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.