Pap’s Singing

Photo of Pap courtesy of Ed M.

Since Pap died in April I alway find myself thinking of him when the month rolls around each year. It’s also the time of year I’m wishing I could call him or run down the hill to ask a gardening question that I just thought of.

Chatter and I were talking about him a few days ago. Mostly we were talking about what great grief we experienced and how each of us thought we’d never get over it when he died.

She said she remembered going to the bathroom in between her college classes and just falling apart when she thought of him.

I remember the teeming millions of tears I shed but also the literal numbness I felt for the first few months.

Folks would talk to me and I’d nod my head and act like I was keeping up with what they were saying when actually my mind was down the road in Wilson Holler with Pap working in the garden, riding on his back as he walked up the creek when I was a small girl, listening to him pick and sing on the couch, sitting down with him and Granny to eat a dinner of fried taters, beans, cornbread, and fruit, or sitting near him trying my best to listen and ingest the great wisdom he shared with me.

As time went by Chatter and I both recovered from that oppressive ever present grief. I remember one day I was crying and thinking about how I just couldn’t live without Pap. I suddenly heard his laughing voice in my head—it was almost as if his twinkling eyes were looking at me as he said “Why Tip you’ve already lived without me I’ve been gone over a month so of course you can.” And as always Pap was right.

For the next few weeks I’ll be re-sharing some of my favorite songs from Pap, but the one I’m going to start with isn’t from him it’s from Chatter.

Traditional music has literally been the sound track to my life here in the southern mountains of Appalachia. That’s no secret to anyone who’s a regular reader of the Blind Pig. I’ve often written about songs that make me instantly feel like a shy skinny freckle face girl hiding behind Granny’s dress tail or Pap’s britchee legs.

One of my favorite bands is The Nashville Bluegrass Band. Their harmony was outstanding even though they weren’t family and their music was always top notch. Another thing the band had going for them was the songs they chose to sing. Their recording catalog is unique, interesting, and moving.

They did a flawless job on the old Jim Eanes song “Baby Blue Eyes.”

About 10 years ago Chatter learned the song. Once she started singing it at our Sunday pickin and grinnin sessions Pap told us why he really liked it.

He said it was one of his father, Wade’s, favorite songs and every time he heard Chatter’s clear bright voice sing the familiar lines he could close his eyes and be a barefoot overall wearing boy standing in a mule plowed field on the banks of the Hiwassee River.

Hope you enjoyed the song. Be sure to drop back by next Sunday for a song from Pap.


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  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    A beautiful song beautifully done by Corrie. I’ve become accustomed to hearing Katie sing lead and Corrie harmonizing; so it was a bit of a surprise to hear Corrie doing this solo. It was a very pleasant surprise.

    Mama and Pa and 9 kids made up our household with brothers and sisters-in-law in due course bringing our number to 19 not counting any grandchildren. I am the youngest. Pa was the first to go, nearly 60 years ago, now, when I was but 21. He’s been gone almost as long as he lived. Since his passing in ’64, our number has been reduced to 8. Each passing has been heart-wrenching, but none like that six am call telling me that Pa had died. When the second oldest died the following year, I passed from being a youth to being a responsible adult, more adult than all my older siblings.

    Thank you for sharing your family with us. I look forward to another tune next week.

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    April 3, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Tipper I understand your grief. I know my friends meant well but when my mother died I would be doing OK until someone tried to make me feel better and then the grief would come back. This may sound odd but after my mother died I stopped trying to make people feel better when they lost a loved one; I just try as best as I can to share their grief and let them know I care about them. You have many friends who will share your grief.

    A friend told me this and I have found it to be true (you mentioned it this blog) that one of the worst things about losing a parent or grandparent is that you can’t ask them questions about the past. I can think of so many questions I would like to ask but can’t.

    It must be comforting to have so many videos of Pap and your family singing. I have a recording of my mother’s voice but can only listen to it when I am in the right frame of mind.

    Tipper thank you for sharing songs and videos of Pap and your family. I sure enjoy listening to and watching them.

    Your You Tube friend, Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Tipper, thank you for sharing your heart. My Daddy went on to be with the Lord on June 30, 2020. It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through. They wouldn’t allow us in to see him because of Covid and it tore my heart apart. My Daddy had the most beautiful blue eyes and a smile that would warm any heart. His eyes twinkled when he smiled. This time of year is hard for me because Daddy loved to work in the dirt. I believe he could grow anything. People always said Daddy had a green thumb. My parents anniversary was in March so he was really fond of Jonquils. I can’t see them without thinking of him. Spring is bittersweet for me, but I’m so thankful for my memories. 🙂

  • Reply
    Marlene Breeding
    April 3, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Tipper. I lost my husband April 2 sixteen years ago to cancer. I still hear his voice in my head sometimes. He had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. Love Katie’s version of “Baby Blue Eyes.”

  • Reply
    Rita Speers
    April 3, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    First class singing, Chatter! Tipper, your comments can sometimes bring hot tears of yearning for the past to my eyes, but at the same time my heart is warmed with the wonderful memories I made with those who have crossed over to as the Bible says, that “great cloud of witnesses”. Both of my parents are among them now. Oh, and I remember riding my Daddy’s back too…..Baw!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    April 3, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    its only natural to miss some one particularly at the anniversary my mum died in april1st 40 years ago and always in our minds and hearts always will be

  • Reply
    Jane ODell
    April 3, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    My Daddy died in the Spring, too. On Good Friday to be exact. I still miss him so terribly and can still hear him singing sometimes When we sing a song we sang together. I’m so glad to know that one day we get to sing together again in Heaven…y’all, too. Prayers for y’all…anniversaries are hard. How blessed were we to have such great parents. ❤️

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Tipper, I believe that our beloved dead are always with us. Both my parents and my husband are gone, along with lots of friends. They are not here, but I still think fondly of them. And like you, sometimes hear their voices in my head. I loved Chatter’s song very well done.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 11:32 am

    I understand fully the grief you felt because I felt that same way when my parents passed. I still at times think I wish I could call Mother and ask her a question or talk to Daddy and have him tell me another story about his growing up days learning how to make pottery.
    I don’t remember ever hearing that song but Chatter’s voice was beautiful singing it!!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 3, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Any time one of your blogs mention Jerry (Pap) and Paul, my thoughts inevitably turn to the manner in which their voices brought comfort to my father and to his family at the saddest of times. Br’er Don retrieved a tape of them singing grand gospel songs and with it playing they in effect “sang him home’ in his final earthly moments. A few days later their voices brought similar soothing and some surcease from sorrow when they sang some of Daddy’s favorite songs at his funeral service. Then, as an added and unexpected bonus, Jerry offered some obviously heartfelt words on death, the after life, and how our days are spent.

    I was fortunate enough to get to know the man and enjoy his company on multiple occasions as we laughed, at Tipper’s fine fixin’s, exchanged tales, gloried in the wonders of mountain experiences, and generally reveled in one another’s company. Always though, when you turn to Pap’s passing, my mind goes directly to his meaningful part on my own father’s death and the aftermath. It’s something to hold close to the heart, and rest assured all our family does just that.

  • Reply
    Kenneth P Hartman
    April 3, 2022 at 9:40 am

    I loved the song and story. You will see your Pap again.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 9:19 am

    My beloved Daddy went to Heaven on May 29, 2004 and we buried him the next day, my birthday, May 30th. For months after he died I worried that he was missing us. I knew he was in Heaven, but in my grief I couldn’t let go of the notion that he was lonely for Mama and his family. My Daddy was a great family man. Finally, after months of worrying the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart “there is no time in Heaven and by the time you get here it will have been only seconds to your Daddy’. So I was comforted knowing that even though it might be years before I see my Daddy again, to him it will be no time a’tall. Thank you for sharing your family with us Tipper. Ya’ll are ‘good people’.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Chatter did a great job on one of Pap and Wade’s favorite songs. I also lost someone in April, a month that used to be my favorite has now become the most depressing. I am looking forward to hearing Pap sing next Sunday.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    April 3, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Beautiful song!
    Grief is a hard thing for sure. I miss my Mom everyday and she has been gone 8 years now. I know I will miss her every day for the rest of my life. I still have my Dad and I cherish every minute with him as he is 81.
    I know it is such a blessing to be able to listen to Pap sing on the recordings.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Oh yes. Sweet memories and salty tears. Grief becomes a part of us just as joy filled memories do. It makes us stronger, more compassionate and matures us into someone of hope.

    I’ve lost quite a few family members through the years. Each has its own special flavor of grief. Each has been a season of sweet and salt.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 3, 2022 at 8:16 am

    I CANNOT get over how talented your daughters were even as young girls! It’s amazing really!!! I thought this song was very upbeat and you can move your feet to the beat quite easily. I lost my mommy in 1996 and it hurts as much as it did the day she passed away although it’s 26 years now gone by. I was 12 when my pawpaw (or dad) died and it really affected me in a bad way. I became very sad, mad as could be, and lost all hope in life for many years. My teen years were not good ones as I wandered around lost and alone. In all my life I count my biggest blessings my daughters, an “adopted” son WHOS been around since he was 13 or so wandering around looking for a friend and whom Ive grown to dearly love, of course the husband and my grandparents Robert and a Pearl! When it comes to how to handle these youngsters, I always think of what Mrs. Pearl would say or do. I know she loved without limits, gave until she was empty and pure love guided every move she ever made! She was wise, kind, honest, loving, hard working without thanks, a great gardener, responsible, a great cook, doctor, baby nurse/ doctor, lady, beautiful, flawless skin and the most beautiful woman in this whole world always and forever!!!! My grandpa was just wonderful to me and loved me when my own parents did not… it never leaves me… never!!!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 7:50 am

    I understand how you feel, Tipper. I thought it was hard when my dad passed, but when my mom passed, I thought I would die. I looked fine on the outside and everyone said I was handling things so well, but little did they know how much I was grieving on the inside. When I was alone was when I’d break down and let it out. I, like Chatter, would go in the bathroom at work and just have a melt down. It has gotten better over time, but I don’t think I will ever stop missing them until I see them again.
    Chatter has such a beautiful voice. We don’t hear much of her solos or even with Chitter now days. I know she’s busy with her own business, but maybe give her a nudge to take a short break and sing with her beautiful voice she has been blessed with. We love hearing both your sweet ladies sing!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 3, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Sweet voice from a sweet girl! I miss Pap too and I had/have such admiration for him, such a fine man!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 3, 2022 at 7:20 am

    There are 2 measures of a life that to me mean the most; first the grief of those who miss us and second their enduring memories of us. You could distill that a bit more and simply say it is love. Just your one post today is an enduring monument to Pap. Multiplied by each one whose lives he touched, what a blessed tribute.

    I think about the apostles. I have no doubt they went the rest of their natural lives remembering their days with the Lord. And though he was always there, I very much think the always missed his physical presence. It wasn’t necessary but it sure would have been satisfying.

    I’ve posted before that your posts have caused me to remember so very many of Dad’s country sayings. And remembering them, combined with life experience we never got to share, I think I know him better now than I ever did then.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 3, 2022 at 7:05 am

    My Mother has been gone over 20 years and every now and then I think about picking up the phone to tell her something or ask her something or….There is nothing wrong with that and missing a parent, I think, is just a part of getting older. You are Blessed to have videos of seeing and hearing his voice, I tell most who will listen, get a recording of some kind of their ‘VOICE’. You can ‘hear’ what they say, but never their actual voice. Have a Blessed day and, the ending of Mountain Path is a ‘thinker’ ending…it gives you something to think about in Louisa’s future.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 6:48 am


  • Reply
    Don Byers
    April 3, 2022 at 6:38 am

    He was a good ‘un!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    April 3, 2022 at 6:02 am

    My heart is with you and your family this month. I haven’t experienced the grief of losing either of my parents, yet, but it is something I dread coming. All of my grandparents are now gone, the last one passing away about two years ago. No amount of knowing that you will be reunited with a loved one in Heaven who surrendered their life to God while on earth, takes away that absolute lonely missing them emptiness. When I see pictures of your Grandpa Wade, he reminds me so much of my Dad-da, my Mom’s foster father. Dad-da was a soft spoken, wonderful Christian man, who had a lot of love for us kids, and always a twinkle in his eyes. He had baby blue eyes, just like my Dad does. This song here will now always make me think of these two great men God blessed me with in my life. I will be calling my Dad today, and I will be thinking of this song as we talk. Chatter did a wonderful job on this song. So did Paul playing his guitar. Thank you for sharing it!

    Donna. : )

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