5 Things Appalachia

5 Things

1. I was surprised and pleased to find a bloodroot wildflower growing in one of my flower beds.


2. The purple and white violets have taken over the floor of my greenhouse this spring, but I don’t mind, I mean who could complain about walking on a carpet of violets?


3. For a good long while Chitter has wanted to incorporate her great love of the creek that runs through our mountain holler into her jewelry making. A few years back she ground up soft porous creek rocks to make a dye or paint. Since the result didn’t really lend itself to the jewelry she was producing she put the thought of using the creek on the back burner and turned her attention to becoming a silversmith. There’s something special about the Stamey Branch that runs through our holler. It’s larger than a branch, but not really a big creek either. Sometimes it calls to me and its often at the most inopportune times like in the middle of the night or when I’m knee deep in cooking super. I know Chitter hears the call of the creek just like I do. I believe it calls to her in a louder voice. I guess the longing to be near the small creek comes from having spent so many days of childhood along its banks. It was a favorite place for me, Paul, and my cousins to play and when the girls were little you couldn’t keep them out of it no matter the time of the year. As you can see from the photo Chitter finally figured how to combine her beloved creek and her jewelry making: she’s setting creek rocks! I’m so excited about her new pieces. So far she’s come up with pendants, earrings, and key chains. It’s wonderful to have a piece of handmade jewelry with gem stones like garnets, rose quarts, or agate but a piece of jewelry made from an Appalachian creek rock? I just don’t think it can get any better.


4. At work I usually have Pandora playing music in the background. A few weeks ago I heard a song I had never heard before, but immediately loved. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tony Rice so I knew it was him singing and a quick google told me the song was written by Bill Monroe. After listening to the song several times a day since I first heard it I’m still in love with it. The song has repeating parts and I’m always partial to that style of singing. The song also has the strong symbolism of rivers, redemption, and loved ones calling come and those things always stir my heart. But it’s probably the last verse that gets me the most because I know that’s exactly how Pap felt before his death: My life down here will soon be over And this ole world holds nothing for me He saved my soul and he made me happy That beautiful land I’m going to see. Later this week will make two years since we lost Pap. In one way it seems like forever and in another it seems like he just left last week. You can go here to see if you like the song too.


Chatter, Tipper, Chitter

5. Every once in a great while I’ll dream about one of the girls being exactly like they were when they were little. For some reason I dream of Chitter being young more than Chatter, but this past week I had the great fortune of dreaming about them both. They were about the same age as in the photo above which was taken in one of those weird photo booths at amusement parks. In the crazy manner of dreams we were with their school class going on a field trip to Johnny Hampton’s farm. Why anyone would go to his farm for a field trip is beyond me, besides Johnny Hampton has been dead for many many years. There had been a hard freeze after a heavy rain and the cows were all laying down on the ice to enjoy the coolness. Crazy uh? But the part that wasn’t crazy was the way Chatter set in my lap on the bus and talked with her funny little kid voice leaning close to put her small hands on each side of my face so that I could smell her sweet hair and feel it brush across my cheeks. We found Chitter in another part of the barn and she came along telling me about her adventures in her small child voice filled with excitement as she brushed hair out of her eyes to see. How my brain holds those beloved memories, scents, and sounds in safe keeping and then brings them out for me to enjoy again is astounding. Actually its beyond astounding, I’m just not sure what the word for that is.


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  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 17, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Whatever. Thanks, but when I change my name and go out then come back in, it comes back on with the growin.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 17, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Did the girls lose their first front tooth at the same time but on opposite sides? That’s what it looks like in the picture. Was Chitter’s on her left and Chatter’s on her right? Think that’s a coincidence?

    • Reply
      April 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Papaw-yes they lost the opposite tooth in front and it took forever to grow back in. They each had one big tooth growing down-The Deer Hunter started calling them The Tooth 🙂

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I enjoy the five things you write about, especially those sentimental feelings in a dream. And I called the Gospel Radio Station and requested “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again,” by Paul and Katie Pressley. Corie is off to the side playing too. Paul sounds alot like Pap in that one.

    When we lived in Atlanta, I came in from work one day and was dead tired. I sat down in my recliner for a brief rest, and Lauralea came into the room and said “daddy, get up! You’re setting on Freddie!” (That was one of her Imaginary friends.) She didn’t have Jennifer then, it was about 6 1/2 years later before she got a sister. At the things and times we remember! …Ken

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Dreams can be enrichments from the soul that stir precious memories and remind of us the meaning of our lives.
    Perhaps Chitter could make mosaics. The very tiniest stones could make “cameo’s” for jewelry. Larger stones could decorate stepping stones or flower pots or bird baths or even make murals on walls. That’s what I plan to do with the lower half of the potting shed my husband is building “for me” so it doesn’t look so industrial. Stones, broken glass, broken dishes . . . whatever I can get my hands on . . . at least that’s my plan . . . .

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 17, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Violets in bloom here and lots more than usual. I love to see them.

    That was a wonderful dream. I miss my son being little but now I have a friend in him. I was shopping yesterday and saw a mother with three little ones. One had a meltdown as she was checking out–don’t miss that part!!!

    Love the rock art. Hope she will have them for sale. I would like one for my key chain if they have a clip on them. The creek in the bottom where I grew up is a favorite memory of mine. We always wanted some property with a creek.

    I think of you often and hope the pain of losing your Pap is easing. Mama has been gone for seven yrs in June. I will always miss her but we can laugh now when we remember–she was a character.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

    I still haven’t figured out how growin got added to the end of my name. Maybe I am growin.

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Look below the “Leave A Reply” box at the bottom. You can change your name to whatever you want it to be

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Creek rock jewelry sounds like a great idea.
    Being a lover of traditional music, I enjoyed the song, rarely listening to anything else, but that changed yesterday. My wife drug me to the movies to see I can only imagine. Good Christian movie. I came home and looked up the band Mercy Me, and listened to their new release
    called Even If. Great song that any believer can relate to.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Morris
    April 17, 2018 at 9:13 am


  • Reply
    Ann Appplegarth
    April 17, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Beautiful! All 5.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 8:39 am

    The treasured memories God plants in our soul that pops to mind at the perfect time. . . I call them tender mercies.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 17, 2018 at 8:38 am

    My five are God, family, friends, my heritage, and my country. You bring all of this to us in your blog and I so appreciate it. Please continue to keep reminding us just what is important in this life.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 17, 2018 at 8:19 am

    #4 – “forever and just left” describes it very well. Every recollection makes it feel again as “just left” but in between it becomes as Job said, ‘like a tale that is told’. Such a paradox to be both far away and yet immediate.

    #1. the surprising miracle of seeds. Always nice to find unexpected beauty. I think my leaf blowing in the fall ends up being a form of sowing. Maybe that would be a practical way to sow seed from seedheads?

    #3. Chitter and the rocks. I have to smile. I am picking up the white quartz in the yard and the garden to use as a rock mulch under the ‘White By The Gate’ camelia but also for when our grandson visits. He likes rocks to. Chitter’s using stones from it lends new meaning to “Stamey Creek Creations”.

    #5. We keep our children young in our hearts. I’m not altogether sure just why. But it relates to what the bible says about “I sleep but my heart waketh.” They think we worry too much of course and will until they learn by experience. I still miss my little girl and little boy.

  • Reply
    Maxine Appleby
    April 17, 2018 at 8:19 am

    The word that describes 5 is ” Mother” those are the dearest memories a Mother can have.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I’m on my way outside because it isn’t raining (!!!) but just a quick comment about the bloodroot: remember when we discovered that your arbutus leaf looks like a different texture from the ones up here? Well, your bloodroot looks different, too! This is so interesting to me 🙂

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    April 17, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Chitter needs to search out some cadis fly larva in Stamey’s Creek. I bought my wife some earrings made from the stone cases their nymphs create! Each one is unique, and some are beautiful. (I’ve seen them kept in aquariums and supplied with colorful stone grit to create jewel like cases.)



    • Reply
      April 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Roger-thank you for the information! I’ll be sure to share it with Chitter 🙂

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Two years. Wow, that doesn’t seem right. My, the time has past. My Wife has the most incredible memory, she can remember things like way back when she was 2 years old and bring it up to her Parents to confirm it was so. But to remember to empty the lint out of the dryer trap is another subject that’s beyond me. She reads constantly, always has, when we lived in Decatur, at least once a week she’d go to the library and bring home an arm load of books, now days she has the internet, she has gotten on this genealogy quest, and found some really remarkable things about where her family tree started and came from, also my families trials coming out of Virginia down thru the Appalachians, just incredible stuff. When we first Married she crafted a lot, she drew portraits, made wedding veils, made all kinds of things for the house now days it’s just mostly reading, but her things she made are all over the house and reminds me of the days when she was able to do. One day you’ll see something and look back and remember those nights and days your Daughters made things and sung their songs played their instruments and that will bring another happy memory.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 17, 2018 at 5:52 am

    Number five, Tipper, it’s called motherhood…at it’s best!
    I always love your five things, it’s a little peek into how your mind works and I just love to watch it. You were blessed with such a beautiful mind and spirit, and I love all it’s manifestations!
    That’s such a precious picture of you and the girls….who knew knew of those machines could capture such beauty.
    Chitter and her rocks, it reminds me of me except all I did was collect them I never learned to create art with them.
    Spring is coming, even if it is 27 degrees this morning!

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