When a loved one dies

Papaw Jerry & Jessica back in time

During the month of April, I took a break from some things and focused on family.  In between my full time job and doing my music stuff, I sat in the hospital room and then nursing home room as my grandpa was sick.  The sound of the machines beeping, nurses and doctors shuffling in and out to check this and that became a new routine.  Relatives would come to visit and spend time sharing stories of our youth growing up in southeast Kentucky, with some moving on to Ohio and Tennessee.  Then on the morning of April 26th, time stood still as my grandpa passed away.

In the coming days, we sat together as a family at the funeral home making arrangements, going to the flower shop to pick out the perfect arrangement, shop for the outfit to wear, and preparing for the visitors.  My grandma asked me to speak at his funeral and for several days, I wrote, rewrote, and wrote some more trying to figure out the perfect words to say.  Needless to say it was the hardest and easiest thing I have ever written in my life.  It was an honor to be asked to tell others about my grandpa.

During all of the hustle and bustle, east Kentucky native, Angaleena Presley‘s new album “Wrangled” was released.  I have been meaning to write a full on review of the masterpiece of an album.  It has been hard to find the time to dedicate my full attention to it.  However, there was one song that has stuck in my head throughout April and now May.  “Cheer Up Little Darling” was written by Angaleena Presley and Guy Clark.  It would be his last song he wrote before passing away.  Musician Shawn Camp plays Guy Clark’s No. 10 guitar, which was used to write the song, and Clark’s mandola.  I personally want to thank them for this song that kept me rolling these last few weeks.  If you would like to listen to it, be sure to download it from I-tunes here.

“Cheer Up Little Darling” by Angaleena Presley & Guy Clark
Yeah, it’s gonna be real pretty, man
Cheer up little darlin’, don’t be so sad
There’s a time and place for the blues that you’ve had
Just hold what you’ve got, babe, and never give in
Seems like a tight spot, but it’s just a loose end
Cheer up little darlin’, don’t be so sad
There’s a time and place for the blues you have had
Hold what you’ve got, babe, never give in
It feels like a tight spot, but it’s just a loose end
You can’t fix the world, girl, it’s so badly bent
But you can help it along if you save your own skin
The first thing you do, honey, is make you a list
Of the things that you’ve done and the things that you’ve missed
Do the best that you can, doll, there’s no one to blame
It’s just the turn that it took in this crazy old game
Hold what you’ve got, babe, never give in
It feels like a tight spot, but it’s just a loose end

I will miss walking up to Mammy and Papaw’s house and seeing him sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch. I will miss him saying “how are you doing?” as he sat there smoking a cigarette, drinking his coffee. I will miss his creamed style corn made in the cast iron skillet, complete with chocolate gravy and biscuits. Don’t tell Mammy, but Papaw is the only one that could make the best gravy!  And most of all, I will miss hearing those words, “Now don’t you run off – what’s your hurry?” and “I love you” as I had to leave to head home.

In the Bible, we learned that the Lord created the universe and all its beauty in 7 days. I always said that on the 8th day, God made a farmer. On the 9th day, he made a truck driver to haul the farm goods. While he may have parked his truck here on earth, I know that the engine is a roaring as Papaw Jerry drives the streets of Heaven.

Jessica Blankenship

Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians.  Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County's Ten Under 40 Award Recipients.  In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky.  She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more.  Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.

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