Appalachia Games

A Memory of Violets

“My grandma taught me how to fight roosters with violets when I was just a little girl. I was always excited every spring when the violets started blooming and then I would bug her to play with me. There was a big bank of violets that we had to pass on the way to and from the garden where we spent so many hours everyday and bless grandma’s heart, she always took the time to play with me.”

Kimberly Burnette-Dean

If you’ve never heard of fighting violets go here.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 30, 2018 at 8:04 am

    After one doozy of a winter, my heart leapt up when I saw the violets starting to bloom all over our woods this past weekend. Tiny little round leaves are starting to peak out of the ground around the house, too. Soon we will be covered up with “weeds.” Neighbors all shaking their heads at me for not ridding myself of violets (both purple and white), johnny jump-ups, and dandelions (which I always snip before they get to the blowin’ stage). To them they’re all just weeds. Of course, they think we’re a little crazy for not cutting down all our trees and planting grass. Sigh.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 29, 2018 at 1:03 am

    I often wonder how children today can really enjoy childhood without sipping honeysuckle nectar, or catching June bugs, tying them on white thread so they can fly in circles…How about those big grasshoppers and watching the spit come out after feeding them a big plantain leaf while you hold it…Then of course there are Maypop (passion fruit) fights in the late summer…Popping off the ends of those long green Plantain pods at each other and making bug nests with them. We also had rooster fights with violets but would rather save them for a make do flower arrangement in a baby food jar in my playhouse. Daisy chains, white clover chains and making fairy houses with that soft green moss…those were the summer days. Not counting doodle bugs. Oh and by the way we caught lightening bugs every evening, put in a jar and in the freezer back in the day and sold for real money on Saturday collection day…Took a lot of lightening bugs to make five dollars…All these childhood memories don’t include the daily softball and roller bat games, evening kick the can hide and seek game….but that was after the lightening bugs flew higher in the trees… Too much organization today…no street roller skating down sidewalks with clamp on skates and the key hanging around your neck…No carefree bicycle riding on the highway or going to the store for Mom and putting the bread and burger in the bicycle in the basket….and heading back with a three cent sucker…payment for the trip for Mom…
    All I ever see it seems it timed ball games, kids with bent thumbs and square phones or pads in there faces….They sure are missing a lot of fun these days…
    Thanks for the memories Tipper,

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    My brothers and I use to fight Violets too, brothers notice things also. And one time my oldest daughter was up at the house with her husband and the two girls, and touch-me-knots were in bloom near the creek. (Girls love to play in the creek) When my daughter showed ’em how they burst open at a touch, they both were amazed. …Ken

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 9:18 am

    My grandchildren have all learned the art of rooster fighting from me, but they prefer to leave as many as possible so I can make violet jelly. I got that recipe here on The Blind Pig along with their favorite, Dandelion jelly. I made one batch of jelly with some mighty puny looking flowers from my yard that were far and in between. And then I visited my grandson and couldn’t resist picking the big fat flowers in his yard to make another batch of jelly. They love it and have proven that by eating it right out of the jar with a spoon and no bread. Making jelly and memories at the same time.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 28, 2018 at 8:36 am

    “Roses are red,
    Violets are purple.
    Sugar is sweet,
    And so is maple surple.” Roger Miller ~ Dang Me- 1964

    I was 14 then. I’m 7 going on 6 now!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 28, 2018 at 8:30 am

    New one on me. Never knew violets to be called roosters or to fight with them. I had lots of violets awhile back but they are all gone now. I keep thinking I will candy a bunch sometime but I have no idea how I would use them.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 28, 2018 at 7:44 am

    That brought back a lot of memories. I had forgot about that one. I asked my wife if she ever done that and she said she had but not much because she loved violets too much.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 6:55 am

    I’ll have to say never heard of it until I read it on the Pig. See you can teach an Ole Dog new Tricks.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Rodriguez
    April 28, 2018 at 6:33 am

    We have wild violets all over the farm where I, & my ancestors before me, live but I’ve never heard of the “fighting roosters” game. Growing up we did find ways to entertain ourselves like making the daisy chains or holding the yellow dandelion flower under our chin, just lying flat on our bellies watching a colony of ants take their prize to the nest or unearthing doodle bugs, making out the shapes in the clouds while lying on our backs in the cool grass on a hot summer day. Slipping off to the fishing hole or sitting up in the apple trees eating green apples with a sprinkling of salt from Grandma’s salt shaker that we’d spirited off her table. Often, the grown-ups made their own work fun so we’d join in. Like who can pull the garden weeds the fastest & get to the end of the row first!? Or who will win the quarter for finding the 5th bean in a butter bean shell!? A rare find but we’d keep at it. Sitting under the shade of the trees, a family, all talking, smiling, laughing … joys, pure & simple.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paule
    April 28, 2018 at 6:30 am

    Violets are such pretty gentle flowers it is hard to imagine that anyone would have t hought of fighting eith them.

  • Leave a Reply