Appalachia Pap

It’s Been Three Years

Jerry Marshall Wilson 1937 - 2016

Three years ago today Pap died.

In one way it seems like he’s been gone twenty years, in another it’s like he was just here yesterday, stewarding our family like he did so well.

Grief is a funny thing.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if he was really real or if he was a man we all dreamed up in our minds. Then I hear his voice inside my head laughing at my silliness and know of course he was real or we wouldn’t be who we are today.

Seems like the anniversary of his death is worse this year than it was the last two. There’s just so many things I wish I could tell him. So many things I wish I could ask him.

I never thought about the girls playing with the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra coinciding with the week Pap died, but it seems fitting somehow.

They had a great time in New England. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share part of their performance with you in the coming weeks.

A lot of you have seen the video below, but I thought I’d share it again for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

The music is provided by Vermont Fiddle Orchestra with David Kaynor conducting. The song is “Spider Web Canyon.”

Chitter wrote the tune about Pap. It came to her the summer after he died while she sat in his chair at Granny’s.

A few weeks back David Kaynor sent us a video that reminded him of the love the girls have for Pap.

Sorrow Is the Price You Pay for Love” is a short documentary about a girl who lives in Norway who adores her grandfather. Surprisingly, there are several similarities between the girl and Chatter and Chitter. There is a strong sense of family and of cultural heritage throughout the video. If you have time to watch it, you’ll be glad you did.

The hospice chaplain who came to the house the day Pap died told us “The price of great love is great grief.” That’s a true statement whether you’re in the mountains of Appalachia or faraway in Norway, but oh what a blessing it is to experience great love.


Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    April 20, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I lose track of how many years it’s been since my Dad passed away – it was December 7, 2012 – because it just seems like yesterday when I could pick up the phone to talk with him, or take the long drive out with Piper to visit. He and Piper were Best Friends from the moment they met, the very day I picked up puppy Piper from the shelter. I swear if Piper could have driven the car, she would have gone to visit Grampy every week.
    I didn’t have the same day-to-day close relationship of you and your Pap, but I miss my Dad and think of him every day.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2019 at 6:43 am

    This is a day that will never be forgotten in your family realm, someone said time heals all wounds, I disagree, not for those you love so much, some days I’m sure are worse than others. Pap’s memories will live on, thru those Grandkids. Rejoice, I know he’s in Heaven waiting for you all to join him someday, where there will be no more separation, and he wouldn’t trade what he has now for what he had here, he just wants to share his new life with all of us. I’m a day late but, God bless you, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    It’s crazy how quickly these three years have passed. I bet all your videos and recordings of Pap are a great comfort to you.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    April 19, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    tipper what a beautiful tribute to pap…im sure hes smiling down when he hears the girls play….loved the old photos…what a wonderful view of his soul shines through these pictures…we will always miss our loved ones…I for sure miss my dad nearly every day…
    sending blessings and prayers to you and yours…..
    love and ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 19, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Tipper–As is often my wont, I’m late to this conversation, but for you and the family, even if most readers of the blog miss it, I need to share one memory of Jerry. It goes back almost a decade to Daddy’s death and funeral service, Jerry and Paul blessed our family immeasurably by picking and singing at the funeral service, and their presence, along with that of you and the twins, made things ever so much easier for me. I know it made it easier for me to get through my eulogy, and I strongly suspect the same was true for brother Don.

    But beyond that, there was Pap’s impromptu, unexpected, and totally wonderful remarks about life, death, faith, and the hereafter. Looking back, it was almost as if he was ruminating on his own passing. Perhaps you had to be there to appreciate the man to the fullest. I greatly enjoyed every moment of the times I was around Jerry (sorry, I can’t call him Pap, since were were quite close to the same age), and I’d like to think he shared similar thoughts. I know the telling tales, the sharing of stories, the chuckles at things like “attack spiders” and other doin’s of the twins, gave him, Don, Matt, and me real joy.

    You are blessed to have an abundance of marvelous memories, and we are all blessed by the fact you share them.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Oh, my! Katie’s song along with the video was so moving to listen to and watch! I know you miss him terribly, and it is plain to see in the video what a huge part he was of each of your lives. His music and legacy lives on, thanks to you and Paul and the girls. May God bless and comfort all of you always.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    April 19, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    hi tipper your right my parents died back in 1982 for mum 1984 dad it only seems like yesterday you just constantly miss them so much and think about them they will always be with us and we will be together again one day their love is always around us

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    What a beautiful tune, and such precious precious memories….. here in our family we can truly relate at times, on days, through years, to just how you have described , just wish to say , care …..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 19, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning! Psalms 30:5 KJV

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 19, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    April the 24th would have been Daddy’s 100th birthday. Sadly he only made it to May 4th 1974. That’s been almost 45 years ago and I miss him now as much as the day he died. Daddy didn’t talk much but what he said was profound. I’ve tried to emulate my father in my life but have fallen far short of his profundity.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Daddy died April 18,1996 at 68 years old.His heart quit. I am almost as old as he was. I miss him every day. I wish I could sit in the swing with him again.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 19, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Losing my daddy was the biggest shock and sorrow of my life. Most girls (if they are very lucky) have a closeness to their fathers. My daddy was only 62 years young and had just been given a clean bill-of-health. Just proves that we never know. It’s been nearly 29 years since he went to be with Jesus and my heart still aches. It’s my heart’s way of telling him I’ll always love him and thank him for all he taught me, but wish I could tell him so in person.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Pap was special, for sure. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of you today and every day.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    April 19, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Oh, Tipper, the video is so beautiful — what a man! I can’t even imagine how very much you and your family must miss him, but if it is any consolation, it makes me feel deeply proud and happy just to know that your wonderful father lived. How blessed you are to be his daughter.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 19, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I miss my mom and dad too. Pap was a lot like my daddy, I loved them both, more than I have words. Dad died in ’82 and Mama in ’86 and sometimes it”s like yesterday. All my brothers are in the arms of Jesus too, but I’ll see them again.

    Pap and Paul always made me feel good when I was at one of their concerts. Pap would blair his eyes when he’d spot me in the audience. And Steve always made me feel welcome when he opened up the Service at Martin’s Creek. It felt like “old times.” I could see the pride in Pap’s Family. …Ken

  • Reply
    Marshall Reagan
    April 19, 2019 at 11:17 am

    June will be 41 years since I lost my dad . I was 25 when he died from a massive heart attack.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

    I think that my favorite photo in that set is of the Deer Hunter looking at Pap at around 2:30. A man who minds his own business and works with his own hands admiring another who went before.

    The Wilson and Pressley families have been greatly blessed. Thank you for sharing those blessings.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Pap died almost a year to the day after I lost the greatest love of my life, my grandson. Easter get-together will never be the same without him. My grief for him proves the chaplain’s statement is correct.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 19, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting “Pap”It feel as if I knew him through your Blog. I think all regular readers of The Bling Pig join all of you in grieving your loss.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Such a beautiful piece! It will be 3 years in October since Mama passed away. Sometimes I forget, because I will see an obituary of a mutul friend or a bit of news, and then say, “I need to call Mama.” Then I have to stop and think, she already knows. I still have her name and phone number in my cell phone contacts. Yesterday on the way to the cemetery, I rode by the house I grew up in and she lived in ever since she was married. The yard looks nice, and I think the new owner is upgrading the inside. I saw an interior door on the front porch and what looks like the bathroom sink sitting in the carport. All the plumbing fixtures were original to the house, and the house is in good shape. It was in move-in condition when I sold it, so the new owner would have time to figure out what he might want to do.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    April 19, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Sorry for your loss….I know you miss him. He impressed me very much.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 19, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Ah yes, but isn’t it food for thought that we love without first thinking about its price to come. As children we don’t get to choose. As parents our children don’t get to choose. As spouses, one will most go likely go first. I have thought about asjking for my choice but I am not wise enough. I leave it with the Lord. I never thought that way before the kids were born. But now I dread for them that they will have to let us go. There is no resolution in this world. To feel no grief is wrong but so is being crippled by it.

    Grief is not, at least, all negative. ECC7:03 “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” I don’t really understand that altogether but I accept it as true.

    Somewhere along the way I realized what undoubtedly millions also have learned; we don’t “get over” grief. Nor should we. Thankfully, we know One who is going to remove all causes for it.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 8:04 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Tipper.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 19, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Three years, it seems like yesterday! I miss Pap too, he was such a sweet fine man. The whole time thing eludes me too, Tip. When I think of Pap, I don’t think of yesterday or tomorrow it’s more like now and forever.
    I think if you tell him the things you want to tell him, he will hear, and if you ask him you will get an answer!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Hi Tipper,Thank you for sharing the music, memorys, and pictures!!! And God Bless you and yours this this Blessed Easter season as we remember what our Lord done for us!!! God Bless. Belva-Jean

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 19, 2019 at 7:12 am

    How beautiful. It is nice to sit back and reflect on those who have gone. What wonderful memories we have. The one thing no one can ever take away from us is our memories. In this fast pace world how nice it is to just sit and remember.
    Thanks for making us realize how fortunate we are to live here in the mountains.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 6:50 am

    A little over 2 yrs since my sweet Mom joined Heaven’s ranks, and your words capture the feelings perfectly. Seems like a million years ago she was with me, and then the next moment it feels as if I just hung up the phone with her. Grief is the price we pay for love, where there is deep grief, there was deep love. Just keep remembering we will see them again one day❤️ Love your site!

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