his music. At the reception following my Dad’s service, our family gathered together in the den and presented one of Dad’s banjos to his musically talented 15 year old great granddaughter. She was thrilled beyond belief and there was not a dry eye in the house. There’s a saying that “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I have no doubt it has done that for our family, and I pray it will sustain you and your family through the days, months, and years ahead.

  • Reply
    Paulette Tonielli
    April 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Grief slowly fades, but the sweet memories always remain.

  • Reply
    Sandy Quandt
    April 25, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Tipper, please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this time of such great loss.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    April 25, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I agree with Pat Shumway wholeheartedly! I believe Granny knew what was best to help all of you on the path to heal. Bless you all.

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    April 25, 2016 at 9:16 am

    My dear friend, and pickin’ enthusiast John Hancock died unexpectedly about two years ago. The night of his death, his wife said she wanted to be surrounded by music. So about 20 or so of us sat around his living room playing his favorite songs. It was therapeutic for everyone, and that’s the kind of wake I want.
    Here is a great song a former pastor of mine and his wife sang at a small chapel about two weeks ago:
    Hope it brings you some comfort!

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    April 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

    That’s exactly what he’d want ya’ll to do. Granny is right… He left it all behind for ya’ll and you know how proud he was to see the Tradition going on while he was here. The few times I’ve been able to see ya’ll in person Pap was right there in front if not on stage. That’s how we get by in this old world till we see them again. We do what we know they’d want and keep the memories alive. Still praying for ya’ll.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    April 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

    This is precious and your Granny knows what she’s talking about.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    April 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Tipper: Your brave acceptance is what will get you through the sad times. I will always remember, when we lost our son Joey, how I ran and ran away – all the way to Australia!
    Just sitting down there under the Mango tree and wondering if I should go back home. I finally gave in to the loss and went back to ‘face the music’ even if it was the hardest thing I’ll ever do
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Good ! There is no getting over or getting past missing those dear to us. Nor should there be. Sometimes there is a feeling that we ought not laugh or be happy again, that we are somehow doing something wrong. We don’t know how much, if anything, those crossed over see or know about us and our doings. But I very much think Pap would have heartly approved of the music circle. And you make it clear that it was one step on the journey that needed to be taken. I think most likely both the making of the music and the music itself were both healing. It sustains my hopes for our troubled country and troubled world that there are such lights in the darkness.
    I had never thought till now that when David wrote of ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ he was not necessarily writing about only his own. We each fall fall under its shadow when those near in heart leave us.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Bless your loving heart…you are honoring your Pap every time you play or share your love for him!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I got a little hitch in my heart when I read about Pap being gone because I feel like I actually know your family! I am truly sorry for all of you and will keep you in my prayers. What a wonderful legacy this man has left his family – rejoice in the memories and the music.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    April 25, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Awful sorry to hear of your loss. I enjoyed all the stories you have shared about Pap, his wit and wisdom and knowledge of gardening and so many other things. May the Lord bless you and keep you all.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    The very best therapy for sorrow is to do what your beloved departed would want you to do! I’ve found that to be true so many times in my life. The first movement toward being back nearly to “normal” is that first painful stab, as you described so well! But once done, the healing begins. I am so thankful that all of you realized and acted upon the wonderful legacy your dear Pap left you: the love of music and the ability to make music, harmonize, sing, rejoice! And not only does a blessing come to all of you–you bless others thereby! Thank you–all of you! We can remember that wonderful tenor voice, that resonating guitar, the personally-composed words and music Pap gave to you and to the world! And all of you can continue the legacy as you resume your “niches” in the “music of the spheres” which resides as a gift in the Wilson family! Praise be to God!

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    April 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Playing together will do much to soothe all your souls. Music heals!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Pap lives on in the music. It’s a great gift he gave you, and I’m sure he would be pleased that you are carrying on with it. It’s a tribute to him.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 8:03 am

    That made me cry and smile, Tipper. It’s a truth that music can ease a soul’s aching. Very glad you are continuing to play. And good on Ben for taking the lead 🙂

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Tipper! Playing together was probably a therapeutic thing. Your family has something very special!

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    April 25, 2016 at 7:56 am

    The Mountain gods are smiling down today. There’s music in the air.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 25, 2016 at 7:46 am

    That is exactly what Pap would want you to do. In fact I expect he was right there listening and proud of each and every one of you for this next step in the evolution of your music.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I’m so glad you played together – the first time could have become harder and harder if you’d put it off. Your Granny is a smart woman. But then, you all knew that already.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 25, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Tipper–Granny showed wisdom and compassion with her prodding. She’s got to hurt most of all yet she realizes that for all of you music will be a key source of healing. In time you will look back on this particular session together as one of singular importance.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    April 25, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I am so sorry about your loss. But I glad you’re all carrying on his legacy. My sympathies to you and your family.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 25, 2016 at 6:53 am

    The thought about you all maybe playing together sometime went through my head the other day. After I remembered on one of your recent posts that the boys didn’t get to play much with the group anymore, due to them living, working or school elsewhere.
    I am so glad you got together, I am sure this is what Pap would have wanted, and your Mother knew it too. That is why I feel she so insisted. I am sure words were spoken between them about you all playing together after he was gone especially since music was such a big part of your families lives.
    So her nudging was her way of keeping things going. I am sure she also needed to hear you all playing together too!
    I hope you managed to tape a song or two for a later post.
    We are still here thinking and praying for your wonderful family. As time passes and hearts begin to mend somewhat along the summer days, memories of little things will comfort you and bring Pap back close again.
    Thanks Tipper for this post.
    PS Thanks for taking the picture Rachel.

  • Reply
    Pat Shumway
    April 25, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Granny knows best! It must have been such a blessing to her hurting heart to have you all together, making a “joyful noise unto the Lord” .

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