5 Things Appalachia

5 Things


1.The other day Granny called and said there was the prettiest terrapin she ever saw in her yard and that I ought to get a picture of it. I told her I’d be there in just a bit. When I got down to the house Granny was still standing in the yard watching the terrapin as it watched her. I said “Well you didn’t have to stand there and wait on me.” She said she didn’t want it to slip off before I got there. Granny was right it was one of the prettiest terrapins I’ve ever saw.


2. A couple weeks ago we played in Helen GA. On the way back Chitter asked if we’d stop at the rock place on the side of the road. The Deer Hunter and I both sighed and rolled our eyes. He said “Do you know how hard it’ll be to get in and out of there? I’ll have to turn against traffic both ways.”

If you’ve ever driven through Helen GA on a Saturday in the Summer you’ll understand our reticence to stop. But who can say no to a cute girl like Chitter?

Amazingly we turned across traffic without a hitch there wasn’t even anyone coming. She walked around and picked up pretty much every rock on the place before she was ready to leave. As we got the car turned around to pull out I said “Well this ought to be fun.” Unbelievably there wasn’t a car in sight coming either way. As The Deer Hunter pulled out and headed us for home I said “Wow can you believe this? No cars either way?” Chitter said “Well I did pray.” It took us almost an hour to get through bumper to bumper traffic before leaving the city limits of Helen, but it wasn’t Chitter’s fault.


3. The state has replaced the first culvert on our road. It’s the place that typically floods after a really really heavy rain. They inserted some sort of new pre-fab culvert-it was huge! They did one side at a time leaving one lane for folks to get in and out. We heard the culvert was the very first of its type to be used in this part of the state. We also heard the men on the state crew were asking for the newly fixed site to be called the Jerry Wilson Bridge. I doubt they can get the naming pulled off, but I sure appreciate them thinking of it and I know we will always think of it as Pap’s bridge even though it’s technically not a bridge 🙂


4. Recently I was reading a book that mentioned Dwight Yoakam’s song “Readin’ Rightin’ and Rt. 23.” When Dwight first came on the scene back in the 80s Paul and I both flipped over his music. Even Pap liked his songs although he said his pants were too tight and he acted too silly while singing 🙂 Since the book jogged my memory I’ve been on a Dwight Yoakam listening kick. My favorites are among his early songs, but I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. Hillbilly Deluxe has a lot of the ones I love on it. I’m especially fond of “1,000 Miles,” “Smoke Along the Track,” “Mr. Johnson,” and “Little Sister.” You can go here to hear them for yourselves.


5. The Deer Hunter knows I love anything that’s old so when he comes across something he thinks I’d like he brings it home to surprise me. His latest gift was the two copper nails above that he discovered when dismantling a piece of Cherokee County’s history from 1926.


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  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Well thank you for showing the copper nails, and thank you to all the folks who wrote about their use – I learned something new today!
    I want to mention to Tamela and anyone else who has ever had the frustrating experience of trying to save a snapper by encouraging it to get out of the road: a few years ago, I learned the easiest method I’ve ever seen, and it works very well, and I always try to keep a plastic storage box in my truck for just this purpose. You just lay the box on it’s side between you and the turtle, and scoot it in little steps toward the turtle in the direction you want it to go. It’s amazing how readily the turtle will move the way you want it to, instead of rearing up and arguing the way they do if a person is confronting them directly. I don’t know if it’s partly the noise of a plastic box being shuffled along a road surface. My guess is that the turtle sees that big dark interior of the box as a giant open maw coming to eat them up! Anyway, it is the easiest, fastest, safest way I’ve ever seen to help a snapper make the right decision.

  • Reply
    Kathleen McConnell
    August 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    That really is a pretty turtle, you caught his eye just right! How I wish there was a “rock place” like the one you have shown! I think I could stay there all day!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I’m thinking those copper nails had something to do with a roof. I believe a slate roof is put on with copper nails but I wouldn’t expect one around Murphy? When the Old Soldier’s Home in DC was restored they discovery it had copper nails.

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Copper nails are sometimes used for copper roofing and flashing. Tile roofing too I think. Cupolas are often covered with sheet copper. Copper reacts with many other metals.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, let me tell you about rocks, my wife decides she wanted these rocks on side of this road one time, nothing doing until I turn around and load them in the back of our van, the problem was they weighed no less than 75Lbs a piece, and I loaded at least 6 of them, we were riding around the edge of Bankhead forest, people seeing us go by would have sworn we’d just ran off a batch of liquor, the way that van was squatting.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Do most “rock people” have September – or fall birthdays?
    I tried moving a wounded snapper out of the road this past spring. Even with 2 4ft 2X4s, it was so quick I finally had to give up. It had been wounded by county mowers and I thought it was trying to get across the FM to a tank but for some reason, it had decided to “rest” in the middle of the road. The good news is, later that day as I ran another errand, there was no smudge in the road; but I did mightily amuse a number of folks who got a good laugh at this fat white-haired lady in her grubbies trying to rescue an angry snapper. At least most of them slowed down for us!
    I used to have lots of reptiles and amphibians in my classroom. My husband felt like a white knight bringing my critters meal worms and crickets 😉
    Thanks for all your music suggestions – you are really expanding my listening repertoire –
    Maybe they could call it the Jerry Wilson Passage so as not to upset folks concerned that it is not really a bridge. That might be appropriate since he seemed like the kind of guy who could always give good advice for safe passage through life.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    “Well, I did pray.” Of course! One of those youthful faith and wisdom moments vs a parent’s everyday experience. Love it!
    I also agree with Ron about the road, the bridge and the beautiful setting, wishing to be transported. Enjoyed all 5 photos and vingettes including a young Dwight Yoakam.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 1, 2018 at 11:16 am

    One time I was picking Blackberries just at the edge of my yard and noticed a Beautiful Mountain Terrapin. He was eating Blackberries, the ones he could reach, so I stepped on some loaded vines so could get some big-uns like I was pickin’. I think he appreciated that, so I went on my way and finished filling my container. Before dark, I went back to check on him and he had eaten all the bent-over berries and done closed up shop for the night. My little dogs saw him and wouldn’t bother him either. They just wagged their tails. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Tipper, funny that you mention that. I see one on my way to work almost every time. I did this morning. My youngest grandson is crazy about them. He plays with them. He will keep them till they get sway
    I have a picture of him with one. I wish i could send it to you Tipper. It’s the cutest thing. When i tell him that i seen one, he will say Gigi, why didnt you get it for me?

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Gigi-glad you figured out how to send it-what cute picture 🙂

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I first heard about ‘Readin’ Rritin’, ‘Rithmatic and Route 23’ back in the 1970s as I passed through Lawrence County KY, a journey that lasted 9 years or so. The other side of that coin was that personnel managers from Columbus northward were guided by the saying “Never mind if he can read or write, if he’s from the mountains all he’s ever knowed was work…”

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I. I mowed over a terrapin the other day when I was trying to clear off to put up a fence. I wouldn’t have worried but I had the brush blade on. It was nestled down in a little depression so I expected to find eggs there but I didn’t. Despite the threat and all the commotion the little critter was reticent to leave. He/She/It had distinct markings and bright colors like yours.
    2. That alien looking craft in the background of Chitter’s rock picture, I see them all the time. They land on someone’s property, sit perfectly still for ten years or so then move to another place to repeat their action (or lack thereof) for another ten. Then it’s on and on in ten year increments they move until they are no longer recognizable. What are they anyway?
    3. Pap deserves much more than a culvert named after him but I’ll bet if you had asked him he would disagree.
    4. Never heard of Delight Yukum. He looks a little ssssweet to me!
    5. I wanted to buy some brass tacks for a project I had in mind. Went to every place within my driving range (not the golfing kind) to no avail. “Yeah we’ve got ’em!” “Are they real brass or brass coated steel?” “Well I don’t know!””Will a magnet stick to them?” “I don’t have a magnet.” “I do!” Click, they stick. “No, not real!” “But the box says brass and they look like brass?” “Nope, don’t want them! Thanks anyway!”
    I still haven’t found any genuine brass tacks. Are there any brass tacks for sale near you? After all if any place would have brass tacks wouldn’t it be Brasstown?

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Papaw-if I hear of any real brass tacks I’ll let you know. You’re right Brasstown ought to have them 🙂

  • Reply
    Marshall Reagan
    August 1, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Tipper Where are the girls going to be playing at labor day weekend? I always try to come hear them when we are camping at VOGEL .

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Marshall-we always enjoy seeing you that weekend! Here are the dates for Labor Day weekend: September 1, 2018 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel Park – Blairsville GA and September 2, 2018 @ 1:00 p.m. Mountain Heritage Festival – Blairsville GA. Hope to see you there!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 1, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Tipper, I bet Granny calls that a tarpin or tarpon. I have a hard time twisting my mouth around to say terrapin.
    I can relate to readin, rightin, and rt.23. As a small boy Dad moved us all to Columbus Ohi for a short time but then moved back to e.ky.
    I hope they name the bridge after your Pap.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Granny was right about that terrypin being right pretty.
    It’s a good thing my daughter wasn’t with Chitter as she looked at rocks or they would still be there.
    Pap should have a bridge named after him. Think of the times he crossed that culvert.
    Of course Dwight is one of my favorite singers. He was born just a few miles from where I grew up. I don’t think he ever got the credit he deserved.
    If The Deer Hunter could save all those nails from the site, he can cash them in and be rich. It’s a wonder the copper thieves didn’t get to it first.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    August 1, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Dear Tipper, I love rocks too, especially river rocks and quartz. My son made some walks and a patio out of river rock he collected over two summers. It turned out to be beautiful. One of my grandchildren attended a Bible school with a friend and their craft was a small board with river rocks and wooden branches glued on to it in the form of their initial. I was surprised how simple, yet beautiful, that craft turned out to be. The church is located along Chinquapin Creek, way back in the mountains, so the rock and branches were easy to get (and free). It would be a shame to live in these beautiful mountains and not develop an appreciation for all the different rocks and minerals.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 1, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Love that place. That road is a parking lot in the summer I understand why you would hate to stop

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 1, 2018 at 7:46 am

    When I was a boy (quite awhile ago) we painted the name “Tim” on a terrapin..(A real no-no we learned in later years.) For many years after that we would see Tim around the place.

    What do children do who live where there are no rocks? Chitter reminds me of our grandson who is also fond of rocks. He has made a Rock Island in his backyard. I’m kinda partial to mica and white quartz myself.

    Your picture of the Jerry Wilson Bridge location makes me want to move. Maybe it is the two-story white farmhouse back there on the left. Maybe it is the fact that there is only the one house in sight. Whatever it is, it tugs at me. Way too suburban around here.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 1, 2018 at 7:33 am

    That’s a right perky terrapin and he looks pretty with the background of bright green moss. I’ve always had a likin’ for terrapins. I just recently set one out of the road so he wouldn’t get run over.
    Never heard of copper nails. The Deer Hunter is a sweetheart, for sure!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 1, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Tipper–I’m a huge fan of Dwight Yoakam. Along with having a distinctive mountain voice–just a few lines and you know this guy’s got hills and hollers deep in his innermost being–he’s a first-right lyricist.

    As you probably know, Route 23 runs through Western North Carolina, and a lot of my high school classmates took that “Hillbilly Highway” to jobs in the automobile factories in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

    I’m guessing you read about Yoakam and “Readin’, Rightin’, and Route 23” in J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy.” I’d love to know what you think of the book (perhaps a future blog?). I found it a fine read, perceptive at points, but also so distinctly skewed towards negative sides of the hillbilly experience as to approach Kephart-like stereotyping at times.

    I like about anything Yoakam has written and sung, but for power and poignancy it’s tough to beat “I Sang Dixie.”

    Jim Casada

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