Appalachia Blog

RIP Bradley Bennett November 19, 1942 – January 2, 2014

RIP Bradley Bennett November 19, 1942 - January 2, 2014

Long time Blind Pig reader Bradley Bennett passed away on Thursday of this week. Bradley was a regular commenter here on the Blind Pig. He often shared memories or information from his life experiences-and he often commented directly to other Blind Pig readers-offering encouragement, sympathy, or just friendly camaraderie. When I searched the archives for a list of Bradley’s comments-I discovered 28 full pages of Bradley Bennett’s comments. Bradley greatly contributed to the purpose of this blog.

While each of Bradley’s comments are valuable and worthy-there are 2 that stand out in my memory. The first one-I printed out and hung above my computer after he left it so I could read it over and over. The second showed Bradley’s great love for his wife and his daughter. Since I’m a true Daddy’s girl Bradley’s story of the little red shoes stuck in my mind-and it’ll be there forever.

1. Tipper, Bet you didn’t know that you’ve become my travel agent. True, it is only mind travel but, I guess that’s the best kind. Whenever I start to read your blog, I wonder where I’m going today! That gorgeous picture started my mind trip this morning. You (I’m sure by now) know how I love the high country. I can close my eyes and be there in that quiet, green mountain side in an instant. In 1892 the poet William Butler Yeats wrote a poem about “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”; he was writing about a lake isle but that also applies to the mountains for me. In the first stanza he writes: I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, and a small cabin build there of clay and wattles made; nine bean rows will I have, a hive for the honey bee, and live alone in the bee-loud glade. If you ever see this poem, you’ll love it. He relates how I feel about that picture in the mountains you have given us. Remember that old song by James Taylor, “I’m going to Carolina in my mind” well this morning while everything is still quiet, I’m going! Thanks for the trip Tipper! Bradley

2. Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers out there today. Tipper you have sure told everyone how much your Daddy means to you but, let me tell everyone out there what it is like being Daddy. From the time I was a young boy I had always wanted my own daughter. The guy I used to work with (I guess got tired of hearing about it). Whenever I was saying “Hey look, look, see that little girl: you just wait. Some day I’m gonna have one of my own.” He would say many times, “Well don’t you think it would be better if you waited til’ you were married.” It would always embarrass me when he said that. When I finally married, we didn’t have a child for a while. I remember there was this one little girl (one of our customers) she was so tiny and she always wore red tennis shoes and I loved them. I told Don If I ever had one I was going to get her some little red shoes; He would always say well, get married. Wasn’t the best looking thing you ever saw so it took a while. Finally, one Saturday night I was at the hospital and the nurse came and told me “You have a seven pound four ounce little GIRL.” Don and his wife were that night. He had tears in his eyes (like the rest of us). He said well, Little Feller, are you gonna get her some little red shoes? Life has been beautiful ever since. I told my wife and all that would listen, “From now on my name is DADDY!” I finally had my daughter.. Never could have more kids but, we were just thankful for her. My name will forever be Daddy.

The Girl With The Chinquapin Eyes (Tipper) by Bradley Bennett


The Girl With The Chinquapin Eyes (Tipper) by Bradley Bennett

Life is funny. I started the Blind Pig & the Acorn hoping for increased wealth for my family. I soon realized two things-the first being I wasn’t going to gain wealth in a monetary sense by running the Blind Pig & the Acorn. I make a small amount of money from the blog-but it doesn’t even remotely come close to being considered profit when you put it up against the work hours it takes to publish the Blind Pig.

The second thing I realized with utter clarity is there are different types of wealth. The unforeseen wealth I’ve gained by running the Blind Pig couldn’t be bought with all the gold in Fort Knox. Every time a blind pig reader leaves a comment they leave a jewel for me to hold close in my heart-to ponder on as I go about my day. And those like Bradley, who often leave comments, weave their way into the very fabric of my life and become dear sweet friends. In all honesty I ‘converse’ with some of you more than I do the people I actually ‘see’.

Then there’s the tangible wealth readers have shared with me: seeds, vinegar, onions, squash, black walnuts, a walnut cracker, artwork, ground cherries, books, beloved books, photos of your family, photos of my family, apples, baskets, antiques, craft supplies, foxfire magazines, cookie cutters-pig and acorn, rings, stone ground cornmeal and grits, a hammer, old jars, old bottles, music, information, writings, cast iron pots, soap, honey, woven treasures, cds, hand forged crosses, poems, quilted pigs and acorns, jellies, jams, pickles, recipes, and on and on and on. Blind Pig readers are a generous bunch of folks.

One of my unforeseen treasures is the drawing you see above. Bradley (who never once mentioned being an artist on the Blind Pig) composed the artwork after he seen the photo of me used in the post The Girl With The Chinquapin Eyes in September of 2011.

..and so it was that once in the high country a little girl was borned with chinquapin eyes that would later be known as “The Angel of Brasstown”. My little sister had chinquapin eyes. Tipper, you are the best! Bradley

RIP Bradley Bennett you will be greatly missed by all of us here at the Blind Pig & The Acorn blog.


If you would like to read Bradley’s obituary you may go here-and if you feel so inspired you may leave your condolences in the guestbook for his wife Judy and his daughter Jill.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    January 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

    This was one of your best posts ever, thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    January 7, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Awww, prayers for all of his loved ones, and would the Lord grant it, the quick birthing of another with as kind and gentle a heart as he had because we surely do need more of those folks kind of in this old world nowadays, a lot more of ’em.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Carolyn Knutter
    January 6, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    My sympathy to Bradley’s family. He was born the year before my mother, seems way too young to die. His artwork is amazing – I thought it was a photograph! He was such a beautiful person and your words Tipper are so fitting.
    I feel like I know you and your family from following your blog all these years.I ‘ve watched the girls grow up and love their singing. I was too shy to leave any comments but remember the first blog I read you were building a tent on the porch for Chitter and Chatter out of bed sheets. I knew then I wanted to read more and more. Thanks so much for the time and love it takes to do all of this for us to enjoy. May God continue to bless you and yours.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    January 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    What a beautiful and touching tribute, Tipper. You have built such a wonderful family with The Blind Pig that we all feel your sorrow today.I love a good “daddy” and Bradley must have been a good one. Thanks for sharing with us, your readers. Your open and honest feelings written on your blog have endeared you to everyone who comes this way. Like you, I’ve come to realize that sharing with my readers and reading their comments have enriched my life more than all the money in the world. You are the best!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2014 at 11:11 am

    A wonderful tribute. Everyone should hope to be remembered so fondly. Tipper you have made us a family of kindred spirits. Thank you and bless you.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    January 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Thank you so much for the lovely tribute. This continues to show me that people make a difference and many times they are not aware of the differences they make. Rest in peace Bradley. May God comfort your family.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    January 6, 2014 at 12:21 am

    This little community you have built reaches out, joggles memories and touches our hearts. Today our hearts are a bit broken. I am greatful that Bradley was part of our journey.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Oh, Tipper, what a wonderful tribute to a kind, gentle man. I’ve always enjoyed Bradley’s posts. I’ll miss his wisdom.

  • Reply
    josé Luis
    January 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Tipper, my comment today is sad:
    It’s always sad when someone leaves us to embark on the last voyage, especially when we know a person who shares or as in this case me your writings and write comments.
    Obviously I did not have the honor of meeting Bradley, but a brother who goes to the house of our Lord.
    I take the audacity to consider him a friend, as friends of Blind Pig and the Acorn, are my friends, so I at least consider them.
    From far away Appalachia in the far south of the globe, here in Buenos Aires, a prayer for the repose of Bradley will rise.
    May God rest his glory.
    My deepest condolences to the family of Bradley Bennett, Jose Luis from Argentina.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I am blessed that I know Blind Pig and the Acorn. I am all the better for having known Bradley through his writings here. I could be satified if only one person commented on anything I ever left here if it were Brad’s thoughts. My sorrow is for those who have lost him from their lives.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I will miss Bradley’s thought filled words. My intuition always left me knowing more about him after reading his comments.
    “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.”
    ~ F. Weedn~
    Thanks Tipper for a beautiful memorandum that you wrote for Bradley.
    PS..It has been a sad couple of days as my first cousin died. My only girl cousin that lived in Clyde yesterday, also.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I did not know Mr. Bennett but it seems he made a big impact on the people he met and loved. I pray for comfort for his family. When you are loved by so many people what more could a person ask for in this life? RIP Mr. Bennett.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    January 5, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Such a genuine tribute for you to post for one of your readers.
    I don’t comment regularly, but you deserve many jewels of thanks to ponder on…you and your Blind Pig family.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I remember reading some of his posts, but my sincere sympathies go to the family left behind. However, from a religious aspect I feel he was a good man and is watching over his loved ones from a special place and one day they will be together once again. I love reading your daily posts and look forward to reading this site everyday. Everyday is a gift to me and other readers, things we have never known about or have forgotten about. You are one special person as well as your family!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    what a beautiful, sweet tribute – I remember reading some of his posts. Your sharing today makes one stop, think, and take stock of the many blessings bestowed upon us and give thanks.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I grieve with this family and although
    I never met Bradley in person, we had
    several e-mail conversations. I Loved
    this Man.
    Not too long ago you forwarded one of
    Bradley’s e-mails to me and I’ve still got it. And he sent me an e-mail about his daughter, reminiscing about his little girl. It’s so touching! Someday I’ll get
    to meet him…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Bradley seemed to have a different take on things. Many of his comments were prefaced with something like “not exactly the same subject.” I feel I have lost a kindred soul, but not for long!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    WOW! Had always enjoyed reading Bradley’s comments and looked forward to them. Will certainly miss his comments, but am glad I can go back to read those he left for us again and again. Our thoughts and prayers are with Judy and Jill. Rest in peace Bradley, you will be missed.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Bradley’s passing. But it sounds like he was a man who achieved great “wealth” during his lifetime.
    I also think that Tipper and family have figured out the meaning of wealth. The monetary kind brings some level of happiness but also can be the cause of great unhappiness. The kind of wealth you have found is the kind that has no downside.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Sorry to hear about your follower Bradley. This post is so great and touching. Take care.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I recall Bradley’s posts, and they were always kind. He was such a pleasant part of the Blind Pig group. May God bless and keep his family through the coming months and years. Thanks Tipper for remembering this dear man.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, PhD
    January 5, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Tipper: I learned of Bradley’s death through my conversation with my dear friend, Ethelene. She shared many recollections with me which were such heart-felt memories of Bradley. Now you have give us many more meaningful details to read and read again about Bradley and his devotion to his family!
    Kindest regards,
    Eva Nell Mull Wike

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 10:22 am

    “Family” ties are more than blood. Families of the heart reach the depths of our being.
    As Bradley portrayed your essence with paint, you portrayed his spirit and soul with your (and his) words. A beautiful tribute.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

    The Girl With The Chinquapin Eyes, its inspiration, and its artist are a trinity of beauty in one.
    After having seen a number of Bradley’s comments, I just came to assume that whenever he said something, it would be positive and uplifting.
    That assumption was never invalidated. He was and is a transparently kind and gentle soul.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    January 5, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Nice tribute…thanks for sharing such a heartfelt story.

  • Reply
    Jackie Jentzsch
    January 5, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I have found that you never know who will touch our lives or the impact we have on others. These come to us from unexpected places and mean more to us than any amount of money could bring. Sorry to hear of Bradley’s passing.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 5, 2014 at 8:39 am

    My friend Bradley D. Bennett passed away on Thursday, January 2, 2013. Tipper has written a wonderful tribute to him. I was greatly diminished by his death. I met him only once in person, but that was enough to cement a friendship that has lasted through several years and many in-depth exchanges of ideas and interests. We often wrote each other about our mutually-admired poet, Byron Herbert Reece. Bradley would name a poem, ask me to “explicate” it. How could I add anything of meaning to Reece’s poetry that Bradley Bennett himself did not know and understand? But the exchange gave us many wonderful times of sharing ideas. And I have, thanks to Bradley, his own painting of Reece, treasured now beyond measure. To his beautiful and cherished daughter Jill, and his wonderful wife, Judy, my deepest condolences. Here is a poem by me–for what it’s worth, to try to assuage some of our grief at Bradley’s passing. I will miss his e-mails, his telephone calls, his presence. I am glad I knew him. He enriched my life.
    Death Be Not Proud
    (A Sonnet of Hope)
    by Ethelene Dyer Jones
    “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” -John Donne
    Be not proud, O Death. Laud not the power
    You hold to end this life, to smother breath,
    To bring this earthly span its ending hour,
    To boast that over all hovers dark Death.
    Your call to mankind brings a way of walking
    Through shadows of a valley dark and drear;
    But I know a Friend whose gentle talking
    Lends my journey courage, assuages fear.
    Not unlike birth that brings from Mother’s womb
    The newborn babe to face this life on earth,
    Your summons to endure the fearsome tomb
    Is but brief passage to resurrected birth.
    Grave, where thy victory? Death, where thy sting?*
    Be not proud, Death! I’ll rise to shout and sing!
    (*from I Corinthians 15:55)
    -Ethelene Dyer Jones

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Bradley will be missed, he was a big part of our family. I loved his quick wit and thoughtful comments.
    I loved most that he named you the Angel of Brasstown, for he knew, as I do, that you really are an Angel living among us to bring happiness and fond memories.
    Rest in Peace!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Tipper–This is one of the most moving posts you’ve ever presented. Bradley, although I never had the privilege of meeting him, was precisely the sort of individual I associate with much of what is best about the mountains of the South. Bright, insightful, caring, endowed with a love for the past and the good earth, and talented. That picture is a real treasure–wonderfully well rendered and sho’ nuff capturing the girl with chinquapin eyes.
    As for the meaning of Blind Pig and the Acorn, you probably don’t recall it but the first time we met I mentioned something beside you having chinquapin eyes. In my sometimes too direct manner (something not all that uncommon among mountain folks–they say what they think) I asked you if you were making any money off the blog. Partly that was pure curiosity, but I’m also forever searching for ways to get more return out of my own blog (with its twice a month appearance it doesn’t come close to the depth of yours, but there is a fairly large website connection with it).
    What you’ve clearly come to realize is that “returns” come in forms other than money. While I still write for a living, and it has given me a world of pleasure over the years, increasingly I realize it is more a lifestyle than a livelihood. Cherish what you do for the former and do the best you can to manage the latter. After all, isn’t that what Appalachian folks have always done? They make do with what they’ve got and don’t ask for a lot. Deep in their innermost being they realize, even if they can’t always express it in words, that they are truly blessed with a sense of place, being in that place, and by what that place gives them in terms of peace of mind and closeness to the good earth.
    I reckon I’ve waxed philosophic long enough, just as Bradley’s passing led you to a spate of introspection. Bradley, R. I. P. indeed.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    January 5, 2014 at 7:55 am

    And a fine Daddy I bet he was. Thank you for sharing this, Tipper. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Tipper, what a lovely tribute to a man that sounds like somebody that we all wish we could have known.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 7:09 am

    What a generous spirit he shows! God rest his beautiful soul and give aid and succor to his loved ones grieving their loss.

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    January 5, 2014 at 4:25 am

    Thanks for sharing this Tipper…Today, we are having a remembrance gathering at the library where I work for a co-worker, Pam Viars, who died on December 3, 2013. Your words of encouragement today and sharing the posting about Bradley’s homegoing blessed this old heart of mine. Thanks again for your faithfulness to bring inspiring words and encouragement daily. Have a blessed Sunday. Prayerfully, Nancy

  • Leave a Reply