Father's Day - Take Two

Matt and the girls
The Deer Hunter, Chatter, and Chitter

Last Sunday I jumped the gun and published my Father's Day post, not realizing it wasn't Father's Day till after the post was live. My sentiments are still the same-you can go here to read the post if you missed it: Father's Day in Appalachia.

And you can follow the links below for more Father's Day goodness from the archives of the Blind Pig and The Acorn.


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Father's Day in Appalachia

Fathers Day in Appalachia
Steve and Pap - 1970

Father's Day in Appalachia is special dinners with Daddy's favorite cake or pie. It's fathers young, middle aged, and old feeling backward and uncomfortable from the extra attention. Father's Day in Appalachia is gifts of cards, tools, shirts, books, or something as simple as painted rocks from the creek. 

Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers who read the Blind Pig and The Acorn. 


*UPDATE: It's 7:00 a.m. on Sunday June 11 and I just discovered Father's Day is next Sunday! Oh well guess I'm a week early but at least I'm not a day late and a dollar short like usual. 

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Remembering on Memorial Day

Memorial Day was created to honor fallen soldiers of the Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day. John L. Logan is largely responsible for organizing the day, and in 1868 declared:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

As time, and wars, went by people began honoring all fallen soldiers on the day no matter when or how they had served their country. In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day to be an official holiday occurring on the last Monday in May to honor all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in the Armed Forces of The United States of America.


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Mother's Day in Appalachia

Mothers day in appalachia

Tipper and Chitter

In Appalachia Mother's Day is bouquets of flowers for the kitchen table and hanging baskets and potted plants for the porch and yard. It's mothers crying tender tears as they ponder on the love being showered on them by those they love most. 

Mother's Day in Appalachia is mothers offering to pitch in and help with the festivities while being shooed back to the couch or the porch to rest on their special day.

The day is full of remembering mothers who have gone on while holding on tightly to those who may soon take leave of this ole world. Mother's Day in Appalachia is full of handmade cards and fistfuls of flowers from the yard gifted by the young who can't fully understand what their mother will mean to their lives. 


Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers who read the Blind Pig and The Acorn-your families and the world are better off for having you. 


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Granny Sue's Mother

Today's guest post was written by Susanna Holstein.

1Mom early 1980's

Mom, always the English lady. 

"Marigolds are pretty, but they have a terrible smell."

"That Lucy and Desi, they're so common. I don't want you girls watching that show."

"Tea must always be served in an English teacup, dear, with a saucer. And milk and sugar. And brewed in a teapot."

"Depression glass is just cheap glass."

"China made in Japan is no good. Not worth wasting money on."

"Wrap that baby up! Poor little thing is freezing."

That was my mother talking. Her opinions, lightly and carelessly dropped, shaped my view of the world, of housekeeping, gardening, and child-rearing. I followed her rules and her lead, and only recently realized how much she influenced my own likes and dislikes.

Take silver for example. Mom loved silver. Looking back, I bet she would have adored having a real silver tea service but that never came to be. She also liked brass and copper, and there were certain pieces that we kept on display in the house for years, polishing them for the holidays. Two crystal decanters sat on either end of the buffet in our dining room; one held port, the other sherry. I do not remember anyone ever drinking those dark red liquids, but I do recall washing up the decanters along with all the other sparkling serving dishes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

It was surprising to realize when she passed away how many of her likes and dislikes she passed on to her daughters. We all love crystal, silver and flowery English teacups. We all grow flowers, have an apron tucked away somewhere in our kitchens, and most of us still drink tea with milk and sugar. For a long time I did not watch the Lucy show or the Mary Tyler Moore show either ("Common," Mom sniffed). To this day I cannot watch movies with violence or children being hurt, and I'm a fan of happy endings.

2Granny Hagger's 60th birthday, she was visiting us in Centreville April 18, 1954

My English granny, Naomi Florence Hagger, who was visiting us in Centreville, VA, on her 60th birthday when this photo was taken. Granny's tastes and opinions probably had just as strong an influence on my mother as Mom's did on me. 

I was surprised when I found that I actually liked the smell of marigolds, and of a bruised tomato leaf, another scent my mother did not enjoy. And I left the delicate English teacups in favor of the more substantial and, I think, just as pretty German-made cups and saucers. I have never been a big fan of pale pink and green Depression glass, but when I found I really liked the pale yellow version, I felt guilty for years!

My tastes began to become my own when I left Virginia and moved to the mountains of West Virginia. I became intrigued by handmade art-pottery, quilts, and baskets filled my home. I wore jeans and seldom put on makeup (Mom put hers on daily, and "freshened up" with new lipstick and a clean apron just before Dad came home from work). My mother visited my mountain home only rarely, and for the first few visits was visibly upset at the hard path her oldest daughter had chosen. I did not think it difficult at all--to me it was all a great adventure, a challenge to learn how to provide for ourselves in this then-remote place.

3Mom and Sue

Mom and I, 1988, at my son Jon's wedding. 

Over the years my tastes gentled; Mom was surprised on her last visit here in 2003 to find air conditioning, lace curtains and a more civilized way of life--at least to her way of thinking. I went from minimalist to an eclectic, comfortable style that includes all of the things I love in a glorious mishmash that is still orderly--unlike my mother, I do not want "everything out where I can see it, dear." I still recall how quickly she could trash a place, scattering belongings hither and thither, filling a dresser top with makeup, medicines, lotions and creams and completely covering a countertop in less than 10 minutes. She was happiest with a comfortable clutter, as she called it. I can deal with clutter for a limited time but then it has to get organized and cleaned up.

Every now and again, I'll start to say something, and I'll hear my mother talking again. I have to smile because even though she's been gone for eight years, her opinions live on in her daughter's subconscious mind. It makes me wonder if I influenced my sons in the same way. Is it this way with all mothers? Do you still hear your mother's opinions coming out of your mouth?

Susanna Holstein


I hope you enjoyed Susanna's (Granny Sue's) guest post as much as I did. And my answer to her question is a resounding YES! I hear Granny's voice in my head and I'm positive many of her opinions fly out of my mouth on a regular basis. 


This post was originally published on the Blind Pig and The Acorn in May of 2014.

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Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill

Walking my Lord up Calvary's Hill
Photo by Trevis Hicks

We learned a new song for Easter, but didn't get it put up on youtube in time for me to share it with you last Sunday. Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper had a super hit with Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill back in the day. Over the years a lot of other folks have performed the song too, including bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent. 

Ruby Mae Barber Moody penned Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill along with many other gospel songs including the very popular southern gospel song My Real Home.

We've taken to playing on Granny's back porch lately. She likes it because she can hear us from her chair where she sits crotcheting. If we get to talking or stop playing for some other reason she'll come to the door and say "I'm coming out here to see what the hold up is."

Hope you enjoyed the late Easter song!


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Wishing You a Blessed Easter

The legend of the dogwood tree

I've known the legend of the Dogwood since I was a small child, whether I learned it in Sunday school or from Pap and Granny I couldn't tell you. But I can tell you, I never look at a Dogwood bloom that I don't remember.

Wishing each of you a blessed Easter.


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It's Saint Patrick's Day...Have You Got Your Green On?

Why wear green on saint patricks day or be pinched

When I think of Saint Patrick's Day the first thing that comes to mind is if you don't wear green you'll get pinched.

I remember the day being a big deal when I was in elementary school. Everyone had to make sure to remember to wear green-or suffer the consequences. 

After I started the Blind Pig and The Acorn I came across the saying that if someone pinched you when you did have green on, you get to pinch them back 10 times. I wish I had known that when I was in middle school. 

One time I asked Granny and Pap if pinching for not wearing green went on when they were kids. They both said they didn't even know there was a Saint Patrick's Day until they were grown.

Over the years a few of you have left comments about the tradition of wearing green on Saint Patrick's Day.

Tim Hassell: I remember getting pinched if you didn't wear green or if you did wear green it was an opportunity for the kids to cut up. Mostly I remember Saint Patrick's Day as the day we planted "Arsh potatoes".

Ken Roper: Tipper, Out of respect for the Irish Tradition I try to wear something green on St. Patrick's Day. I'm like Pap, never heard of this pinching stuff growing up. But my daddy sure could pinch. One time in Church my brother got me to noticing a wasper bumping his head on the ceiling. That got me to sniggerin' and here come daddy. He caught us by the ears and out the door we went. After we came back in, that wasper wasn't funny anymore.

Ron Banks: Top O' the morning to ye! I found this in regard to getting pinched on St. Patrick's Day. "Forgot to wear green on St. Patty’s Day? Don’t be surprised if you get pinched. No surprise, it’s an entirely American tradition that probably started in the early 1700s. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers."


I've heard of other folks planting their arsh potatoes on Saint Patrick's Day like Tim's family.

Ken's story about his daddy reminds me of the time I pinched one of the girls in church to warn them they better settle down. Of course she yelled out "Ouch don't pinch me Momma!" 

Thanks to Ron-I know I need to wear green today so I'll be invisible to those sneaky leprechauns.


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The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

O Danny Boy

The song O Danny Boy is well known around the world sung by famous vocalists as well as around the family piano-or family guitar in the Blind Pig house. Folks are often reminded of the old ballad during the week of Saint Patrick's Day.

I researched O Danny Boy and discovered some interesting facts:

  • While the tune is indeed Irish-the words were written in England
  • There are varying opinions about the origin of the tune-some believe its as old as the 1600s
  • In about 1855 Jane Ross discovered the tune and passed it along to a collector of old Irish music, at that time the tune was called Londonderry Air
  • Many songwriters tried to add words to the music but nothing seemed to fit the mournful tune
  • In the 1800s the tune made it to America along with Irish immigrants
  • About 1912 a Mrs. Weatherly heard the song in Colorado, she sent the music back to England to her brother-n-law who was a songwriter
  • Mr. Weatherly had already penned the words to Danny Boy but had never found the right melody-now he had it
  • When Mr. Weatherly put the old Irish tune to his words a hit that would last through the ages was created
  • To read more about the fascinating story behind the song check out this page

I believe O Danny Boy appeals to the masses because the song evokes the strong emotion of longing for someone you love and miss-a truly common theme of mankind.

For me personally, the song transcends location. If I replace the word glen with holler I would swear the words were written about my mountains and the high graveyards that rest on many of them.

In the same way, you could substitute the descriptive words with hills, dunes, or whatever topography you live near and feel as though it was written just down the road from you.

For this Pickin' & Grinnin' In The Kitchen Spot O Danny Boy. I want to encourage you to watch the video. Paul sings the original 2nd verse which most performers leave out. No matter how many times I hear the 2nd verse I get chills...every last time. 

2nd verse:

But when you come and all the flowers are dying If I am dead as then I well may be You'll come and find the place where I am lying And kneel and say a prayer there for me And I will hear though soft you tread above me And all my grave will warmer sweeter be For you will bend and whisper that you love me And I shall rest in Peace until you come to me


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Words for Love in Appalachia


Courting in appalachia

In Appalachia... 

courting = dating

sparking = dating

sweet on = means you like someone

he-ing and she-ing = hugging and kissing

slip off = elope

serenade or shivaree = a loud noisy celebration
occurring after a wedding

courts like a stick of wood = a person who is awkward
when courting

jump the broom = get married

took up = 2 people who start courting or move in together

going steady = serious dating

struck on = means you like someone

going with = dating

get hitched = get married


When I was young someone was always asking me if I was courting yet.

Granny and Pap slipped off from Granny Gazzie and got married without her knowing it. 

Along with courting and slip off  I still hear: took up, jump the broom, he-ing and she-ing, going with, struck on, and sweet on in my part of Appalachia. The others have faded away. 

For more about courting in Appalachia-visit Dave Tabler's Appalachian History site

I'm sure I left some courting sayings out-if you think of one leave it in a comment!


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