Let me Introduce You to Mommy Goose

Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains by Mike Norris

A few months ago I stumbled upon an article about the book  Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains written by Mike Norris. The piece grabbed my attention because as a child I loved nursery rhymes and as an adult I still love them. If you've been reading the Blind Pig and The Acorn for a good long while you'll probably remember my series on rhymes.

Once I realized Mike's book contained rhymes written in the rich colorful language of Appalachia I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and see if it was too good to be true because I figured it was.

The University Press of Kentucky was gracious enough to send me a copy of the book, and Mike sent a CD of the book as well.

MOMMYgooseANDfriends

The book is wonderfully illustrated with photos of over a hundred hand carved and painted works by Minnie Adkins who has permanent collections in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

The book is filled with 50 original rhymes written by Mike Norris himself.

So was the book too good to be true? Nope it was true! The language Mike uses is so spot on that I embarrassingly told him I thought I had heard a few of the rhymes-which was an impossibility since he wrote them himself. 

It's not just the words he uses throughout the book, its the manner they are used in and the subject matter that they weave themselves around that shouted out to me a real Appalachian penned them. Even the title of the book is perfect. I know many older folks, including a few Blind Pig Readers, that still use the word Mommy to describe their mother. 

Mike said I could share some of the rhymes with you. It was almost impossible to choose which ones because I loved them all and I had something to say about most of them too.

Little Mary written by Mike Norris

Little Mary wouldn't mind,
And said things to sister that were unkind.

(My hair’s prettier than yours.)

She'd stomp her feet and hold her breath,
And scare her mommy half to death.

She grew up and had twin girls,
With big blue eyes and yellow curls.

They were cute at first,
Then acted just like her, but worse.

-----------

I loved this one because when I was a child Granny often cautioned me to be good and not end up like so and so who was a mean little girl. I also liked it because I know it would have been a favorite of Chatter and Chitter's when they were small. They were often mischievous girls and would have liked reading about Little Mary and her mean twin girls. 

-----------

Harlie Creech written by Mike Norris

Harlie Creech was over neat.
He swept the house morning and night.
He ironed his socks and starched his sheets, 
And used a yardstick to get the quilts right.

South down the road lived Mildred Mays,
And in that direction Harlie would gaze.
Her hair was perfect, her shoes shinned slick,
But Harlie hesitated, suspecting a trick.

Who knew what horrors lay in store, 
Rumpled pillows, crumbs on the floor?
At last his love made him risk the ordeal,
And Harlie invited her for a meal.

He scrubbed the house once, then again.
With trembling hand he welcomed her in.
Then Harlie froze and held his breath,
As Mildred Mays passed the test:
She took one look and said,
"This place is a mess."

-----------

Pap would have said Harlie was particular and Mildred was beyond particular. 

-----------

Cow’s in the Barn written by Mike Norris

Cow’s in the barn.
Kitten’s in the yarn.
Daddy’s in Harlan,
Bending his arm.

-----------

Mike pointed out to me that towards the back of the book the rhymes touch on the darker aspects of life in Appalachia. As the rhyme above shows Appalachia is no stranger to societies woes. 

-----------

The Mommy Goose cd contains a song Mike wrote about Mommy Goose. The song along with the music is in the back of the book so anyone interested can learn it themselves. The cd also contains a very nice narration of the book by Mike and a conversation between Mike and Minnie that will leave you smiling for the rest of the day. Me missing Pap is no secret to any of you. Hearing Minnie's sweet voice use so many of the words, sayings, and phrases Pap used was a true balm for my soul.

I asked Mike where the best place to purchase the book and cd was and this is what he said:

"The CDs are only available from me [$10 each] at this email address mike.norris9@gmail.com, or in the Collector's Edition of the books [we have 2 others, Bright Blue Rooster, and Sonny the Monkey] which also have original permanent-inks art by Minnie on page 1--These are $40 each and may be ordered from me or Minnie.

Bookstore versions of the book may be ordered many places online, but Amazon and The University Press of Ky [it's the university press of the whole state, not just UK] are two good sources. Folks can listen to the song for free at this link."

If there is a child in your life or a rhyme loving adult like me I suggest you buy Mike's outstanding book and cd for them. Both items would make dandy birthday or Christmas presents. The cd is more than worth the money for the conversation between Minnie and Mike alone. I hope the talk between them is in an Appalachian Museum somewhere so that it will be preserved as part of our history-it is that good. 

Preserving our language is a cause that is near and dear to my heart and I commend Mike for trying to keep our rich colorful Appalachian Language alive. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Appalachian Vocabulary Test 92

Unique words from appalachia

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

I'm sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words too. 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. Easy: relived of pain. "I was suffering something awful during the night but I'm easy right now."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


2. Everwhat: whatever. "Everwhat he was doing sure was loud. Sounded like somebody was blowing something to kingdom come."

3. Eh law: a mild oath for expressing a range of emotions. "She's down there in the hospital and ain't never going to be able to work again and now the company is closing and he's lost his job. Eh law I don't know what they're gonna do." (You can go here to hear Pap use Eh Law.)

4. Easing powders: an analgesic. "See if you can find any easing powders in that cabinet. I've got a terrible headache."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on


5. Elijah room: a separate room of the house for a stranger to stay in; a room closed off from the rest of the house. "Grandpaw said his mother always kept an Elijah room for people who were traveling by to stay in. That way they didn't have to stay right in the same room with the family."

This may be the first time I almost failed my own test! I've never heard anyone use Elijah room nor easing powders. The rest are beyond common in my area of Appalachia. How did you do on the test?

Tipper

p.s. If you live close enough to attend and haven't entered the JCCFS Fall Festival ticket giveaway-go here to enter! The Giveaway ends TODAY!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the grounds in appalachia

dinner on the ground(s) noun phrase An outdoor meal in connection with a church meeting or revival. In the 1930s churches and families frequently had services followed by, or interspersed with, picnic dinners around a tablecloth spread on the ground. Later picnic tables were usu used and the event was held on decoration day. Same as basket dinner.
1977 Shields Cades Cove 44 The audience traveled from church to church, pausing at noon for "dinner-on-the-grounds." 1978 Peterson/Phillips New Harp of Columbia xxv It is almost as though the morning sing points the way to dinner on the ground. There is nearly audible relief when, as noonday approaches, a break is suggested so the tables can be unfolded and loaded with the covered dishes. Dinner is outdoors in good weather, up the center aisle in bad. It is a time not only for nourishment but for fellowship, for renewing acquaintance with those not seen for as long as a year, or meeting visitors and singers who have come to the sing from places far from Wear's Valley. 1982 De Armond So High 85 There, we met other families for church services, box suppers, pie suppers, all day singing and dinner on the ground. 1996 Parton Mt Memories 172 Church singings, with "dinner on the ground," are a tradition that has survived the test of time. Each family brings dishes of food to the church, and after the worship service, tables are put up outside. Sometimes the tables are nothing more than rough planks on saw horses, covered with tablecloths. The women arrange the food on the table, with meat dishes placed together, the vegetables, desserts, and so on. If you've never attended a Sevier County dinner on the ground, you've missed out on some of the greatest food in the world. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

---------------

The tradition of dinner on the grounds is still going strong in the mountains of western North Carolina. Last Sunday marked the 126th year of dinner on the grounds during the annual Old Folks Day at Morning Star United Methodist Church in Haywood County. 

Tipper

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email 


Put = Lots of Things in Appalachia

Use of the word put in appalachia

In Appalachia we use the word put it in the following ways:

  • as a verb meaning to propose or to start: "I put in for the job down at the store I'll have to wait and see if I get it." or "He put in the boat down below the high bridge and we started fishing down the river from there."
  • as a substitute for the word 'remind': "She put me in mind of Aunt Susie cause she sure was a talker!"
  • as a substitute for the word 'delegate': "Last night at the meeting they put it on me to find someone to fix the roof."
  • as a way of shifting blame: "Now they put that off on me but I swear I didn't do it! I wasn't within 10 miles of here that night and I got the people to prove it too!"
  • in reference to what we've planted in the garden: "I heard on the radio a few people has done put out their lettuce and onions."

I checked my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English to see if I missed any uses of 'put' and I found 2 more:

  • put to-to start or cause to: "He was put to milking the cows as soon as he was big enough." (I've heard this one-but just didn't think of it)
  • put up the bar-mind the gap; meaning to replace the rails of a fence that had been let down for passage through a pasture. (I've never heard this one-and it seems to me it fits in with my first list-but since it sounded interesting I thought I'd mention it too)

I'm sure I didn't find all the uses of put so if you think of one leave a comment and tell me. And as always I'd love to know if the uses I did mentioned are common in your area.

*It's 6:50 a.m. in Brasstown and Gary Ballard has already shared another common use of the word put that I didn't think of! Using the word put with stay. Stay put means don't move:  "Now stay put and I'll be right back with something to clean you up!"

Tipper

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Code Switching = Changing the Way you Talk

Blindpigandtheacorn.com name it to me

On yesterday's post about being stove up, Ron Stephens left the following comment:

"Been there, done that as we say these days. I use 'stove up' to meet a kinda all over stiffness and soreness. Sounds like some folks use it similarly to "stubbed" for fingers and toes. I had never in my mind made any connection between 'stove' and 'stave' but it makes sense. That is, 'staved in' means 'busted up'. I'm with you about not having alternatives that convey the same idea as well. I want to hang on to my Appalachian dialect expressions. The idea that we all have to talk like a Midwestern newscaster is just sad. I'm curious. Do any of you all change how you talk depending on who you are with? If so, do you know when you change or is it unconcious? I'm actually unsure whether I do or not. I think I might. But is it a matter of courtesy or is it 'gettin above our raisin' or is ita mixture of both? (Actually I'm old enough now I don't think about it except as a reflection back across the years.)"

---------------

In today's modern world changing your speech to better fit the people you are talking to is called Code Switching. 

Why would anyone change the way they talk? The most common reason is to be perceived in a better manner by those you're speaking to. 

Do I change the way I talk depending on who I'm talking to? Even though I don't like to admit it...I sometimes do change my speech.

If you've ever heard me talk in person, you know erasing my accent would be pretty much impossible. But I do find myself in situations where I try to use better grammar and word usage. 

Here's a comment LG left yesterday in response to Ron's question:

"To Ron Stephens. Years ago I was in the Cleveland clinic. A nurse mentioned my hill accent and asked where I was from. I put on the dog a little bit and gave her the speech she expected. I guess I was feeling briggidy. Briggidy is a word I commonly use. LG"

Maybe you'd call what LG did reverse code switching? I don't know, but I do know I've done the exact same thing. When I feel like someone is making light of the way I speak or treating me as a lesser person because of where I'm from, I narrow my eyes and lay it on a little thicker for them. 

The girls recently had a college class where code switching was discussed. The class was split down the middle. About half the students said they always spoke in a different manner when they were in a professional setting. The other half of the class said they never changed the way they spoke no matter what people thought of them. Chitter and Chatter said after listening to the debate they could see both sides of the issue.

This is a portion of the comment Tamela left on yesterday's post in response to Ron's question:



"As for changing the way I speak according to the company I'm in, I do that both consciously and unconsciously. Sometimes my more casual speech comes out simply because I'm very relaxed and comfortable and I know the folks I'm with will understand the phrases I use. Other times, I must be more "formal" or "professional" so as not to confuse the "audience" with terms and phrases, even inflections they may not be familiar with or may misinterpret."

I think Tamela explained why I sometimes change the way I speak perfectly: "I must be more "formal" or "professional" so as not to confuse the "audience" with terms and phrases, even inflections they may not be familiar with or may misinterpret."

Code switching - I don't like it even though I'm guilty of doing it on occasion.

A few thoughts I had while writing this post:

  • Appalachian accents are often thought to indicate a lack of intelligence-which is totally a false assumption
  • What does it mean that I sometimes try to alter my speech to fit in or be accepted by the very people who belive that falsehood
  • Maybe code switching is just one more necessary trapping of modern day life
  • Maybe saving your true speech for those you care about the most makes it even more special
  • What if code switching eradicates even more of our rich colorful Appalachian language

When the girls were in middle school they had a school trip to visit the outer banks of NC. I tagged along and greatly enjoyed the trip. We rode a ferry across to see the wild horses. The girls and I were sitting together near where one of the boat attendants was working. We kept catching pieces of his speech as he talked to other people. The girls and I looked at each other-we were all thinking the same thing. We thought he was trying to mock our accents. He noticed us staring at him and started asking us questions about where we were from. I quickly realized he was too nice to be making fun of us so I told him what we thought. He said "Well that's funny I thought you were trying to make fun of me!" He then went on to tell us he was born and raised on the Island of Ocracoke and that's where his accent came from. I said "Well we're born and raised in the other end of the state in the far western corner of the mountains in a place called Brasstown and this is the way people from there sound."

Accents are unique and beautiful no matter where you hail from. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *TODAY-Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *TOMORROW-September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Stove Up

Stove up

A few weeks ago Blind Pig Reader Ron Banks left the following comment:

"I know the term stoved up very well and use it often. I've stove my fingers up many times when I played basketball and football. When I hurt my back and could hardly walk without a stabbing pain I was sho nuff stoved up! Great expression. I wonder where that one came from?"

---------------------

Stove
A verb past participle of stave.
B adjective (also stove up) Bruised up, crippled to a degree that it is difficult to get around, sore or stiff in the joints from overwork or injury, worn out (usu used predicatively).
1975 Gainer Speech Mtneer 17 That horse got stoved from being rid down hill too fast. 1973 GSMNP-87:2:24 He lost a eye, and he was kind of what I'd call stove up all over. 1976 Weals It's Owin' She was in a car wreck and got all stove up. 1979 Carpenter Walton War 178 He come home so stove up he couldn't hardly git in the bed. 1993 Weaver Scotch-Irish Speech 15 Someone in bad shape from a fall or other injury might be all "stove up" (pp. of the verb To stave?), but this condition could also come with age 1995 Montgomery Coll.  (Cardwell, Shields). 

~Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

---------------------

Like Ron, I'm very familiar with the usage of the word stove described in the definition from the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. It's one of those usages that is so ingrained in my mind that I wonder how I would convey being stove up without saying stove up?

I googled around and found this page that discusses the meaning behind the usage. 

Have you ever stove your finger up? Or maybe you've been stove up after an accident?

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Appalachian Vocabulary Test 91

Old words used in western nc

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. Dutch oven: a heavy cast-iron pot with a close fitting lid and often with three feet on the bottom for cooking over an open fire.

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Dinner bucket: lunch box. "He left his dinner bucket sitting in the woods where they were working, I'll have to pack his dinner in a sack until he goes and finds it."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Dauncy: sickly. "I told her she needed to rest but she wouldn't listen. After working so long in the hot sun she's laying on the couch feeling dauncy."

4. Destryoment: destruction. "The floods in Louisianan have caused total destryoment."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Dido: a fit; can also be used to describe a circular motion. "I can't believe anyone would cut didos in a church parking lot. I'd be afraid I'd be struck by lightning for doing that!"

All of this month's words are common in my area except dauncy. Hope you'll leave me a comment and tell me how you did on the test.

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Ever had the Jim Jams or the Jimmies?

I get the jimmies means I get shaky and nervous

Jim jams noun Anxiety, restlessness.
1885 Murfree Prophet 153 Mirandy Jane hev fairly got the jim-jams. 1996-97 Montgomery Coll.  (Bush, Ellis, Oliver)

jimmies, have the verb phrase To be shaky from fear or anxiety, sometimes due to the consumption of alcohol. 
1997 Montgomery Coll. (Adams, Brown, Bush, Cardwell, Oliver, Weaver).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

-------------

I've heard folks say they had the jimmies my whole life, but I had never heard of the jim jams until I saw the entry in the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English.

A few weeks ago I went down to visit with Granny for a while. I took one of the girls' laptops along and thought I would write while Granny crocheted.

As soon as I sat down on the couch I got the jimmies...and no it wasn't from consuming alcohol like the definition suggested.

I went outside and weeded Granny's garden and tried to sit again, but still couldn't.

I wondered into the kitchen, washed the dishes, and then asked Granny if she'd like for me to clean out her refrigerator. She said "No, you don't need to do that come sit down with me for a while." I said "I got to do something I can't be still. I'm antsy." She said "Well then help yourself."

Cleaning out the frig finally settled me down and then I was able to sit and write for a good long while. 

I don't feel antsy or get the jimmies often, and I'm sure glad I don't, that's a feeling that I do not like.

I have 2 questions for you.

  1. Do you ever get the jimmies?
  2. Have you ever heard of the jim-jams?

Tipper

p.s. Up coming performances for The Pressley Girls 

  • August 5, 2016 @ 7:45 a.m. Morning Song John C. Campbell Folk School Brasstown, NC - TODAY
  • August 5, 2016 @ 7:00 p.m. Union County Historical Court House Blairsville, GA - TODAY

  • August 26, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m. Crane Creek Vineyards Young Harris, GA

  • September 3, 2016 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Shelly Beans

Shelly beans in appalachia

shelly bean noun Any large bunch bean that is removed from the shell and is good as a dried bean stored for winter consumption.
1936 Farr Folk Speech 92 = dried beans. "We eat shelly beans of a winter." 1958 Wood Words from Tenn 15 = type of legume that tends to shell itself during cooking. 1971-73 Pederson et al. LAGS (Blount Co TN, Sevier Co TN).  1986 Pederson et al. LAGS 17 of 24 (70.8%) of LAGS speakers using term were from E Tenn. 1991 Haynes Haywood Home 48 In September and October, we harvested pumpkins, squash, shelly beans, potatoes apples, molassy cane and corn....Shelly beans were planted in corn fields or along fences so they would have something for the vines to run up on. We'd pick the beans and spread them on a wagon sheet (thick canvas) to dry in the sun....After the beans on the wagon sheet dried, they were sacked in toesacks (burlap) and hung from a tree limb or rafter in a shed. Then we'd beat the day-lights out of them with a stick. Come the first good windy day some body would get up on a shed roof to wind-clean the shellies. A wagon sheet would be placed below and the beans poured from the toe sack by the person on the roof. As the beans fell to the wagon sheet below, the wind would blow away all the chaff and debris. Clean beans could then be stored. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

----------------------

Our first canning of beans this summer had lots of shellies in them. The dry weather we had at the beginning of the summer seemed to dry the bean pods out faster than usual. When I was growing up, Pap and Granny never harvested dried beans, but Granny called the beans that had to be removed from their pods for putting up shellies. I think a lot of folks in this area do.

How did you like the technique they used to blow away the chaff from the dried beans? Pretty smart if you ask me. 

Tipper

p.s. Up coming performances for The Pressley Girls 

  • August 5, 2016 @ 7:45 a.m. Morning Song John C. Campbell Folk School Brasstown, NC - This FRIDAY
  • August 5, 2016 @ 7:00 p.m. Union County Historical Court House Blairsville, GA - This FRIDAY

  • August 26, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m. Crane Creek Vineyards Young Harris, GA

  • September 3, 2016 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Appalachian Vocabulary Test 90

Appalachian vocabulary test see how you do

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

I'm sharing a few videos in this test to let you hear some of the words too. 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. Directly: in a little while; before long; soon. “You need to wash the dishes your mother will be home directly and I know she hates to come home to a mess.”

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Doings: excited activity; a celebration. “Looks like some kind of big doings going on down to the folk school. They was cars and people everywhere when I came in from work.”

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Do up: to complete or finish something. “Tell Granny as soon as I do up the washing I’ll be down to help her.”

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. Draw up: to shrink. “Momma can’t wash any of our wool sweaters in our new washing machine or they’ll draw up." or "Every time I think about dropping that pan on my toe it makes me draw up."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Duck fit: a tantrum; an outburst of excitement. “When he found out I quit my job he had a dying duck fit!

All of this month's words/phrases are very common in the mountains of western North Carolina. How about where you live?

Hope you'll leave me a comment and tell me how you did on the test.

Tipper

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email