Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia Pap

Mother’s Day without Pap

Mothers day without pap

The Deer Hunter, Chatter, Chitter, and I planted the rest of Granny’s garden for her Mother’s Day gift. It might have been the hardest garden I’ve ever planted.

Chitter and her Daddy took turns using Pap’s tiller to turn the soil. The garden had already been tilled earlier this spring, so it was easy going. Hoeing the cabbage and onions Pap and Chitter planted was tough.

Like many from his generation Pap believed in keeping everything he thought might be of use, and he believed in keeping it all handy in case he needed it. Old rags in the trunk of his car, empty plastic containers near every corner of the house, and belts hanging around the yard-you can see the two he hung on Granny’s clothesline in the photo above.

Planting Grannys garden
While we worked Granny set on the porch and watched. Other than Pap’s heart problems he was in good shape and could still get around easily, Granny is much more feeble than he was even though she doesn’t suffer from the serious health problems he did. I’m not even sure I should have planted the garden, but it seemed like what I needed to do. I know she doesn’t need all the vegetables it will produce, but I hope the garden will give her something to think on and plan for.

Granny was pleased as punch once the cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and cornfield beans were planted. She said the only thing was, she wished Pap was here to enjoy it too.

One of Pap’s terms of endearment for Granny was mama san. Way back in 2009 we filmed Deep Elem Blues. Its an old song and practically everyone who sings it uses slightly different words. In our video Paul changes the references to mother and father throughout the song. In the last line he uses mamma san and daddy san as a way of paying tribute to Pap and Granny. I love the small smile he throws Pap’s way when he says mamma san.



On more than one occasion Pap told me that he believed Granny was the best mother he knew. He said “Your Momma loves you kids and worries about you like nobody I ever seen. From the very start her mothering made me overlook any other faults she may have had. I wouldn’t have wanted my children to have had anyone else for a mother.”

Happy Mother’s Day Granny – I wholeheartedly agree with Pap I wouldn’t have chosen any other Mother than you.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    May 9, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Harvesting the garden, and using and putting up its goods might bring a sense of normalcy to Granny and your family in time. And I believe, Pap isn’t really gone, hes just changed, and is with you all still. After all, could you ever imagine him leaving his North Carolina mountains for good?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Guitar Man
    May 9, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Many things are uncertain, but Pap would have wanted that garden planted. That much is certain. After all, he was willing to cut down Peach trees just to get it some light 🙂 . I hope you, Granny, and all mothers everywhere had a Happy Mothers Day.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 9, 2016 at 1:59 am

    happy mothers day tipper…its always bittersweet on mothers day and fathers day when our angel parents are no longer with us..sending love and ladybug hugs….

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 8, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Another thing that is remarkable is to see two 18 year old girls working in the garden with their parents. And one of them is running a tiller. I’ll bet they have dirt under their fingernails too. I hope they wear it as a badge of honor.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 8, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Today’s post brings back memories of my mother tending her garden. She has been gone 41 years but the pictures I have of her in my mind are as clear as yesterday. I can see her bent at the waist planting seed and pulling weeds. I didn’t inherit her ability to bend like that. Where I have to get down on my hands and knees, she could just bend over.
    She kept her garden immaculate. She planted flowers everywhere she didn’t have vegetables. All kinds of flowers. I am not a flower person so I don’t know their names. She rooted cuttings. She used to send me to get stump dirt to plant African Violets she had rooted in a snuff glass. She grew her own sweet potato slips in the kitchen window.
    She gathered vegetable and flower seeds and swapped them with family and friends. I remember her taking cuttings from other people’s plants and taking her own to them. Things that normally don’t root from cuttings would root for her.
    My mother was a remarkable woman but she left us way too soon.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I love the pictures, Tip. There is nothing so special as family.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 8, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    “Happy Mother’s Day” to all!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    How wonderful that you planted the garden for granny. I know she will enjoy puttering about the plants as they grow, flower and produce. I guess she is like the rest of us in the Spring/Summer, a person just has to take that morning walk around the garden. Checking on this and that, making sure the little or big varmints haven’t dug or chewed up something. I love to watch the Bumble Bees crawling around and into the “big yeller squarsh blossoms”! Filling their pollen baskets as they go, I cheer them on hoping some grains fall off and pollinate the next flower! Sometimes if one is not quite open enough, they will take their front feet and tug at the petals until they can crawl inside…
    When we were expecting our first child my husband called me Mama san. I learned several words in Korean as he was stationed their when he was in the Air Force…Guess, Pap picked up the terms when he was in the Marines…
    I know this was very hard for you Tipper. But know that Pap would be proud of you all helping out Granny, I am sure…
    One more thing. Pap was purty smart to hang his tiller belts where he might need one. I really never heard of a mower or tiller belt breaking in the shed…I remember one year you showed a tin dusting can Pap had left hanging in a tree by the garden…I’d say that was the only place he used…He “made his brain save his legs” as my Dad used to say…The doc said to him one time when he asked if he was still working…”Well, I guess it’s better to wear out than to rust out”!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Did a little weeding this afternoon…It’s a hotten’ here today! What a change up!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    May 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    You did a wonderful thing for your Mother! I hope you both have a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Your tribute to Granny is so precious. I loved the singing, especially the ending. Garden planting is a wonderful gesture to both Granny and Pap. Mother’s Day and and an early Father’s Day tribute combined. God bless all the mothers out there reading this. Motherhood is a tough job, but so rewarding.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    When I viewed the title my heart immediately went out to you and your family. It took me way back in time to where my Dad was placed on a ventilator on Father’s Day. My Mother had my complete attention from that day forward, and the journey has been full of hurdles and blessings alike. Although she was feeble and unable to participate in garden work, she had always loved a garden. Mom’s biggest smiles were when I brought in a huge basket of vegetables along with snap beans. For many years she did all the bean snapping, and would spend hours saving seed from the largest tastiest tomatoes. I still occasionally come across an old envelope containing a paper towel coated with carefully labeled tomato seeds. She made cathedral window quilts, collected coins, and worked crossword puzzles. The youngest little mischievious grandchild would run speedily to her welcoming arms when scolded. Miraculously the time and energy I put into the responsibility of caring for my Mother somehow made it easier to adjust to the loss of my Dad. She seemed to look forward to visits to his graveside even though a walker was required. Later I had to take pictures of the flowers to show her.
    Happy Mother’s Day to my 93 year old Mother. Happy Mother’s Day to Granny who has the good fortune to have a dedicated family. She will fare well under your watchful eye, dear Tipper.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    What a great gift to give Granny! Wishing you, Granny, Miss Cindy and all BP readers a very Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for sharing another fine performance by Pap and Paul, GREAT as usual.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    You are so blessed to have videos of Pap to look at. That will help you smile at the memories as time goes on.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 8, 2016 at 11:53 am

    When you all planted Louzine’s garden for her, I think that is the best Mother’s Day Present youn’ze could’ve done. Pap is smiling because of this, and Chitter and Chatter knows their Mom is the best. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Momma’s out there…Ken

  • Reply
    David Kaynor
    May 8, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I wonder if a song or tune … maybe an air or waltz … awaits in someone’s response to this beautiful reflection.

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    May 8, 2016 at 11:35 am

    What a wonderful way to honor your mom than doing something your dad would’ve done for her.
    My dad had lots of stuff too! We waited until mom was ready and asked to start cleaning his things out. I hold on to every one of them. I’ve got memories from dad that will never be erased from my mind. But I’ve got the assurance that daddy doesn’t hurt anymore & is in heaven with our Heavenly Father.
    Have a blessed Mother’s Day!
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    May 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

    that was not just a gift to Granny, but to Pap’s memory as well and I’m sure the love and tears put into will give you a flourishing garden and a bounty of vegetables.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you and your Mother.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 8, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Mama loved the garden and when she got too old to get around very well, I planted her some squash and tomatoes around the house between shrubs, etc. She enjoyed them so much and they actually made some squash & tomatoes for her to pick. I miss her so much.
    Thinking of you every day and praying for you & your family.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 8, 2016 at 9:15 am

    The planting of Pap & Granny’s garden is an excellent way to keep Pap’s memory fresh in each of your minds. When the plants start peeping through the ground it is a sign that life goes on and as hard as it is not having Pap physically there the great memories each of you have of him guarantees he is still with you in your hearts.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

    This was hard for you I know and bittersweet at the same time. You paid great tribute to Pap and Granny.I believe he’s watching and smiling that gentle smile.Y’all be blessed.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

    It was hard, I’m sure, but I’m also pretty sure if you hadn’t you would have had regrets all summer. A dyed-in-the-wool Appalachener not having a garden puts the year out of kilter. Besides, you all weren’t so much planting a garden as affirming a life and a tradition.
    As to saving, I’m one of them to. It disturbs me to casually throw away things I expect can be re-used. Some people call it being cheap but to me it is not about money. It is about gratitude and stewardship and the cultivation of habits and attitudes that will be useful when the hard times come. And it is also about continuing a traditional lifeway.
    Happy Mother’s Day for all the Mommas.

  • Reply
    Susan C
    May 8, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tipper. What a wonderful gift to Granny = a gift from the heart made with tender, loving hands. Blessings on your whole family today.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    May 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I addition to giving Granny something to study on, that garden is also a tribute to Pap. I know that it makes you miss him, but just consider it as another way to carry on his memory.
    I love Paul’s voice and that is some fabulous guitar pickin’ too!

  • Reply
    Greg Whitney
    May 8, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Happy Mothers Day Tipper. Relax and enjoy the kids!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    May 8, 2016 at 8:08 am

    And a Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Tipper. A garden is such a wonderful gift for Granny,
    and planting it is a gift you’ll always remember.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 8, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Tipper–That’s a wonderfully thoughtful Mother’s Day gift, and I suspect it will have some soul-soothing powers not only for the recipient of the gift but for those who did the planting (and giving) as well. There’s something about linkage to the good earth which helps us and heals us even as it slowly and silently affords surcease from sorrow.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you and to all the mothers among your readers.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I can’t think of a more meaningful gift than planting a garden. Happy Mothers Day to Granny, and to you, Tipper – and to all the Blind Pig gang who celebrate it.

  • Leave a Reply