July 16, 1937


Pap with his father, Wade, and mother, Marie

I bet you’re thinking I’m a day late with my post-but I’m not.

Yesterday-July 16th was Pap’s birthday. We don’t do much present buying for birthdays around here. We might call and sing Happy Birthday-give a card-call with well wishes-or sometimes totally forget it and then feel bad a few days later when we remember it.

On Sunday I realized Monday would be Pap’s birthday. Then yesterday Chatter called me at work to ask if she could make Pap a cake or a pie for his special day-so I came home with it on my mind wondering if she got the cake made with no one there to help her.

This past Saturday, Ed Ammons, who loves genealogy, sent me a scanned copy of my Papaw Wade’s  (Pap’s father) registration card. I was in amazement-looking at Papaw’s handwriting from so long ago-seeing that he was 25 years old. I pictured him in my mind-taking time out of his busy day to go into town on a dusty road to sign up.

I showed the card to everyone in the house. But Saturday was such a busy day; I didn’t get to show it to Pap. Our usual Sunday afternoon pickin’ and grinnin’ session was cancelled and I never got down to Pap’s to show him the registration that day either.

Back to yesterday-when I got home from work, The Deer Hunter was on the tractor telling me our big garden was getting away from us. So after I ate and changed clothes I headed to the garden to weed. I stuck the registration in my pocket thinking I would come back by Pap’s and give it to him.

Wade E Wilson


As I weeded weeds that were shamefully bigger than some of the plants-I thought about Pap and I thought about Papaw. I again pictured Papaw in his dusty farmer’s overalls standing in front of a desk waiting while he wished he was back at home in the field needing to do what needed to be done. I remembered how after Papaw was turned down for service due to an injury he suffered as a child (he fell off the log cabin and broke his leg-which resulted in one leg being shorter than the other) that he went to Newport News VA to work in the ship yards. I remembered Pap telling me him and his Mother caught the train in Murphy and went up there to see him. I thought of those stories Pap told me about that time-and realized the registration card was part of those stories-it was part of their lives.

Once I had fought all the weeds I could for one evening, I went to Pap and Granny’s. There was a house full of well wishers there. I gave Pap the registration card and he asked what it was. I said “Oh it’s not a birthday present, someone from the Blind Pig sent it to me-it’s Papaw’s registration card.”

Pap’s eyes sparkled as he looked at his Daddy’s handwriting from so long ago. His voice took on a powerfulness as he explained to me why Papaw had written Farmers Federation in the blank for telephone. As Pap told the room stories from those by gone days, I realized the registration was a dandy birthday present even though I didn’t intend it to be one. I know for certain, if I live to see it, my 75th birthday would most certainly be made brighter with warm thoughts of Pap from the past.


p.s. In case you’re wondering-Chatter did get it made-she made Pap a Pumpkin Roll.


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  • Reply
    lynn legge
    July 21, 2012 at 2:30 am

    tipper what a lovely thing to do .. and im sure .. as you said.. just the meaning behind the card.. and seeing the familiar handwriting, brought back many beautiful memories.
    im so glad the little baker got to make a special dessert too. 🙂
    many hugs to you all and happy belated bd to pap.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    July 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    That is the best Birthday Present you could have ever gave him, whether it was intentional or not..He’ll treasure it…We never did much for birthdays either..Happy Birthday to your Pap.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    July 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

    A late happy birthday to Pap. Hope he enjoyed his pumpkin roll!

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    July 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I like #7 on the card. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to have a “person who will always know your address” in our lives? A true blessing that I wish for all. Happiest of birthdays to your sweet daddy Tipper!

  • Reply
    Bob & Inez Jones
    July 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    A belated Happy Birthday to Pap,Sir, as he is my elder. I could tell that his day was special from your comments Tipper. I pray he has many more years of good health and beautiful singing and playing, because if you have it in you, you have to get it out. We are so blessed to be able to see and hear him and the rest of the gang.Inez Jones

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    July 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Wow, neat story. You know I find the older I get, what use to seem like simple things, has the most meaning now. May your Dad have many more Birthdays ahead, he’s been a blessing (along with the rest of the family) to a lot of folks here on the Pig… I thing that’s what we all should be…

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Happy Birthday to Pap and what a nice thing for Ed and Tipper to do for him.
    Our values certainly change as we age. I think I can see the look on Pap’s face as he read that little piece of paper. Pap is such a sweet, sincere and true man. There would have been a little smile and a little tear and few words.
    And sweet, sweet Chatter’s Pumpkin Roll, what more could a grandaddy want!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Happy belated birthday to Mr. Wilson. He is truly blessed to have such a wonderful and talented family!

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    July 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Happy birthday Pap! Looks just like his mother.

  • Reply
    Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads
    July 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Happy birthday to Pap. I love the old photo and the story you just told. I can guarantee you that Pap is proud of you.

  • Reply
    José Luis
    July 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Happy Birthday Pap
    Watching your videos, I see you are a carbon copy of the face of your dear mother, that’s good!
    With warm regards and a big hug, I salute you for your birthday.
    You are a young man ahead of me just for 7 years, I’m from 1944.
    It is my hope you meet many more and enjoy your family and your loved ones Appalachians.
    If we were surely nearer invite you to visit our pampas, and would share a good grilled with good meat of Argentina, accompanied with good wine of the Province of Mendoza, there, the geography is very similar to your homeland, mountains and valleys.
    Again, congratulations, from Buenos Aires, Jose Luis.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    July 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Nice 🙂

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    July 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Tipper, tell your Pap happy birthday from me…I turned 75 in April, and except for a new med, it was an unexceptional day.
    I enjoy your Pap’s pickin’ and singin’, and I admire all of you for the pleasure you bring us daily……Your life give us a goal to aim for…..Thanks: Wayne Newton

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Happy Birthday to Pap!
    Loved the post Tipper and know you loved hearing more stories from Pap.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Happy late birthday Pap. You could
    have searched the world over, and
    not have found a more meaningful
    gift. As we get older, sometimes
    the best things in life are our
    memories and we all got ’em…Ken

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Happy birthyday to Pap! That was such a nice gesture by Ed sending you that copy of Grandpa Wade’s registration card.
    When I was born many years ago, the birth announcement came out in the local paper. My people were so poor it was difficult for them to pay attention. No, really, most didn’t get the paper. There was one known person that had a copy fo the paper containing the birth announcement. That was no big deal it wasn’t like it was some famous person like Abraham Lincoln but, my Momma wanted that announcement soooo bad! It turns out that my paternal grandma had it. Momma ask her for it and she said she would give it to her but she would have to wait until she passed on. I remember Momma talking about it for years. Years later when she did pass on the announcement was never seen. Everyone suddenly came down with amnesia.
    One day I thought that if I ever got the time I would go to the county library and see if I could research the archives of the old newspaper that had been gone for years. There was a kind little lady at the library and she said, “Son, if you’ve got the patience, I’ll show you where to look.” Well hey, it was for Momma so I was willing to try. Wouldn’t you know it, I found it and made a copy. I’ll never forget the look on Momma’s face when I told her, “It took a while but I think this is what you wanted Momma.”
    Happy birthday to your Pap Tipper!

  • Reply
    N. Anne
    July 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Hello Pap,surely you had a very blessed birthday with so many folks that love you gathered around to celebrate!
    Tipper…it is clear that your ‘delayed’ delivery of that card filled with precious memories for your Dad came at just the perfect moment for him, because he was able to share his treasured recollections with all his well wishers!!
    *I bet that his bestest gift is having you and your family just up the hill from he and your Mom, and a part of their everyday life..

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I love these little pieces of the past. They can’t take us there, but they can give us a glimpse.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Good job Ed, these connections with our ancestors is what makes genealogy so addicting. Tipper, wish Pap a belated Happy Birthday from another big fan of his great tenor harmony. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 17, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Happy Birthday to Pap -albeit a bit belated!!!! That was a wonderful gift – and I’m sure that cake tasted even better coming from Chatter. Isn’t it amazing that a simple piece of paper can bring such a flood of memories.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Happy Birthday, Pap! You don’t need presents when you’ve got a house full of well wishers that wouldn’t have been there if they didn’t love you. That’s not to mention how much you mean to the girls next door.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

    That was a wonderful birthday gift! Last year for my birthday my sister made me a shadow box with a picture of my dad when he was in the airforce, a letter he had written to his sister and his I.D. bracelet. One the best gifts ever!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

    What a beautiful story! I wish more people were sensible about birthdays. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have relatives and friends who make really big deals of their OWN birthdays! I think it’s in poor taste and terribly self-centered. I prefer to celebrate like you do — with a card or phone call. My favorite line to say is, “I’m glad you were born!” What more could a person want on his birthday? Unless, of course, it’s a pumpkin roll or an old registration card. Very, very sweet!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Tipper, I note with interest that your grandfather was born in Union County, Georgia according to information on the registration card. Do you know which community Benjamin Wilson lived in? We had Wilson families in “upper Choestoe” (which was really south-east–but we said “upper” because it was going toward the mountains, in the area of present-day Richard Russell Scenic Highway. If these were the Wilson’s of your ancestry, maybe they were neighboring farmers to my ancestors–before your Wilsons moved to Cherokee County, NC! But if they lived nearer the NC line, then they might not have been in Choestoe District. I thought you and I have much in common–like our love for preserving the “old ways.” Maybe our ancestors were even neighbors ‘back there.’ Happy birthday to Pap! I love his picking and his fine tenor harmony! I’m listening to “The Sunny Side of Life” now, and fully agree with the philosophy of that song! Even in the “hard times” we can look on the bright side if we choose to do so!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    July 17, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I think your gift was extra-special – a moment from the past. Ed – you must be some kind of excellent researcher. Good for Chatter – pumpkin roll is one of my favorites. Happy belated birthday to Pap!!!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 17, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Tipper–A nice touch, and since Pap is fairly close to my age (I’m a tad younger) I can understand why the link with the past meant so much to him. As we grow older memories from yesteryear seem to become ever more meaningful while material things in the present become less so. A belated happy birthday to Pap.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    kathryn Magendie
    July 17, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Happy Birthday Pap! *BIG BIG OLE SMILE!*

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    July 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Wonderful story Tipper! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Many happy Birthday wishs to Pap! I think the registration card had to be a pleasant surprise. Love those little bits and pieces of a family’s history.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Very nice story. I didn’t know your dad and mine were the same age. My dad’s birthday was July 10th.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    July 17, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to unleash a flood of memories.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Ain’t it funny how things work out! Wonderful story!
    Tell Pap “Happy Birthday” from me!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Sorry, I didn’t leave any of that Zucchini Cake for Pap! Guess, you’ll just have to make him another one… Though, I wouldn’t picture it here online! Yum!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 17, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Happy Birthday Pap! and a lick to grow on!

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