Appalachia Appalachian Writers

A Smoky Mountain Boyhood

A Smoky Mountain Boyhood

Christmas came early for me this year.

A couple of weeks ago Jim Casada sent me a copy of his recent book “A Smoky Mountain Boyhood – Memories, Musings, and More.”

I’ve known about the book for a good long time. Periodically Jim would tell me about a chapter he was writing or update me on the progress of the book’s completion.

I was excited about Jim’s book from the minute he told me about it. I’ve been a long time fan of his writings, especially the ones that relate directly to Appalachia. I knew having a whole book dedicated to his memories as well as the culture and heritage of Southern Appalachia would be a must have for someone like me who loves the region.

The early Christmas present came when I flipped through the book and realized there was a chapter about me—”The Angel of Brasstown.” You can’t see me, but I assure you I’m blushing as I type those words.

I still don’t hardly know what to think about ending up in Jim’s book. I’m pleased as punch, but I’m also humbled and honored.

Back when I first started the Blind Pig & The Acorn Pap and Paul teased me that I might be famous for celebrating Appalachia someday…but I’d probably be dead by the time it happened 🙂

Being in Jim’s book certainly doesn’t make me famous, but it does make me feel like my efforts of preserving and celebrating Appalachia have been validated by an established writer and historian of the region—and that feels like a true Christmas present.

The book is a great read for anyone who loves the Smoky Mountains, the Southern Appalachian Mountains, or Appalachia as a whole. The book is divided into four different areas: “High Country Holiday Tales and Traditions;” “Seasons of the Smokies;” “Tools, Toys, and Boyhood Treasures;” and “Precious Memories.”

There are over 300 pages in the book and a great collection of vintage photographs that are just wonderful.

“A Smoky Mountain Boyhood” would make a dandy Christmas present for someone on your list or for yourself! You can pick up a book directly from Jim. Email him at [email protected] for the details.

Jim has generously donated a copy for me to giveaway as part of my Thankful November series. Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway. *Giveaway ends December 7, 2020.

Two other great places to pick up a Christmas gift: Chitter’s Etsy Shop Stamey Creek Creations and Chatter’s Etsy Shop Corie’s Crotchet.


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  • Reply
    Judy Lee Green
    December 7, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    I am Tennessee-bred and cornbread-fed. I love Appalachian culture and history and can’t get enough of it. I enjoy Blind Pig and can’t wait to read “A Smoky Mountain Boyhood.”

  • Reply
    Susanna Holstein
    December 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Sounds like a good read, Tipper! And fancy you being featured in it–not surprising at all, but awfully nice.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Jim has a way with words. I would love to read his book, and I’m so glad you’re included in his latest endeavor.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    From what I’ve read of Jim’s writings he had many of the same experiences I did and many more. Or at least he remembers more of them. I forget about getting electricity, our first telephone [eight parties}, patching inner tubes because we couldn’t afford new ones and so much more until he writes about them. I would thoroughly enjoy reminiscing by reading his book.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Thank Jim for all of us for putting you in his book. You sure do deserve it. Your so kind and giving. Doing the Nov. Give aways. I love reading about about our Mountains and where we live and how we live. It’s good to learn and teach others.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    December 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    I love to read and especially this type of book. If I’m not lucky enough to win it I’ll order it from Jim!

  • Reply
    Allan Guy
    December 4, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    I would love to have a copy of Jim’s Book. My grandmother always told me our family was from North Carolina, but it wasn’t until I checked that I found we were originally from the Ashville area. Then my great-grandparents moved to the Missouri Ozarks. I’ve always had a heart for Appalachia and now I know why. I’ve supported the Christian Appalachian Project for years. Just out of dumb curiosity are Chitter and Chatter the girl’s real names or are they nick names?

    • Reply
      December 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Allan-they are not the girls’ real names 🙂 They talked so much when they were little (still do!) that my niece named them Chatter and Chitter 🙂 Their real names are Katie (Chitter) and Corie (Chatter).

  • Reply
    Sherry Dobbs
    December 4, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Tipper, I just watched Dolly Parton’s Her I Am Documentary about her life! I so appreciate our Fellow Mountain Folk. So much wisdom, talent, ingenuity in our People. Those who aren’t Mountain people often portray us as Backward. It’s good to see what I’ve always known to be True. Stellar Music, Stellar Blogs, Stellar Authors! Keep them Coming Tipper! And MERRY CHRISTMAS

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    December 4, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Jim’s book sounds like the perfect “getaway” for a girl who often tries
    to imagine what her life would have been like had she grown up in
    Appalachia. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 4, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Jim, I hope your book becomes an Appalachian classic, one of those books for generations yet unborn to go to and get the real story. I am much with Tipper about the ‘cardboard cutout’ versions. Every time I think of her expression I am reminded of those posterboard picture people at the old Mine 18 coal camp.

    Thanks for donating a copy for Tipper’s giveaway. I know that you knew that anyone of the BP&A readers would appreciate it. And your memories, your words and the labor of love to memorialize them is a great giving of yourself; a hand crafted, heart crafted, mind crafted sharing, which is also the same thing Tipper does and cause us readers to do as well.

    I think a great deal about what I call ‘the redemption of a common life’. By that I mean our span on earth, our physical life. I don’t mean “common” as a slur but rather as an emphasis on us each and all being in the fellowship of the human condition. I much expect your book tells of people you lived and worked and walked with who redeemed a common Appalachian life uncommonly well. And God knows the world needs to understand how to do that now as never before.

    As I tell people sometimes, “I’ll get off my soapbox now.” Reckon you all can tell these things matter to me.

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    December 4, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Although I have an inscribed copy of Jim’s newest book, one never has enough books, as the temptation to share with friends and family often leads to a hole in the bookcase!

    I grew up in the Uwharrie Mountains about a decade or so behind Jim. (Probably part of the last generation that will remember the family garden being plowed with a mule!) My Dad was in the CCC camp in Smokemont in the 1930’s, and I spent many family vacations as a child camping in the Smokies and listening to Dad’s stories of the new park’s early days.

    Unfortunately many of the creeks, hills and hollows I delighted in fishing and hunting as a child are now covered by housing developments, street lights, and yankees! Hopefully Appalachia can avoid that fate.

    • Reply
      Don Casada
      December 4, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Roger, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a bittersweet thing to those of us who grew up (and in my case, once again live) here. Gone are the old home places and sheltered communities. The Park Service, especially in its early days, showed no interest whatsoever, and in many cases disdain, for the cultural aspects – although they took a lot more care in that regard on the Tennessee side than here in North Carolina. But as you allude to, if there was no Park, much of the land in the Park would be gated communities with gaudy homes perched atop the mountains, contaminating the landscape. There would be no places where a mountain boy could fetch himself and be away from people and the noise they and their vehicles make to find the solitude that all of us badly need – whether realized it or not – and be alone in Creation with its Creator.

      • Reply
        Roger Greene
        December 6, 2020 at 6:32 am

        I understand that, Don. Especially when you find some vestage of those home places or early settlers when trying to find a speck up some mountain stream, or when you stand in an old burrying ground on some isolated ridge.

        Dad had some fond memories of those folks up there, although he did get run off from one mountain home by the mother of a young lady he dared to walk home after Sunday evening services at Smokemont Church!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 4, 2020 at 11:34 am

    You and Jim certainly hit the nail on the head with your honest assessment of our beloved area. Even though my family is from the mountains of Pennsylvania we are all one culture. Your memories are mine also and how fortunate we are to have been brought up with mountain values. Hard work and personal responsibility lead the list. So glad your hard work is being recognized. Can’t wait to read this book.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    December 4, 2020 at 11:16 am

    I would love to have a copy of Jim’s book! What a treasure it would be. I can’t wait to read the chapter about you.

  • Reply
    Carolyn Anderson
    December 4, 2020 at 10:54 am

    It is so nice to hear that your were recognized in the book. I know you put so much of work into telling people about the traditions and how important the people of Appalachia are to the world. I love reading about the people and traditions you write about. When are you going to write your book?
    I am looking forward to reading Jim’s book.

  • Reply
    Georgia Styer
    December 4, 2020 at 10:49 am

    What a wonderful tribute to such a nice lady! Can’t wait to get it! Thank you for being you.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    December 4, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I would love a copy of the book. It seems as if the lists and stacks of books “to read” grows larger the older I get, One would think otherwise.

  • Reply
    Mark Davidson
    December 4, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Years ago, when I first started studying southern Appalachia, I foolishly thought if I read OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS by Horace Kephart, that was all there was to know about these wonderful mountains and their people. Well, tens of thousands of pages later, numerous trips latter, hours and hours of conversation later, walking in these forests while “soaking in the mountains” as Cades Cove native Dr. Randolph Shields used his grandmother’s expression to describe it, and after hours upon hours of watching video; I’ve learned one thing . . . I still know just a tiny, finite amount about this awesome, ever- rewarding subject that gets “a holt of ya” and, as Jim Casada says, the “Angel of Brasstown” faithfully relates to the readers of The Blind Pig and the Acorn on a daily basis.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 4, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Even though there may be a bit of brotherly pride involved, I have to say that this is Jim’s best work. Most of Tipper’s readers will have seen articles by him that she has included in this venue will realize that he has a way with words. It is a gift which may date back to his time as a toddler. Mama often said “I thought Jim would NEVER learn to talk, but once he did, you couldn’t get him to shut up.” She said that teasingly, but there’s always truth behind a good tease.

    The first chapter I read was “The Angel of Brasstown” and to that I’ll just say Amen. Tipper, your relentless devotion to this undertaking is one which all of us greatly appreciate, but in another sense, I don’t think a single one of your readers – including me – can fully appreciate in terms of what it takes to do it day after day after day. Your work, and the determination I see among others of your generation, such as the young man, Heath Hyatt, who is doing some work on the 130 year old house Jim and I grew up in, answer with a resounding NO the question posed in another chapter of the book “Has the Stock Run Out?”

    Let me add something which is completely unauthorized by Jim, and he’d object if he knew I was going to say it – although I’m fairly sure he feels exactly the same way. If you decide to buy a copy of the book, it’s available on Amazon. But please, please don’t buy it from them, even if you’re an Amazon Prime member and get free shipping. That outfit is brilliantly conceived, but I’ll say it as straightforwardly as I know how – Amazon is a bloodsucker that is killing much of what those of us who love and celebrate Appalachia hold dear.

    In addition, if you order it directly from Jim, you’ll get an inscribed copy – even if you have a hard time reading his writing (he is almost at bad with his hen scratch scribbling as I am).

  • Reply
    Rebecca Layfield
    December 4, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Cant wait to read Mr Jims book!! I am so excited for him and for you too!! What a beautiful gift and shows that your work has not goon unnoticed!! God Honors faithfulness!! God Bless you and keep up the great work!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol Blackwell
    December 4, 2020 at 9:38 am

    I’m not surprised there’s a chapter about you, what a blessing. I would love to read it. Reading about Appalachia always makes me feel close to my daddy who has been gone since 1988.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Wonderful for Jim to publish the fruit of his labor of love! And you being highlighted in it – wow, just great to have both of you benefiting & encouraging each other ❗️❗️❗️

    Feels good to hear positive examples of the good in our world

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    December 4, 2020 at 9:19 am

    I look forward to reading Jim’s book. He is a most talented writer. I was familiar with his long time association with South Carolina Wildlife Magazine and the work he has done with writing about and publishing the previously unpublished works of Robert Ruark, the world-famous outdoor writer from North Carolina. Ruark’s best known work is the classic, The Old Man and the Boy, about his growing up on the coast in eastern NC. I did not realize Jim’s strong connection to Appalachia until I discovered it on the Bling Pig years ago.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 9:14 am

    It sounds like a wonderful book!

  • Reply
    Amanda Burts
    December 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

    How exciting to be included in the book. Sounds like a great read!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    December 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

    I’m reading the book now. I am amazed at the similarities between his boyhood and mine at a slightly lower elevation.

  • Reply
    Ed karshner
    December 4, 2020 at 8:57 am

    I think it’s so important that people outside our region hear from as many of us as possible. Jim’s book will be a great addition to that choir of Appalachian voices.

    Tipper, that is a richly deserved chapter. When I first found my way back home, your blog was the first thing I found and having the time of my life because of your work.

    We are enjoying your videos here, too!

    Oh, and it was a crazy crossover when your girls were interviewed by my good friend Lindsey Terrell!

    I love this corner of Appalachia!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Tell Paul you are famous in the eyes of your readers. The Angel of Brasstown is such a fitting title for you.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    December 4, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I would absolutely love to have a copy of Jim’s book. It just makes it more special to have a chapter about you.

  • Reply
    Wanda Gregory
    December 4, 2020 at 8:37 am

    I can’t wait to read this book.

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    December 4, 2020 at 8:31 am

    This is good news. You muchly deserve this.
    Jim knew it too. What I really like is how humble you are. Bask in the honor of The Angel of Brasstown.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Tipper, I am reading Jim’s book right now, but I haven’t got to the chapter about you. When I received his book and was looking at the chapters, I had a feeling this chapter would be about you. Even though I was raised and still live near the Princeton community in Greenville County, SC, I find that my childhood life was a lot like Jim’s except for the living in town and getting to trout fish. The nearest town to me even now is nearly 15 miles away. Reading his book keeps me hungry with his talk about all of the old time food. I even went and bought me some fresh pork tenderloin this week along with some fresh sausage.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Why would you not be in the book? You are the best ambassador that Appalachia ever had. Some tried, but failed miserably. because they wanted to portray Appalachia using the limitations of their narrow mind. You, dear Tipper, could see beyond the imperfect English and capture the heart of Appalachia like no other. There is so much integrity and depth to these wonderful people who have worked the land and raised their families. I saw it, and lived it as I visited the homes of so many of these wonderful people. Paul was able to see what impact you potentially could have. My granddaughter insists I watch Hillbilly Elegy. I dread it! I would absolutely love to win a copy of Jim’s book, as I know it will accurately portray this wonderful region.

    • Reply
      December 4, 2020 at 10:00 am

      I read Hillbilly Elegy, and I would not bother to see the movie. It does not portray the side of Appalachia that Tipper presents in her posts, and I feel it continues the stereotypes many people have when they think of Appalachia.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    December 4, 2020 at 7:41 am

    I love reading Jim’s emails when he sends them to me, I have always loved the outdoors myself but in my area they are not easily available for exploring since other people have abused the privilege by trashing up the places that I would like to travel around on because one person can wreck a good thing for everyone else.

  • Reply
    Teresa Menendez
    December 4, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Congratulations to Jim and Tipper! Thank you both for highlighting the great heritage of the region for us and for those yet to come.

  • Reply
    Tammy Howard
    December 4, 2020 at 7:12 am

    Can’t wait to get a copy of that book!
    Tammy Howard

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 4, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Glad you are included in the book….it is as it should be! Gotta get a copy! Maybe next trip to Bryson City..

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 7:03 am

    what an amazing gift for you!!!! Thank you Jim for including this angel in your book

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    December 4, 2020 at 6:58 am

    I read with interest the many stories you have shared about The Appalachia country that you are so proud of ….. Congratulations Tipper on being recognized for all your hard work thru the years! Well deserved.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    December 4, 2020 at 6:56 am

    I’m an avid reader. I’m sure I would love that book.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 4, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Congratulations Jim, on your new book and thank you for including Tipper in it. You have always been a support to her in your shared love of Appalachia and preserving the old ways!
    You both share not only your love of Appalachia but also an ability and willingness to articulate it!
    Congratulations again, Jim!

  • Reply
    Nancy Patterson
    December 4, 2020 at 6:43 am

    I am not surprised that you would be featured in his book. You are such a genuine person with the humility that God wants all of us to have. I wish you well in all your endeavors, and look forward to every post.

  • Reply
    Brenda Schenck
    December 4, 2020 at 5:38 am

    What a great gift. I’m sure you will cherish it!

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