Job's God

Job's God is True

Granny and I were both with Pap when he died. He'd had a terrible rough night and had prayed aloud to God more than once for mercy. He also spoke of Job and his wife in the hours before his death. 

It was at one of the first music practices after Pap died that Paul played and sung Job's God for me. I was floored by the song's lyrics which show despair, longing, hope, and faith. I was also moved by the song's title since Pap had spoke of Job just before he died. 

After Pap's death and mention of Job, Paul found the complete lyrics online and learned the song. He said Pap had been trying to remember the words to the song for a good long while and could only sing a small portion of it. Pap thought he remembered Conway Twitty doing the song, but Paul said he later figured out the Conway Twitty song Pap was thinking about was a different one. 

I could not get the song out of my mind. The next time we practiced I made Paul let me record it just so I could listen to it anytime I wanted to...and listen to it I did. The song became my comfort for missing Pap. In those first miserable days and weeks of grieving I'd listen to Job's God on the way to work and remind myself how lucky I was that I could look about me and see God, and how I was even luckier that when I couldn't see him, He was still there watching over me. I told myself with that knowledge I could surely pull myself together and keep putting one foot in front of the other even though all I wanted to do was go sit in some dark holler up the creek and never come out. 

I researched the song for days and couldn't really find anything. I told Paul "If we ever do put Job's God up you'll get the most hits of anyone because there's hardly nobody that does the song." credits the song to S. N. Greene but has no other information about Greene nor the song. I also found the song was listed in the Public Domain which usually means it's an old traditional song that no one knows the original author of. 

Here's what Paul had to say about it when he uploaded the song to the Blind Pig and The Acorn Youtube Channel

This is a song that I heard my Dad try to sing once or twice over the years. He only knew part of the first verse. The first line always struck me and stirred my imagination. After he went on to be with God, I searched online and found the lyrics. I was motivated to learn the song because Dad mentioned Job in one of the last things he said here on earth. I could not verify who wrote the song. It may be very old. Dad may have heard it from the Taylor Brothers (Marvin and Minnis, a gospel brother duet who performed in the Detroit area). Dad owned a couple of their LP's on Heritage Records. Job's God is on the LP entitled "Touch Me." The Taylor Brothers listed no author for that song. When Dad sang the one verse as a solo, he sang it very high, in the key of A. I can come close to the that key if I start low and work my way up, hence all the key changes (from Eflat gradually rising to Aflat). This song has powerful lyrics.


I can feel the hand of Satan as a tempter pressing sore.
He has been before the Father, asking leave to press me more.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him.
I shall then come forth as Gold,
And I know the redeemer liveth.
I can feel Him in my soul.

I can hear the Father granting, saying, "You'll not touch his life.
Though you crush him, he'll not falter. He will rise above the strife."

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him.
I shall then come forth as Gold,
And I know the redeemer liveth.
I can feel Him in my soul.

Though I stumble, I'll not stagger. By His Grace, I'll make it through,
For His Grace is all sufficient, and I know that God is true.

Though I look all about me, and His face I cannot see,
Still I know that through the darkness, He beholdeth even me.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him.
I shall soon come forth as Gold,
And I know my redeemer liveth.
I can feel Him in my soul.

I hope you enjoyed the song. It has been well received when we've performed it over the last several months. When we did the song at the Historic Union County Courthouse in Blairsville GA an elderly gentleman, whom we had never met before, approached Paul after the show to ask if he'd be willing to come to south Georgia and do the song at his funeral. Paul told him yes he'd try his best to do just that.


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Fire Sayings

Old sayings about fire 

My post earlier this week about smoke following beauty reminded me of a few other old sayings about fire-things like:

  • If you play in the fire you'll pee the bed tonight. (Years ago Pap was burning off a small garden area. One of the littlest cousins kept playing in the fire-Pap told him "If you don't quit playing in that fire you'll wet the bed tonight." Never missing a beat the little boy said "I'll be swimming tonight!" We all got a big laugh out of that.)
  • Fight fire with fire. (I've heard this one my whole life-and I might have even said it once or twice-just maybe.)
  • I've got too many irons in the fire. (I've said this one in the last few weeks.)
  • Don't add fuel to the fire.
  • Don't burn your bridges.
  • Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
  • Where there's smoke there's fire.
  • Money burns a hole right through his pocket: (Yep that's The Deer Hunter.)
  • If you play with fire you're going to get burnt: (I think this one is perfect common sense.)
  • Burning your candle at both ends.
  • Burning the midnight oil.
  • That burns me up! (Makes me mad-well mad as fire!)
  • I'm all fired up. (If you say this one you could be mad or just really excited about something.)
  • I'll slap the fire right out of you.
  • Liar liar pants on fire.
  • Light a fire under someone. (This one is usually said like "She lit a fire under him and he finally got the work done.")

If you think of any other fire/burn sayings-hope you'll leave me a comment.


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Broom Sage

Broom sage in appalachia

Broom sage (Broomsedge) has made a comeback in my area of Appalachia. Pap said when he was a boy he thought a field of waving broom sage was one of the prettiest sights he'd ever seen.

As change and development came to the mountains here, many of those broom sage fields from Pap's youth were destroyed. But in recent years broom sage has been making an appearance again.

Several fields of the swaying brown grass can be seen between my house and the folk school. I can even see a few clumps shining through the trees across the creek on the ridge where they pushed a logging road in several years ago. 

Broom sage grows in abandoned areas and unused pastures and fields. I have no idea if it is a nuisance to farmers and ranchers...but I totally agree with Pap a field full of swaying broom sage is a beautiful sight indeed. 

Here's some comments from when I mentioned broom sage a few years back here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn:

Shirla: Broom sage grows everywhere around here. I don't recall ever hearing anyone say if it was good for anything. It is a pretty sight, but I'm anxious to see some wildflowers or anything with color that might have survived underneath all the snow.

Ron Banks: I see some here and there but not an abundance of it. Mother told me they made brooms from it for sweeping and they even had one for sweeping the yard. Up in the hills they didn't have pretty green lawns to mow. They had chickens running around and they had to sweep the yard to clear the droppings.

Ken Roper: Tipper, Walking thru a big field of Broomsage is a sight to behold, especially when the wind blows. It will remind you of the Meritta Bread commercial that use to bring on The Lone Ranger. Some of my fondest memories of youth was rabbit hunting in Emmet's Meadow. When our fiests jumped one, a deadly giveaway was watching for the parting of the broomsage just ahead of the dogs. Broomsage fields provided us a great place to play Cowpasture Football too. Didn't hurt as bad when you got tackled on it either. We'd have to hurry to catch up on our chores for this...Ken

Ed Ammons: We used to make kites out of broomsage, newspaper and tied together string from the tops of feed sacks. Yeah, plenty of broomsage in my upper yard. Its the only thing sticking up through the snow. It just stands there and waves at stray leaves that skate by.

TimMc: We use to play in it as boys, it grew thick in pastures where I was raised, but I remember one time we were dove hunting and I walked across a field of young "sage-grass"it was still green, just about knee to waist high, and I got the worse case of chiggers I ever had in my life, they must have been having a family reunion and they all congregated on me, you couldn't put you finger on one spot of my body I didn't have a chigger, the next 2 weeks was pure ****, well, it was bad..

Jim Casada: Tipper--Broom sedge is indeed an inhabitant of worn-out land, and it especially thrives on highly acidic soils. Also, along with dewberries, it is one of the first plants to appear on pieces of ground which have been scraped bare or have eroded. I don't know that it is good for much of anything, other than slowing erosion and being a favored bedding place for cottontails on sunny winter days, but hillsides covered with it gave me many a fine day of fun as a boy. In late fall and winter dry broom sedge is slick as a mole's rear end, and it will give you about as good a ride as a snow-laden slope. Our sleds were big pieces of cardboard. You couldn't do much in the way of guiding them, but my would they fly. I wonder if any of your other readers did similar "sedge sledding?" 


Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 96

Blind Pig and The Acorn monthly Appalachian Vocabulary Test

It's time for this month's Appalachian Vocabulary Test. 

I'm sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words. To start the videos, click on them and then to stop them click on them again. 

Take it and see how you do! 


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


1. Hell: a dense tangle of briers, laurel, etc. "I've always heard about laurel hells that hunters ventured into that were so thick that they didn't come out the other side for a good 2 weeks."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


2. Het up: upset. "The Deer Hunter is always telling me not to get all het up about this or that."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


3. High minded: haughty; arrogant. "He came in here all high minded like he knew more about my job than I did and tried to tell me what I ought to do different. Truth is he don't know his hind end from a hole in the ground!"


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


4. Hold to: to adhere; to accept; to conform to. "She said her grandpa was always one to hold to old Christmas and didn't go in much for the way we celebrate Christmas today."

5. Hope: wish. "I hope you well on your trip!" or "I hope you good luck with your job hunting."

All of this month's words and usages are common in my area of Appalachia except using hope for wish. Even though the hope usage in the example sentences isn't one I've heard, I like it! When you think about it hoping for someone or something is the same as wishing for them/it don't you think?

Please leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test. 


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Smoke Follows Beauty

Smoke follows beauty

Earlier this week we took advantage of one of the ridiculously warm days to do some outside work. We tackled the chore of burning a pile of wood that had literally been waiting on us at least a good 7 or 8 years if not longer...well the stuff on the bottom had been waiting that long anyway.

We're planning on re-doing the raised beds this year and we got all of them pulled up so now we have to re-do them or there'll be no where to plant the veggies in the backyard come spring and summer.

We also managed to clean off the garden debris that we had left standing since last summer in the smaller garden in front of the house and The Deer Hunter worked on the driveway ditches. 

I've always heard smoke follows beauty and it was indeed a beautiful day full of rewarding work. 


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By your handwrite

handwrite noun Handwriting, style of penmanship.
1973 GSMNP-83:26. They was sixty words wrote, and they was two handwrites. 1995 Montgomery Coll. He had a good handwrite [= cursive writing] (Cardwell).
[OED handwrite n Scot, Irel and U.S. 1483-; cf SND hand of write (at hand 8 (18)); CUD; DARE chiefly South, South Midland]

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


The girls are continuing to work on their first real cd. Recently they've gave the old ballad My Dearest Dear, sometimes called The Blackest Crow, a try. What a song! If you've never had the good fortune of hearing it click here to see a video of The Pressley Girls singing it and you can read a story I wrote about the song as well. 

The words of the song are so beautiful...and heart wrenching. I guess that's how most ballads are. 

The last lines of the song:

And when you're on some distant shore think of your absent friend And when the wind blows high and clear a light to me pray send And when the wind blows high and clear pray send your love to me That I might know by your handwrite how time has gone with thee. 

The longing in that part of the song gets me every time.

The word handwrite to describe one's handwriting is no longer used in my area. Actually I've never heard it used in conversation-only in the song.

After listening to the rough cut of the girls' first recording of the song I got to thinking about handwrite. 

I could pick Granny and Pap's handwrite out anywhere. I'm pretty sure I could pick Paul's too and maybe even Steve's. Could I pick out the girls' handwrite? I don't think so. The Deer Hunter's probably. 

It's no secret handwriting has fallen by the wayside for lots of folks. Schools in my area don't even teach cursive writing anymore. If the girls have something written in cursive they typically ask me to translate for them. I think that's sad, but if you give me the option of typing or writing I'll choose typing every time so I certainly can't say I'm doing anything to foster the continued tradition of individual handwrites.


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Cream Pies = Comfort Food

Faye, Granny Gazzie, Granny
Aunt Faye, Granny Gazzie, and Granny

Aunt Faye was Granny's oldest sister. She was the second born child of Gazzie and Charlie Jenkins-and she was their first child to live. Faye married Woodrow Rogers. 

Faye and Woodrow were fixtures at Granny Gazzie's house. They lived nearby, but as Granny Gazzie got older they stayed with her more and more. Pretty much anytime we ever visited Granny Gazzie they were there. 

Granny's father (Granny Gazzie's husband) died when she was pregnant with me, so in my lifetime there was never a grandfather on the Jenkins side of my family. Well I should say there was never a grandfather in the strictest sense of the word, but there was a grandfather-it was Woodrow.

Since he and Aunt Faye stayed with Granny Gazzie I always thought of them as grandparents too. Woodrow was like the Papaw and Aunt Faye was like a slightly younger Granny Gazzie in my mind. 

Aunt Faye always met us at the door with a hug, a smile, a kiss on the cheek, and a “How are you doll?” 

I remember being shocked when she died suddenly.

The week before she died, Granny and I went out to visit-a thing I did less and less once I became a teenager.

I don't remember how, but Granny convinced me to go with her out to Granny Gazzie’s on a weekday. I'm positive I drug my feet and went on about all the important teenage things I needed to do, but like always I enjoyed the trip once I got there. 

As I sat in a chair and listened to them visit, Aunt Faye brought me a poem she’d cut out of the back of a local tv circular that used to come in the mail. She told me she really liked the poem and thought I would too. I still have the poem tucked away.

I’ve heard Pap say on more than one occasion "Faye Rogers was one of the finest women I ever knew." Pap's statement sums up all you need to know about Aunt Faye-other than she was a fantastic cook too.

Many of Granny's hand written recipes say "Faye's" at the top of the card. One of my favorite Aunt Faye recipes to make is her chocolate cream pie.

Cream pies are tasty for sure, but there's something else about them. When I think of cream pies I think of comfort. I remember how excited I'd get when I came home from school and Granny had made cream pies. She almost always made 2 flavors when she was making them-one chocolate and one butterscotch. 

Aunt Fayes Chocolate Cream Pie

Aunt Faye's Chocolate Cream Pie

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sifted flour (plain)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks beaten (reserve egg whites for meringue)
  • 1 prebaked pie crust

Mix sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a large pot. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir mixture often to prevent scorching.

Once mixture has thickened, add a spoonful or two of it to the eggs to temper them. Add tempered eggs back to pot and stir until mixture is very thick. Stir in vanilla.

Remove mixture from heat and beat well. Aunt Faye said beating the mixture made the pie filling light and fluffy. Pour mixture into a prebaked 9 inch pie shell.

Use the 2 reserved egg whites to make meringue for the topping and brown it in the oven.

Place pie in refrigerator to chill…if you can resist eating it! As you can see from the photo we can't resist cutting into the pie before it's cooled. This recipe is one that firms up very nicely if you give it time to chill. 

Print Aunt Fayes Chocolate Cream Pie (right click to open link and print recipe)


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Whiskey Before Breakfast

Whiskey Before Breakfast - The Pressley Girls

The girls learned the fiddle tune Whiskey Before Breakfast from Lynn and Liz Shaw in the spring of last year. Well, I should say they were introduced to it by the Shaws. Its one of those tunes that's tricky to play until you get it-then you wonder why it was so hard in the first place.

The girls played it for Paul and he said he'd heard it before, but never really learned it. 

Throughout the summer the girls would bring the tune out at every practice and play around with it. Their hopes were that by the time they met up with Lynn and Liz again they'd be able to join right in on the tune. That isn't exactly what happened. 

It was September before we got to spend time with the Shaws again. There was a fairly large group of musicians jamming and when Whiskey Before Breakfast was mentioned as the next tune the girls got ready. Chitter said "They took off so fast I was left in the dust. I couldn't even pretend to keep up." Chatter agreed they better practice the song some more, so the girls continued to try and learn the song on their own.

Over Christmas we really solidified our version of the song and once we all got it down pat it was so much fun to play!

My nephew Mark aka mandolin man was here for Christmas and he got to play along with us. I was so proud of our accomplishment on Whiskey Before Breakfast that I shared a picture of my notes about the song on the Blind Pig and The Acorn Instagram page

One of my friends commented "Lord preserve us & protect us!" 

I thought "Oh my goodness she's worried about us! We don't drink whiskey before breakfast-heck we don't drink whiskey anytime of the day!"

Turns out there are lyrics to the song that we didn't know about and my friend was referring to them...not to our non-existent drinking problem.

Here's the lyrics:

Words from Mike Cross album "Live and Kickin"'

Early one day the sun wouldn't shine
I was walking down the street not feeling too fine
I saw two old men with a bottle between 'em
And this was the song that I heard them singing

Lord preserve us and protect us,
We've been drinking whiskey'fore breakfast

Well I stopped by the steps where they was sitting
And I couldn't believe how drunk they were getting
I said "old men, have you been drinking long?"
They said 'Just long enough to be singing this song"

Lord preserve us and protect us,
We've been drinking whiskey'fore breakfast

Well they passed me the bottle and I took a little sip
And it felt so good I just couldn't quit
I drank some more and next thing I knew
There were three of us sitting there singing this tune

Lord preserve us and protect us,
We've been drinking whiskey'fore breakfast

One by one everybody in the town
They heard our ruckus and they came around
And pretty soon the streets were ringing
With the sound of the whole town laughing and singing

Lord preserve us and protect us,
We've been drinking whiskey'fore breakfast

Lord preserve us and protect us,
We've been drinking whiskey'fore breakfast


The song is most often played as an instrumental and that's how we'll continue to do it I'm sure. Give our version a listen and see what you think.

I hope you enjoyed the song! To read more about the history of the tune you can go here. From what I gather the tune is much older than the lyrics. 


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Fiddling George Barnes, Last of the Copper Haulers

Today's guest post was written by Ethelene Dyer Jones.

TCC teamsters @ 1912 Polk County News 

Photo provided by Polk County News

Fiddling George Barnes, Last of the Copper Haulers 

By Ethelene Dyer Jones

A considerable amount of romance (meaning legend, mystery, adventure) is tied to the days of early mining and copper exchange in the Copper Basin. This is especially true of the men who were known as the copper haulers along the Old Copper Road. Perhaps none of them were as well known or had as many admirers as George B. Barnes.

We have perhaps heard stories of him, and if we have visited the Ducktown Basin Museum, we have seen displayed there the fine old fiddle that once belonged to this copper hauler, citizen and fiddle-player, George Barnes.

James Barnes (June 13, 1811-August 9, 1859) and his wife, Susan (maiden name unknown – September 23, 1813 – October 14, 1886) had five known children. Daughter Emaline (August, 1836 – July 9, 1885) married first, Enoch Farmer about 1854, and after he was killed in the Civil War, she married, second, John W. Headrick. George B. Barnes (March 20, 1840 – November 5, 1919) married Sarah Gassaway about 1860. They had a daughter, Amanda, who married William Leander Dalton. Nancy was born about 1842, but whether she lived to adulthood is not known. Martha Ann was born about 1844 and married Samuel J. Moore, Jr. in 1869. William C. Barnes, known as Billy, was born January 21, 1872. This younger brother worked with George in the copper mines and as a hauler.

Captain Julius Raht, who had a great influence on the economic growth of the Ducktown Basin area, purchased a fine violin on his travels to Cincinnati or elsewhere and made a gift of the violin to George B. Barnes. Endowed with a natural talent with music, and with the mountain gift of making the strings sing, George was much in demand as an entertainer and a fiddler at various parties throughout the Basin area.

Copper haulers wagon3 polk county news
Photo provided by Polk County News 

The copper haulers would often stop off at what was known as the Halfway House, about mid-way between Ducktown and Cleveland, Tennessee on their journey along the Old Copper Road. Mr. Roy G. Lillard, historian, in his book, Polk County, Tennessee, 1839-1999, gives a list of the men employed as copper haulers. There may have been more, but these were documented: George Barnes, I. A. Gassaway, James Rymer, W. C. Barnes (George’s brother), R. Boyd, W. P. Barker, A. J. Cloud, J. H. Williams, R. M. Cole, James Lingerfelt, John Lowry, William Center and W. A. Center. From time to time others joined in the hauls:  Major J. C. Duff, Taylor Duff, Parker Duff, Pen Jones, Jim Ingram, Asbury Blankenship, Joe Dunn, Joe Hasking, Reuben Carver, Samp Orr, Ephraim Woody, Jim Hughes, Jay Fry, Tom Bates, William Williamson, Quint Gilliland, John Hutchins, Posey Parker, Rev. W. H. Rymer, John Moody, Joe Cain and a Greer boy who lost his life along the route. (See Lillard, page 166).  These surnames read like a roster of present-day citizens still in the Copper Basin.

The load limit, strictly enforced, was no more than 500 pounds of copper per draft animal in the team. If a hauler had two mules, his cargo could weigh at 1,000 pounds. But four, six and eight mule teams were not uncommon, and give an idea of the weight of copper these haulers moved. The road was through rough terrain and of poor quality. It was not unusual for the wagon to sink into a rut, and with the grade difficult anyway, the poor mules would stall.

Some of the copper haulers, not as gentle and humane as George Barnes, would use a black snake whip to coerce the mules to move. Mr. Barnes was noted for getting out his violin to play music to soothe the mules. Legend holds that his method for getting the stalled team to pull the load out of the ditch and to get back onto the road worked every time.

At the Halfway House, guests never seemed too tired to hear George Barnes play his fiddle.  A little hoe-down never hurt anyone, and especially the copper haulers. Their spirits were lifted and the music made their stop-over more enjoyable. Captain Julius Raht himself purchased the Halfway House after the Civil War in 1866. He made it into a fashionable place to stop for overnight stays, to eat and to be entertained. Who knows but that it was during his period of ownership of this boarding house along the Copper Road that he gave the violin to Fiddler George Barnes.

The Greer boy who assisted the copper haulers, probably as a groomsman for the mules or a general helper, met his death while he was working as a hauler’s helper. He requested that he be buried along the road so he could see and hear the haulers as they passed by. Is it any wonder that legends evolved about this lad whose likeness could sometimes be seen at twilight, keeping his vigil along the mile-long stretch where his grave overlooked the Copper Road?

During or immediately after the Civil War, George B. Barnes met misfortune at the hands of the notorious John Gatewood, leader of the infamous gang of bushwhackers. Gatewood shot at Uncle George Barnes, hitting him in the eye area and permanently damaging his sight.  But Mr. Barnes was not killed by the blast. In fact, he was able to live for several more years, dying in 1919.

I recently had a delightful call from Mr. Pat Terry, former citizen of the Copper Basin and now a resident of Atlanta. He commented about Captain Julius Raht, and we went from that to talking about Fiddler George Barnes, his wife’s uncle. He knew the violin came as a gift from Captain Raht. Mr. Terry told me that the violin was damaged, its neck broken badly. Mr. Barnes got cherry wood and carved a new neck to attach to the old violin. The workmanship was so perfect and the mend so flawless that the violin looked as though it had never been damaged.

Fiddling George Barnes had the distinction of taking the last load of copper from Ducktown to Cleveland just prior to the change from mule-drawn freight to railroad shipping.

I wonder, during the cold December hauls, did Fiddling George Barnes play Christmas carols to soothe his mules stranded in the ruts of the Old Copper Road? Were the evenings near Christmas at Halfway House filled with strains of “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”?  I like to think so. I can almost hear him now, making that violin talk.


I hope you enjoyed Ethelene's post as much as I did. A fiddle player that could sooth the mules-pretty neat uh? Wonder if Chitter's playing could calm them?

Fun fact- Copper Hill is the small town which surrounds the copper mine and that's where I was born.


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