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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Kissing Games

Old fashioned games spin the bottle, post office, barber,

Did you ever play any of the embarrassing games designed to instigate contact between the opposite sexes when you were in school?  

I was in about 8th grade when one of my friends had a boy/girl birthday party. Until then all the parties I had been to were girls only.

Her mother made fondue, which most of us didn't know how to eat. And she had us take one shoe off and give it to her. She placed them in a big pile-one pile for the boys-one for the girls. Then we took turns picking a shoe. The shoe you picked = the person you were going to dance with. My friend and I almost died from embarrassment.

As backward as I was-I never got up the nerve to play any of the kissing games like spin the bottle. Taking a chance on kissing someone I thought was gross in front of the rest of my friends wasn't something I was ever going to do.

Looking through The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore I found a few other courtship games (also called play party games).


A boy and a girl stand at one side of the room. Another boy and girl catch hands and skip around them singing the first verse. The first boy responds with the second. The second couple sings the third and the first boy sings the fourth. At the end he asks "How about Mr. (one of the boys playing the game). The chosen boy comes up and takes the girl, and the singing dialogue is continued until all the girls but one are paired off. Then this last girl and the first boy clasp hands and raise them as in "London Bridge." The couples dance through singing:

Come under, come under
My honey, my dove, my turtle dove;
Come under, come under
My dear, oh dear.

We'll take you both our prisoners,
My honey, my love, my turtle dove;
We'll take you both our prisoners,
My dear, oh dear.

Then hug her tight and kiss her twice,
My honey, my love, my turtle dove;
Then hug her tight and kiss her twice,
My dear, oh dear.

The last couple caught proceeds as directed in the last verse, and "go ahead." The game goes on until each couple has been caught then the leaders dance under the clasped hands of all the other couples and are captured by the last. Then they too kiss each other and the game ends.  


Old Sister Phoebe contributed by Maude Minish Sutton who obtained it from Bob Huskins a banjo picker from Mitchell. c. 1927.

Old Sister Phoebe, how happy are we
As we go 'round and 'round the juniper tree!
We'll tie our heads up to keep them all warm,
And two or three kisses won't do us no harm.
Old Sister Phoebe!

Here comes a poor widow a-marching around
And all of my daughters are married but one,
So rise up, my daughter, and kiss your true love.
Old Sister Phoebe!

This kissing game is a favorite among young people in the remote parts of the Blue Ridge. Bob (the informant) was a very picturesque person, and he sang this song to a rollicking, jiggy tune. 


Flower in the Garden contributed by Maude Minish Sutton c. 1927. Collected in Big Ivy (Madison County).

There's a flower in the garden for you, young man;
There's a flower in the garden for you,
There's a flower in the garden, pick it if you can;
Be sure not to choose a false-hearted one.

The boy in the center of the circle selects a girl, and those in the ring sing:

You got her at a bargain, my young man;
You got her at a bargain, I tell you,
But you promised for to wed her six months ago;
So we hold you to your bargain, you rascal you.

The couple kiss and the girl remains in the center. The second verse is the same except for a change from man and her to maid and him


If you remember any games like the ones above from your childhood I'd love to hear about them-so please leave me a comment! 


*Source: The Frank C. Brown Collection Of North Carolina Folklore.

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Love Jerry

Love Letter From Pap 

Dear Louzine

Hope you are feeling well. Guess I am o.k. This fine wether is just about to give me spring fever. Seems every one gets a little lazy this time of year.

Louzine they put me on the second shift at work. I knew it was comming but I thought it would be another week or so. I have to go to work at 3 oclock and off at 11 oclock. I have to work sat. night. Looks like Sunday night is the only chance I will have to see you. If it is o.k. with you, and unless you send me word different I will be there about 4:30 Sunday evening. Then maybe we won't be out so late.

Darling I miss you lots. Sending this by Wayne, hope he gets it to you. Hope you can read this I am not much at spelling and writing. Don't eat supper before I come Sunday. We will eat out somewhere.

Love Jerry


Pap sent the letter above to Granny when they were first courting. Pap lived in the southern portion of Cherokee County and Granny lived in the western portion. With today's modern cars and roads that only equals about 20-25 minutes driving time, but in Pap and Granny's courting days the distance was farther in more ways than one.

A few months back I asked Granny when her family first got a telephone. She couldn't remember the exact year, but she did remember having to walk across the road to use the neighbor's phone to call Pap's mother and tell her to let Pap know she was sick and and that he shouldn't come out to see her one evening. Pap and Granny only dated a short 3 months before marrying so I'm guessing it was about 1963 when she borrowed the phone. 

Only one or two houses in the neighborhood having a telephone is a huge difference from today where everyone you know is walking around with one in their pocket. The difference almost boggles the mind.

Pap's Uncle Wayne and his wife Violet lived across the way from Granny's family. As often happens in large families, Pap and Wayne were closer in age than most uncles and nephews and since they grew up near each other they were more like cousins.

Back in the day Pap and Wayne drove wagons from the Harshaw Farm to Murphy, worked in the fields, swam and fished in the Hiwassee River and slipped off to play when they both knew better.

After they were grown and Wayne married Violet he introduced Pap to Granny.

Happy Valentines Day!!


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Happy New Year from the Blind Pig and The Acorn

Happy New Years from the Blind Pig and The Acorn

The whole Blind Pig Gang sincerely hopes 2017 is exactly what you want it to be for you and yours. Each of us truly appreciate your support for the Blind Pig and The Acorn and we thank you for the richness you add to our lives. 

Drop by in a few days for a look back at my favorite posts of 2016.


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Happy Thanksgiving from the Blind Pig and The Acorn

Thanksgiving 2016

Like many of you, I'll spend today eating good food and thinking of all the things I'm thankful for.

Blind Pig Readers are at the top of my thankful list. I am truly grateful for each of you who stop by for a daily dose of Appalachia. 

I wish you a day full of blessings. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Blind Pig Gang!


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Veterans Day In Appalachia

  Veterans Day in Appalachia

Veterans Day in Appalachia is school hallways filled with those who served shaking each others hands while looking slightly uncomfortable with the attention they're receiving.

Veterans Day in the mountains of Appalachia is flags floating along porch railings and mailboxes. It's stiff new mini flags being waved in unison by the crowd. It's small and large gatherings in town squares where monuments were built for those who never came home.

Veterans Day in Appalachia is fellow comrades teasing each other about the young soldiers shown in the photos flashing on the screen at the front of the room. It's laughter ending in teary eyes and solemn faces as their talk reminds them of what they went through. 

Veterans Day in Appalachia is children standing on risers singing of a love of country with voices that get louder on the easy parts and fade away on the high hard parts. It's special breakfasts, dinners, and suppers served lovingly to those who served for the good of us all. 

If you're a Veteran - I THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.


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Catching Wild Turkeys

Thanksgiving in Appalachia

Granny Gazzie and Grandpa Charlie

Most of us will get our Thanksgiving turkey from the grocery store, Granny bought one for our dinner last week. In the old days if folks wanted to eat turkey they harvested a wild one themselves.

When I was growing up, there were very few wild turkeys here in Brasstown. I do remember Uncle Henry had tame turkeys one time-don't tell nobody but I was scared to death of them. I swear they were almost as tall as I was and every time I seen them they came running at me.

Seems like it was during my late teenage years that the wild turkey population increased enough for folks to start hunting them. I remember Papaw Wade got him a long black coat to wear and hunted turkey in the Coleman Gap. Said he was going to show the young boys how it was done, but I don't think he ever got a turkey.

The Deer Hunter has harvested quite a few turkeys over the years, however since turkey season is in the spring-all of his were eaten way before Thanksgiving rolled around. 

The Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English has an interesting entry about catching turkeys in a pen.

turkey pen noun A large enclosure built to entrap wild turkeys. 
1939 Hall Coll. Cataloochee NC How to build a turkey pen: You just build a square pen out of ten foot fence rails, and when you get the wall built, you build it up about three feet high, and then you cover the pen over with fence rails laid close together all over it, and then you go out back a distance from the pen, start a trench, shallow at first, and the deeper you go, get under the rail of the pen. Why, it's big enough for a turkey to walk under the bottom rail, but the trench then sloped out, up from the middle of the pen, and the turkeys walks through there, and they get inside this pen. They raise up and see where they're at. They get so excited that they don't notice the hole down there to go out back outside. (Sarah Caldwell Palmer)

Hard for me to imagine a place with so many turkeys you could catch them in a pen. In recent years, the coyotes have cut down the turkey population in this area-although I do still occasionally see turkeys in the cow pasture down the road. 

The Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English website has interviews which were conducted in 1939 in the Smoky Mountains. You can read the transcripts or listen to the actual interview. 

The following interviews mention turkeys.

I know everyone doesn't eat turkey for Thanksgiving, but for the Blind Pig family there's always a turkey on the table along with Granny's pumpkin pie and The Deer Hunter's dressing.

We'll be missing Pap something fierce at this year's big dinner. Granny said we have to get together and eat because Pap would want us to. I know she's right. Even though I get sad just thinking about it I can hear his voice telling me "Why don't worry about me. You ought to get together and eat till your bellys bust cause that's what I'd do."


p.s. Remember Guitar Man? For those of you who don't he is my oldest nephew. He shows up in most of our oldest music videos. He's making a movie! Actually he and a group of friends are trying their best to make a movie-go here for all the details. 

p.s.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

  • Saturday November 12, 2016 @ 7:15 p.m.- Brasstown Community Center Brasstown, NC (the girls will be clogging at 6:15 with the Kudzu Kickers if you want to come early!)
  • Saturday November 19, 2016 @ 1:30 p.m. - Marble Elementary Fall Festival Marble, NC

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The 4th of July

July 4th

Happy 4th of July from the Blind Pig Gang!

Follow the links below to read about a few of the Patriots who helped in founding our great nation and to remember the reason behind this holiday. 

*William England and son Richard England Revolutionary War Patriots

*Revolutionary War Patriots Stephen Souther and William Souther

*Private Michael Tanner (1759-1849) Revolutionary War Soldier Buried in Old Choestoe Cemetery


p.s. Chitter is having a big 4th of July sale in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. Go here to check it out!

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Father's Day without Pap

Fathers Day without Pap
Pap, The Deer Hunter, Chatter and Chitter 

All week I've been afraid of today because its Father's Day. I've been scared of the sadness I knew would rise up around my feet and make its way to my eyes as if it was a dense cold fog that came from deep within the earth. As time marched ever closer to Sunday, and its day of celebration, my fear was kept company by many tears. 

But I have gratitude weaving its way through my heavy heart too.

Gratitude for a having had a wonderful father for a whole heck of a lot of years! Gratitude that his steering led his family through the highways and hedges of life in such a manner that even though he's gone we'll not stray from the paths he showed us. Gratitude that we have each other to love; to sit and reminisce with; to lend a helping hand; to stand beside each other looking toward a future that is brightened because we had such a father.

Recently, Paul told the audience we'd been on a whirlwind tour of the Brasstown and Blairsville area. Our grand tour hasn't taken us far away from home, yet we have kept the roads hot playing gigs the last few weeks. 

Here's a quick video of us warming up before a show.

I feel like there has been part of Pap with us on every stage we've stood on since he passed away...even the one that was actually too small for us to stand on-which would have given Pap a good laugh. 



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When Daddy Took Us Fishing

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and the Acorn in 2012.

Fishing in appalachia


Fishing with Our Daddy written by David Templeton

I don’t think I ever thought about it from what would have been Dad’s memory. We never had fished before. I was… oh …., about ten, maybe. My little brother was about seven and Shirley would have been six years old. I think Dorothy was with us … she would have been twelve. Patty, older yet, stayed home.

Dad worked a lot. He had no trained vocation and with no particular job skills he had to provide for a family of seven kids and him and Mom and he had to take whatever work he could find. Where there’s work men go and he had started out in the coal mines of West Virginia as the looming war with Japan and Germany had driven the mines into massive hiring and he worked the mines and took other odd jobs and overtime and he and Mom began growing a family there in McDowell County and he made enough money to provide. He was sick and didn’t go to work the day Bartley No. 2 at Pond Creek blew up and killed 87 men and he left the mines and moved us to East Tennessee where the war had made many more good jobs in defense plants up and down the Holston River.

After the war, there were Levitt towns (as they were often called) in Kingsport, too and they wanted to buy a home of their own and to have as much comfort as possible and feed and clothe their growing brood. So Dad took other work and I remember by 1948, as Kingsport was returning to a post-war economy, him working two other part-time jobs and the defense plant kept on working so we kids didn’t see much of Dad as he often was home only long enough to get six or seven hours sleep and go back to work. And we loved our Daddy and some late summer evenings Mom would let us go up the street and wait under a street light to see Daddy coming home, walking because he had no car, and we would jump up and down when he came into view and when he got to us we would cling to his hands or his britchey legs and hang onto him all the way home. It’s about all we saw of him was him coming home in those jar fly evenings to rest a while and sleep some and go back out.

So there seldom was a leisure time for Dad. There seldom was a time when Dad could play with us or take us places on Sunday drives and most certainly there were no family vacations. But, sometimes … sometimes Dad did have a car; usually not for long but when he had a car he and Mom would take us for a drive and Mom would make some sandwiches and we would stop at a shaded roadside table and have a picnic and play in the streams of mountain waters running alongside the road and try to catch the little fishes and the crawdads darting away from our jabbing hands. But we didn’t get to fish because Dad didn’t have any fishing poles and stuff and for sure not enough for each of us.

But, onetime … and it must have been a pleasureful time because it is among my best feeling memories … one time Dad went to the store and bought some of those little fishing kits you could buy back then; they had string, and a float or cork bobber and a hook and you would cut a pole and tie the string on the end of it and set the cork and you’d have a fishing pole. And you could buy a few extra hooks and split shots and corks because the first thing you did was get the line tangled in a low hanging limb or get your hook snagged on the bottom of the creek, on a rock ledge and Dad would have to jerk it loose and usually you’d lose the hook and the cork and he’d have to rig up another fishing line of the pole and we’d try again, so it always took extra hooks and split shots and corks and the rigging alone kept Dad busy with set-ups. And, he would have dug a can of fishing worms, a plenty for the time.

This one time he also bought some of those little cans of potted meat and some little cans of Vienna sausages and a loaf of bread and we could enjoy some real tasty picnic food while we fished but it usually meant that Dad would have to help us make us a sandwich or help us open the can of potted meat and spread it on our bread with his… what he called his “fishing knife” and it was like one of those knives we called a Boy Scout knife and it had… oh, maybe a can opener blade and a big blade and a little blade and a spoon and a fork-like part, too. Kind of like those Swiss Army knives you see nowadays. 

I’m sure as Dad worked at his bread-wrapping machine at the Dixie Maid bakery there in Kingsport, he would think about his family and us and regret how precious little time he had with us and he would fancy what he might do to spend some good times with us and he determined to take us fishing as soon as he had a day off and in his mind at his machine he could picture the fishing trip, a sunny day, four or five of us kids, fishing poles all set on the bank and propped up on forked sticks and each kid sitting quietly by their pole waiting patiently for a bite and kids feasting on lunchmeat sandwiches and him fishing, too; and a string of good-sized punkin-seed sunfish that Mom would admire when we got home and make us a big supper of fried sunfish and fried cornbread. Quiet… peaceful… bucolic… In his day dream.

In reality, there on that creek bank, it went different once the fishing poles were made up and a worm slid onto the hook and the bobber set and the line out in the water and the pole resting on the fork. It went different very quickly, as each of us would mistake any movement of the bobber as a bite and jerk the pole and jerk the line all the way out and into the leafy tree limb and Dad would have to get the fishing line freed from the tree limb and lose the worm and the hook and sinker and he would have to rig it up again with another hook and split shot and bobber and a fresh worm and help get the line back out in the water and by then two more of us would have tangled lines or an worm-empty hooks and from then on all Dad would get done would be that of servicing everyone’s fishing set-up or getting a line loose or taking a Horney head off the hook and explaining to us that it was not a good fish to keep, and mosquito bites, and dropped vy-eenies, and Johnny has to pee, and all this before a half hour had passed and Dad’s patience became exasperation and rather than order us to GET IN THE CAR!! He would finally gently say, “Kids, this isn’t a very good fishing hole. Let’s get everything in the car and drive on up the road a piece and see if we can find a better place to fish”. And, we be happy to get in the car because “fishing must not be all it’s cracked up to be” and Dad would drive around a while and finally say, “Kids, let’s just go on back home for now and we’ll stop at the Piggly-Wiggly and get some salt Cod and we’ll ask Mommie to make us some fish and cornbread and some fried potatoes and we’ll try fishing some other time." 

And, we were all happy and we had had a good day with our Daddy and he was with us and we loved him all the more. And it became happy memory, one that I recollect and think about when my grandkids want me to take them fishing. I sure miss my father and his tender heart and the patience that God gave him before he took up family fishing.


I hope you enjoyed David's post as much as I did! It reminded me of the times I begged Pap to let me go fishing with him and the boys...and then I begged him to take me home before they were finished fishing because I was bored. I love David's use of the words britchey legs. Using the word britches for pants is beyond common in Appalachia. 


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