Appalachia Music Pap

Precious Memories

Precious Memories Song

Grief is a funny thing. Some days I feel so distant from Pap that I wonder if he was really real. Other days I find myself thinking he’s just gone a big trip-you know like a world tour vacation…even though as far as I know Pap never went on any vacation. The only trips we ever took when I was a kid was to go see family who didn’t live here.

Then there are the days when I cry all the way to work, trying to hurriedly dry my tears in the parking lot and pretend I wasn’t crying when I walk inside the building. Then I spend my day smiling when I’m supposed to and pretending to listen to people talk when I’m actually miles away remembering Pap or thinking on all the things I wish I could tell him.

Yesterday Chatter needed a recent picture of herself and was looking through the photos on my computer. She wasn’t having much luck finding one so I went to show her the photo folder on my desktop. As she scrolled down I saw all the photos of Pap in the collage above, sat down in the floor, and erupted into tears. In only a few seconds I got ahold of myself and looked back up to the screen to see if she found something. By then she was crying too. I smiled through my tears and said “We’re a pretty pitiful bunch ain’t we?” Chatter laughed through her tears and agreed.

For well over a year before Pap died we’d been fooling around with the song Precious Memories. We tried all sorts of arrangements and I liked every one of them. What a song!

From the first time we did it I think we all knew it needed to be Pap’s song-it needed to be about him. I honestly don’t know if we felt that way because we knew his days were passing swiftly by or if we heard the full meaning of the words every time he sung them because he clearly believed them. Maybe it was a combination of both.

Pap especially liked the song. I’m positive he liked it for the same reason most people do: the words literally bring precious memories to mind and evoke a longing for those who have long since gone on.



I am beyond grateful that I can sing the words of Precious Memories and mean every last one of them, I’m thankful Pap could do the same exact thing.

A few tangible precious memories I’m thankful for:

  • The pictures of Pap and the memories that go with them. Like: Pap picking his guitar in the living-room and showing the girls how to play something, Pap being patriotic at a 9-11 Ceremony, Pap laughing at Chitter and her new hipster shoes, Pap in the garden-working and teaching the rest of us the way.
  • We were so picky about what videos we put on youtube. We never used the video above because we thought we could do it better, but now I think it’s pretty good if I do say so myself. No telling what songs we’ve rejected over the years since I started the Blind Pig and The Acorn in 2008. And no telling what little back and forth the camera caught-like it did in the video above. We have a whole boot box full of dvds of music we’ve taped-that box =s lots of precious memories.
  • There are old tapes and reel to reels of Pap’s music too. The other day Paul found one of Pap and Granny trying to sing in the back bedroom away from all the racket of us kids. A little bitty Tipper kept running in to tell them the wind was blowing and she was worried.
  • There’s a set of videos of Pap teaching a series at church back in the 90s.
  • There’s recordings of Pap telling stories over the last year. One I recorded a few days before he died.

Pap and Paul’s recent cd Shepherd of My Soul is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you’re interested. You can also find the cd on Itunes and you can listen to it on Spotify.



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  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    September 8, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Tipper, I thank you again for sharing the golden music by your Pap, Paul and the Pressley girls. The old songs like “Precious Memories” are also a large part of my fabric, and hearing your family sing them puts a hefty tug on my heart strings. Don’t throw any of the early stuff away, because each time you listen to it, you’ll hear or see something that hadn’t quite registered before. It’s no wonder that your heart overflowed with emotion when listening to them. Some of my best memories are hearing my Mother start to hum a tune and then run for a harmonica, dulcimer or autoharp to play it. I have some of it recorded, but most of it lives among fond memories in my noggin.

  • Reply
    Ron Priest
    September 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Funny thing about dialects. I was born in New York City and raised near Philadelphia, PA my wife was born in Waycross GA and didn’t leave there till high School. She has excellent written communication skills, much better than mine. She speaks a different language than she writes. It is like she is bilingual. She will say, to me, I am goin to get ‘me ‘some food. That usually means she is going to eat but not me; however, she would never write that way. We live part time in FL and part time in Blairsville GA. When we are in Blairsville I tell people she is my interpreter.

  • Reply
    Lisa I
    August 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Tipper, My dad has been gone 8 years. And at times it seems like only yesterday. I miss him, but know he’s watching. We had Precious Memories played at his service and the song still tugs on my heart when we sing it in church. There are times I talk to him and it helps. My mother is a strong woman – don’t know how she does it. People that have lost a parent/loved one understand. We all handle it differently, but our hearts still feel the loss.
    Don’t be hard on yourself, and do take time for yourself. The memories become sweeter over time and yes more precious. I’m sending you a hug – remember you’re never alone.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Tipper, I enjoyed listening to Precious Memories, as it is one of my favorites, and it brought tears to my eyes. Cry when you need to cry, you will feel better. My daddy has been gone almost 43 years, and I still think of him and little things will remind me of him. My brother and my only sibling has been gone almost six years, and I think of him every day. He did so many things to help us. We are remodeling our upstairs bathroom due to a leak, and my brother did all the plumbing work, and now we are asking where is he when we need him? My husband and I will be watching a TV show, and we’ll both say, “Jimmy would have loved this show!” You will adjust, but it takes time, and take your time. It comforts me to know I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, and my faith has gotten me through. My mama is 94, and in assisted living, and I am cleaning out her house which is my childhood home, and it is hard. She is doing well, but housework, laundry, and everything else has gotten to be too much. I hope your mama is doing ok, and I know it is hard on her. I’ve never met you or your family, but you feel like neighbors to me.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Ed-thank you for the comments!! Pap played with a pick until his fingers couldn’t hold one anymore. Its been several years since he gave up trying to hold onto a pick and just started playing with his fingers. He said he got to where the only way he’d know he’d dropped the pick was when the music stopped : ) So glad you liked the video!!

  • Reply
    David Kaynor
    August 1, 2016 at 11:05 am

    First: Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Clearly, they mean a lot to a lot of people.
    Although I wish it had been way sooner, I am very thankful I got to meet your father. From what I knew beforehand, I was already filled with admiration and respect. I’ll always enjoy remembering those brief hellos after I played along on some of your songs at the community center.
    Your father’s legacies of both the music and the musicians who are now carrying it on are magnificent and emotionally and spiritually uplifting. I’m deeply thankful I’ve been able to enjoy it and even participate a bit.
    Second: Thank you for writing so beautifully.
    Good writing, which can be a *lot* of work, is a statement in and of itself about the importance of what needs to be said. It strengthens communication. The responses to your writing are proof that your communication is not only very strong, but, for many people, very important, as well. Your writing makes a difference.
    No doubt, as long as I’m alive, grief will be part of my life and will sometimes seem unbearable. Friendship helps and so does feeling that I’m learning how to make a difference. Believing that I might actually make a difference helps me feel that loss and grief, both others’ and my own, are worth bearing.
    You make a difference.
    Best wishes,

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Wow, what a great song and performance! I am so glad you have all the dvds and recordings of Pap, certainly precious memories to cherish always

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    July 31, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Tipper honey, you cry anytime you feel like crying. I know how you feel. I loved watching the video. My hubby was watching and listening along with me and he was singing along. It was lovely. Although I have never met you all or Pap, I will cherish the CD that I won and had Pap and Paul sign. I was sitting here not long ago thinking about my Mom (she has been gone about 11 and a half years now) and I started crying. We all grieve in different ways, for people and pets. We were out driving the other day and drove past the funeral home where we took our precious kitty Cricket to be cremated. As soon as I saw it and we passed by I burst out crying (I miss her so, she was my best friend and family. She stayed right by my side when I had both of my surgeries and would not leave, only to eat and go potty then she was right back by my side).

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 31, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Good day to hear this beautiful song of faith sung in family harmony – we lost a young family member this week. Thanks for sharing. Love the pictures, especially the ones of Pap standing in the garden and showing respect. Got a much needed laugh of the shaving picture. What a wonderful legacy he left all of you. Give Granny a hug – she is still in my prayers, as are all your family.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    You are so blessed to live in Wilson Holler. I counted 4 groups including: The Wilson Family, The Pressley Girls, Pap and Ray of The Wilson Brothers, and Blind Pig and the Acorn. I enjoy them all.
    My dad has been gone since ’82 and I think of him every day. Time is your best friend, you should never forget Pap, and that includes Paul and Steve and everybody.
    I’m living proof that it gets better! …Ken

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 31, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I think precious memories are often what keeps us going, because we know as the days pass, we’re producing more precious memories for others to remember us by.
    Treasure them for one day they may be a treasure to someone else.
    Prayers for a safe week ahead for everyone, and a happy one too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Grieving takes a while, as it should, and tears are very cathartic. The memories are a testimony of a life well spent.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 31, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I forgot to mention the finger picking. Pap also had the lead on the guitar. He played without a pick. Did he always? That kind of picking seems to have gone out of style so it was a joy to hear it today. I though I had seen and heard him finger picking before but wasn’t sure. I play like Pap but not nearly as well. I watched Paul start out finger picking too but he changed to a flat pick along the way. He was holding that booger in his hand somewhere. I watched him work it into his fingers sorta like a magician manipulating cards.
    I was going to add this to my playlist on youtube today but I didn’t. Why not? You ask! I couldn’t, it was already there. I have been enjoying it for a week now.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    What a beautiful column. You are so lucky to have all the pictures, videos and CDs to keep those precious memories alive.
    Don’t be afraid to shed those tears in public. When you need to cry, you need to do that. Others need to know you’re not always strong and are still grieving. Real friends will understand. (Speaking from experience.)

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    July 31, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Precious Memories was one of my Mother’s favorite songs. My mother and father passed in 2004 and 2005. I understand your grief completely. I remember I would be smiling talking to someone turn and walk three feet and burst into tears. Many times I have thought how I wish I could talk to my mother but we have those Precious Memories that bring tears but also feel the love in our hearts. And, I also have the faith that I know I will see them again.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 31, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    My father has been gone for 42 years and still the precious memories flood my soul and the tears flood my eyes. I am “softhearted” and “sensitive” and you seem to be same. The tears will always well up when you think of your Dad. If people ask why you are crying, tell them. Most people will understand. Some will cry with you. Some will cry for you. The rest don’t deserve a place in your world.
    Please tell Chatter that if she will try joining in a half measure late and a half step low it is easier to harmonize. When she catches up she will be in harmony. It’s kinda like tuning an instrument. You always start out low and being the string up to the note. Starting out behind gives you a split second to hear the lead voice before you join in. It also seems to add another dimension to the song. I am not being critical, I’m just telling you what works for me.
    I really enjoyed this song as I do most of the time when Pap takes the lead. He always seems to sing harmony. Always making somebody else sound better. That’s the mark of a musician. People who depend on others to provide their harmony usually fall on their face without it. People who can harmonize with just about anybody sound even better taking the lead or singing solo as evidenced in Pap’s performance here. Not taking anything away from Paul and Chatter but if it was just you on the bass and Pap doing the rest, t’would be pert near perfection.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Tipper, I loved this song and loved hearing Pap solo on the verses. It sure brings many precious memories of my own family that have passed on. Thanks so much for sharing this sweet music with us.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 31, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Tipper, I feel that our memories grant a type of immortality to our loved ones even though their physical bodies are no longer with us. Each time we think of them they are with us even though it’s just in our minds. My Grandparents and parents have been gone for years but not a day passes that a precious memory of them doesn’t come to mind. Keep the memories close and they will forever be with you. Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting your Dad I feel I knew him through your Blogs. Thank you very much for this.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I spent this past week going through years of accumulated “stuff” in our home in Knoxville. I toted decades of drawings and documents, amounting to several hundred pounds of paper from scores of industrial plants across the country and beyond to recycle. Engineering reference books were donated to a younger colleague, and text books were sent to a local bookstore’s free bin.
    While some thoughts related to the work itself occurred, far more often it was memories of trips that the family made with me in conjunction with the work came to mind. At some point, I decided to take a break and search Youtube for “Precious Memories” and “Yesterday, When I was Young”.
    Well, I didn’t have to search. As soon as I was on the Youtube site, there was this version of “Precious Memories” by BlindPigAndTheAcorn.
    Within a minute, the tears were flowing. You all have made so much lovely and touching music that it is hard to pick a favorite, but this is right there at the top of the list. Granny is right – that was good.
    I’m really glad you have recordings of Pap talking. As time goes by, I suspect that will be as precious to you as the music. On a personal basis, I treasure the occasions just talking with Pap. The way he had of talking – whether telling a story from his past or commenting on today’s circumstances – was like a drink from deep, cool waters.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Well, I’m not ashamed to say, had to shed a tear for yall, I guess I’m a big softy when it comes to folks I know are troubled.. Still praying God will give strength to carry on.. When I ran across the Blind Pig we were going thru some hard times with our Daughter’s health and with God’s help and your families music, it help pull me thru,, Mr Wilson and his family has a big impact on all us, even to those of us whom never met yall,, personally .. Love the Song..

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 31, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Thanks, Tipper. This brought a flood of memories to me–I can just see Mama in the last little garden my brother planted at her house. I see a dear old friend on her front porch swing and hear her hilarious dry wit. Also my aunts who meant so much to me and my friends who died way too young.
    I will miss them forever but the memories bring such joy along with the tears.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 31, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I’m so thankful for Blind Pig and the Acorn! What you’ve done to preserve Paps memories, images, stories, and songs is nothing short of remarkable! It’s no wonder you feel as if Pap is still here some days- in a very tangible way he still his. What a bessing!!!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 9:44 am

    The ups and downs of grief are difficult to understand. Another part of losing one you love is no longer seeing regularly those friends that are specifically friends of the loved one. My Dad had his own little circle aside from his family. We stayed in touch for awhile, but without interests in common we rarely see them. Mom always told us that God will take care of the grief because he did not design us to grieve forever. And so he does.
    Precious Memories sums up those feelings. We always keep that person tucked safely inside our hearts.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    July 31, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Tipper: I’ll bet just about everyone who reads your wonderful post this morning will have personal ‘precious memories’ about the song. I know so well how my mama would sing the song when she was remembering her dear mother.
    Yesterday we went to the TOMATO FESTIVAL near Rutledge, TN -about 40 miles from Knoxville or Ktown! I signed copies of “Fiddler of the Mountains” w/CD of Uncle Johnny’s music. I even signed one copy for a FIVE YEAR OLD BOY! His Daddy said, “He loves FIDDLE MUSIC and is learning to play!” The child was so pleased, as I signed the book for him! I was AMAZED! If I had only sold that ONE COPY OF “FIDDLER to HIM – it would have still been a wonderful day!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Well, now I’m crying too. You’re right. Grief is a strange thing.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 31, 2016 at 8:50 am

    My parents died in 2007 and 2009. I still have days like that. But, the remembering is something I cherish

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 31, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Tipper–Powerful and poignant, and you are truly blessed as a family to have had to foresight to record so many precious memories.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Oh, Tipper, what a perfect beginning to this Sunday for me. Precious memories, indeed! Your sweet photo of Pap adorned with shaving cream brought back one of my own: my daddy — half shaved — standing patiently and cheerfully in the hall each morning while one of his 3 daughters (or occasionally even Mama) used the bathroom! I think he was grateful to have all his “girls” to share our one bathroom! I love all the other photos, too. And the video is absolutely wonderful. I’ll play it over and over. Precious Memories has always been one of my favorite hymns, and now it has wonderful new meaning added. Thank you so much for helping your readers love your family so much. May the Lord bless each one of you.

  • Reply
    Glenn Browning
    July 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I don’t comment much, but wanted you to know I really appreciate your taking the time to do this blog. I enjoy the stories, tidbits about Appalachian life, and especially the music. Ya’ll have a great family, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    July 31, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Beautiful.Always loved that song.Makes me happy and sad at the same time.Makes me have memories of me playing the guitar and dad playing the fiddle.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    July 31, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I can sure relate Tipper. This Daddy’s girl misses hers every single day. I have found that whenever life throws something at me I sense his presence bringing me courage. What a gift our Daddies gave us – years of being our bedrock and precious memories to embrace us till we see them again. When those tears of love come flooding out know I am praying for you. Thank you for the beautiful song and memories of your Pap.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 31, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Tip, your words and pictures brought tears to me this morning and smiles too. The song is stunningly beautiful. I miss Pap too!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 7:02 am

    My dad’s mother’s favorite song was Precious Memories, she would love this video. that is what they sang at her funeral in 1959. the photos are wonderful and it is good to feel the emotions and let them out…. photos are the pilot light of memories.

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