Appalachia Through My Eyes Sayings from Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A Whistling Girl

I’ve always heard a whistling girl and a crowing hen come to no good end. Good thing I don’t have a crowing hen because I sure have a whistling girl actually I have two.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Sandy Barnett
    June 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks Tipper for this post! I enjoy all your posts but this one has reminded me of so many things from “home”. One I haven’t seen posted yet but was one of my Mother’s favorite of bragging people was,
    “Self brag is half scandal”. Thanks again for the smile and the pleasant memories of home!

  • Reply
    Kent Lockman
    June 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Tipper, my grandmother told me that her mother often said: “If you live through March, you’ll live another year.” Scares me. All my health maladies seem to hit me in March.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2011 at 7:28 am

    David-no it wasn’t dark-she was mad at me for flashing a camera in her face though : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Douglas Lamb
    June 16, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Two from one of my favorite mentor types are my most used today. CHARLIE PERKINS said as one leaves the room obviously headed for the bathroom, “wash your hands when you’re done, we’re having popcorn after a while”. And…… the chance for rain is always 50/50, either it will or it won’t. As for whistling, My youngest daughter, in her pre-whistling skills to meet the competition of her older siblings had such a shrill squeal one had to look closely ar her lips to know what she was doing.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    June 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Tipper: sing at the table ,whistle in bed, the devil will get you before your dead. not true. k.o.h

  • Reply
    June 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    My mother would say, when left palm it, a letter is coming to you. If right palm itch, money is coming to you.
    My Dad whistled all the time and still does but just not as much. I always loved it and wished I could whistle like him. My mother told us girls it was unlady like, so I would always try when she wasn’t lookin’ 🙂

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    June 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    How about a goal-setting truth: You can’t plow a straight row looking at the plow.
    Of course, an old standard hocum: Pee in your path and you’ll get a sty in your eye.
    Another standard: A fool and his money are soon parted.
    As for the whistling girl: She must be able to see at night like a cat; her pupils are as big as her irises. Was the picture taken in a very darkened room?

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I taught a woman who was my shared my office where I worked many years ago how to whistle. She had never been taught how to whistle as most of had been taught as kids. I then had to endure listening to her trying to whistle all day! I guess that also reminds me of an old saying, “no good deed goes unpunished!”. I think that saying was by Oscar Wilde.
    John Pallister
Twitter @PointlessPicks

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    June 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    You can’t put a gallon in a thimble no matter how fast you pour.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Just got back and reading some of these posts has made me think of a few more sayings or beliefs.
    1. Staring deeply into the eyes of a black cat when the moon is full can bring on madness or a total loss of traction.
    2. My aunt always said that you should never tickle a baby’s feet because it would cause them to stutter when they grew up.
    3. Never jump off the back porch if you have the Mumps because they will fall on you (bummer)!
    4. Never drink a Coke and eat a piece of watermellon before going to bed because this could seriously kill you.

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    How about “busy as a one armed paper hanger’ as my Dad used to say.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    June 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Well, a few of my favorites, from my mom.
    “It’s better to have a canopy over your bed than a can of pee under your bed.”
    When someone calls on the phone and won’t say anything you may catch her say,”Speak ass, your mouth won’t.”
    In regards to a sissy or femine man she woudl say, “I bet he squats to pee.”
    My mother-in-law said, “He’s tighter than Dick’s hat band.”
    If two people didn’t walk around the same side of a pole she would say. “Bread and butter.”
    My great uncle said, “It was blacker than three devils.”
    “She was about three axe handles wide.”
    “Go piss up a rope.”
    “Shoot fire and save your matches.”
    When getting in his car,”All aboard, and if you can’t get a board, get a plank.”
    My great grandmother’s old saying,”If you’re sick enough to go to the hospital you start digging the grave.”
    My mamaw said, “If you hear a dove it means it’s going to rain.”
    And my own, “I can either put the fear of God in ye, or beat the hell out of ye. Take yer pick.”

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I enjoyed the sayings from all the
    commentors. Can’t think of any that hasn’t already been said. Nice picture of that girl a ‘chitterin’…Ken

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    A wise old owl sat up in an oak.
    The more he saw the less he spoke.
    The less he spoke the more he heard.
    Why don’t you be like that wise old bird?

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    My Dad always told me that saying when my whistling would get on his nerves…especially when I whistled at the table. Thanks for posting that…it brought back fond memories.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I had a buddy from NC who used to always say to a good idea…”that dog’ll hunt”.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    This is my last comment I promise..maybe…
    Jeff…I loved your old friends sayin’….
    I had a old friend that would say after askin’ how he was doin’..
    “Well, I’m finer ‘n frog hair and good’ern th’n snuff.”
    Like your friend, I’d say that’s a feeling purty good!
    Thanks, Tipper

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    My Grandmother and Aunt used to say..if a bird flew to the window..”If a bird pecks the window someone will die.” I was a child then and I tried my best to keep the birds away from the windows…
    Miss Cindy…I had a Great, Great Aunt that was never off her rocker (pun intended)..she rocked, rocked and rocked…and died at 103 in the HOME! If you know what I mean! She had a slight wobble on her rocker but she lived a long time! ha Toss that decision around… rock or live a long time…ha
    I crochet as much as I can..Ha but don’t rock or swing much since the storm laid our tree down that held the swing!I’m not sure it is helping me…duh!
    Just love this post..and all the sayin’s and superstitions…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    June 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Grandpa also said “Beauty is only skin deep..but ugly is to the bone”

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 11:43 am

    My favorite uncle that I told about sometime ago (the one that was saved from the mad dog at the country store by his dog) used to have a saying whenever he felt embarassed or uneasy at some place. He would say, “I felt about as out of place as a one-legged man at a “Butt kick’in'”.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    June 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

    tipper i love to whistle and my granddaughter whistles all the time.. and i love it.. for some reason i get happy hearing the sound.. and it reminds me of simpler times in life and just being yourself… does that make sense?

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    June 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

    It is so funny you have that saying up there ! I have only heard my Grand pa say that. I would tell my daughter that when she learned how to whistle when she was five(she whistled through a small gap in her front teeth) So she said “what if I only whistle church songs?” she proceeded to learn In The Garden and whistled that at her school’s talent show! She got a standing ovation! She is 20 now~ and can still whistle…but only church songs! LOL

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Here’s three of my favorites.
    “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
    And along the same lines, “It’s hard to stick a foot in a closed mouth.”
    I grew up around an old man who almost always replied the same way every time you asked how he was doing. He would always say, “It’s all chicken but the bone, and that’s chicken right on.” Sort of an old timey way of saying it’s all good!

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    June 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Someone said “I don’t whistle because I’m happy. I’m happy because I whistle.” They’re happy! And they whistle quite well! And that makes you a “Whistler’s Mother”!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Cucumbers Tipper,
    Of course that misspell on my previous comment should be crowing…oops..not growing, even though I was growing at the time Grandmother said it…ha
    Granny cucumber sayin”…
    If you smell a cucumber, it’s more than likely a snake lurky around so watch where you step!
    Speaking of cucumbers…
    We got four pretty little cucumbers just the right our test plants..would you believe three off the bad day and one off the good day…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    My one home girl whistles too! No old saying for you today though

  • Reply
    canned quilter
    June 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

    My own Baby O as a little girl walked around whistling all the time! Her grandmother constantly was telling he that saying : )

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Tipper–I always heard it a bit differently: “A whistling woman and a crowing hen, always come to some bad end.” The sentiment, of course, is the same.
    As for mountain sayings, they are common as pig tracks (that’s one for you). How about other (similes) comparisons using the word as:
    Slick as a mole’s behind.
    Sharp as rat pills.
    Bald as a baby’s behind.
    Bright as a new penny.
    Tight as a miser’s fist.
    Soft as peach fuzz.
    Hard as a rock.
    Long as a country mile.
    Sweet as honeysuckle.
    Sour as a green persimmon.
    Everyone of the above are common usage for me, and they are a mere starting point.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    June 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Apple cider, ‘simmon beer
    Black cat spit in the yellow cat’s ear…

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I have been a whistling girl now old woman my hold life, daddy and his sister both whistled all day long, and when i was about 7 or 8 i learned to whistle and now i drive my hubby crazy. i whistle what ever tune pops in my head from old hymns to jingles that i hear on the TV and dont know I am hearing them. my aunt Helen would put on her apron, go in the kitchen and clean and bake and wash dishes and she whistled the whole time she was in there, old hymns. you are blessed to have 2 whistling girls.
    my quote from my mother
    “if wishes were horses, all beggars would ride” she said that to me every time i said I wish

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

    The whistling girl and growing hen was the one of the first sayings I heard my Grandmother say to me as a child…and I was trying so hard to learn how to whistle…ha
    Red sky at night sailors delight,
    Red sky at dawning (morning) sailor take warning…
    Beware of people who don’t like cats!
    Go in the same door as you went out!
    A saying I made up to tell my Grandkids…”Always look for a three-leaf clover and you’ll surely find four”..and they always reply Awww, Mammaw!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Donna Frano
    June 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Well, I don’t know where this one came from, but my Mamaw used to say it to us –
    If you lie down with dogs you’ll rise with fleas.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

    My mother, their great-grandmother, was a whistler.
    It used to drive me crazy.
    Speaking of crazy if you rock, crochet or swing you’ll never go crazy.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    June 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

    “The early bird gets the worm” “Nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs”, “red sky in the morning, means rain before dark”

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    June 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Well.. sticking with the act of whistling.. they used to say whistling was for men folk to do and for a female to do it meant that they were unladylike (sorry twins!) That would explain why the old saying is going on about hens and women whistlers!
    I also know from 20 years of community theater that it is very bad luck to whistle in a theater! That’s about it for today!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I acquired this one from an old Irish fellow about 40 years ago, “A wink is as good as a nod to a blind mule”. Over that time it has served me well.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 15, 2011 at 7:55 am

    my great-grandmother kept telling me “pretty is as pretty does” — I don’t know why she kept repeating it!!!! 🙂
    by the way – I see you have a clone, the whistler looks uncannily like your picture.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

    An old saying from my childhood: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    June 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I’m always quoting that one myself!
    I used to get sores on my tongue sometimes as a kid, and if I told Grandma I had a sore on my tongue, she told me it was because I had peed in the middle of the road (although what that has to do with a person’s tongue, I have no idea).

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Only thing that comes to mind is my mother telling us not to sing or hum at the dinner table as it was bad luck. Hah! How funny.

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