Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Cataloochee

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Back In The Mountains

The Hannah Cabin-Cataloochee

I’ve had a sad story about a boy and girl running around in my head for months now-don’t worry it’s not true-at least as far as I know it’s not true-but it could be I guess. Isn’t that the amazing thing about stories-they seep into your consciousness and travel around under your skin-some stay a while and disappear while others stick around forever.

“I left him there back in the mountains To see the world riches to gain Oh when I returned no earthly treasure Could ease this heart so full of pain.” Ola Belle Reed

A few of you have been asking me about the video we filmed in Little Cataloochee Baptist Church-it’s almost finished-and that’s the story that’s been doing laps in my head.


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


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  • Reply
    July 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

    love that cabin and love back in the woods and wish i were there

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    July 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    The sad tale that stays with me is from the 1960s, The Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley.” Used to re-play it at 1:00 in the morning, working on a term paper. Years later I realized that Kingston is the seat of Roane County, Tennessee, where great-great granddad was born, as well as of Jamaica.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Loved the picture of the old cabin-Mitchell’s parents raised 12(!) children in one very similiar. Can you imagine? As for your story, tell it. I was talking to my dad shortly before he died about the stories in my head & the encouragement I had been receiving to write. He said, “Oh, you NEED to-the clock doesn’t tick backwards.” Wise man.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    One story that rolls around in my head often is when, as a practical joke, I locked my Great-Granddad in the outhouse on a hot July day. I intended to go back to let him out as soon as I heard him banging on the door to get out, but in the ways of a 4-5 year old child, I wandered off and forgot. A while later (a long while later), Great-Grandma missed him and went looking for him. By the time she found him, he was hot, sweaty, stinky and angry as a wet hen because a hornet had been threatening him the whole while he was in there. I probably would have been safe, but he heard me giggle as I swiveled the wood block to lock him in, and he stormed down the path looking for me, with Great-Grandma trailing behind trying to cool him down with calm words. Didn’t work! Soon as he saw me, he jerked me up by the arm, gave me a good solid whack on the bottom, and tramped into the house. There were a lot of people there because it was a family reunion, but you could have heard a pin drop except for my howling. Many years later, dad told me GGdad went into the house, into his bedroom and cried because he had swatted me and I was so little. Funny the things one remembers, isn’t it. LOL
    Love you all.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I just love that little cabin!
    Wish I had one of those on the farm.
    A couple of years ago, not far from me, someone re-done a little house and put up a rough picket fence in the front yard. I just absolutely loved that little place. Then it was torn down and big ole fancy house was built. Broke my heart!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I love the picture of the old cabin; wouldn’t you love to go inside? Bluegrass songs are great!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Seeing that ole house brings back
    the memories of when I was young.
    I’ve been inside those old houses,
    some abandoned, some with folks
    living there. They all seemed to
    have the perfect shade and that
    cool mountain water nearby. And at
    night the chitty-dids and crickets
    can wipe out even the sounds of an
    I’m looking forward to your new
    video and singing of Chitter and
    Your inagination of the missing
    spark blog where you could just see some dark figure lurking in
    woods, waiting to steal Pap’s
    spark plug about did me in…Ken

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    July 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Just like the song “The Old Home Place” by JD Crowe. I’ve always thought it was one of the saddest bluegrass songs.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    July 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Tipper, We look forward to the video knowing that you all know where the real riches abide.
    Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Since the boy and girl have been living in a corner of your mind for a good while now…their story must beg to be told.
    Back in time, when people had such a difficult journey traveling that narrow and steep road out of the Cataloochee Valley, they surely had to be determined to ‘go see the rest of the world’.
    How sad, and how true that whatever they were searching for probably was within their hearts and souls…not in another physical location.
    If you haven’t written fiction, maybe it’s your time to.
    Have the boy and girl got names?
    When you bring them to life, I know that your readers will be anxious to meet them.

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    July 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Tipper, once “A Bunch of Wiregrass” was completed, ready for the printer, I planned to get more sleep.
    It didn’t work out that way; I am still awakened several times each week, with a new story idea driving me crazy.
    I’m not able to get back to sleep until I get out of bed, go to the office, boot the laptop, and open the folder titled, “Story Ideas”.
    Once I put a tentative title to the idea, and type in the stuff that wouldn’t let me sleep, I’m wide awake, so I get a cup of strong coffee, and work for several hours.
    Most of the stories I have written came to me in this way. It’s a good thing that my only responsibility is the raised garden bed plus two upside-down tomatoes, which requires fifteen to twenty minutes twice a day.
    I am guilty of looking forward to the wake ups, for the work involved in writing and research give me pleasure and a reason to get going each day.

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    July 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Tipper: Can’t wait to see the video! I loved the notion of Ole Belle Reed’s ‘thoughts’ which might have not been as dreary as we imagine!
    August 12-14 is the Ole Belle Reed Festival up in Lansing (Ashe County). We have hiked up there before and it is a refreshing place with lots of trails for biking! The VA Creeper Trail running along an old rail line takes you into some wonderful mountain country!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Yes, I agree with B. Ruth. The stories run around in your head until they are some how resolved. I’ve even had dreams that were somehow completed in awake time.
    I like what you said, they seep into your consciousness and travel around under your skin-some stay a while and disappear while others stick around forever.
    The ones that stay some how found a mirror to live in.
    Very thoughtful, Tipper, I like things that make me think!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Bet you didn’t know that you’ve become my travel agent. True, it is only mind travel but, I guess that’s the best kind. Whenever I start to read your blog, I wonder where I’m going today!
    That gorgeous picture started my mind trip this morning. You (I’m sure by now) know how I love the high country. I can close my eyes and be there in that quiet, green mountain side in an instant.
    In 1892 the poet William Butler Yeats wrote a poem about “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”; he was writing about a lake isle but that also applies to the mountains for me. In the first stanza he writes:
    I will arise and go now, and
    go to Innisfree, and a small
    cabin build there of clay
    and wattles made; nine bean
    rows will I have, a hive for
    the honey bee, and live alone
    in the bee-loud glade.
    If you ever see this poem, you’ll love it. He relates how I feel about that picture in the mountains you have given us.
    Remember that old song by James Taylor, “I’m going to Carolina in my mind” well this morning while everything is still quiet, I’m going!
    Thanks for the trip Tipper!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Am looking forward to the video. Like the pic of the old cabin. Always think if only “the walls could talk” or “a tree could talk” what tales it would tell. I try to vision things that could have happened only to realize i probably will never know.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 15, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I am looking forward to the video…
    I know what you mean about stories running about in your head. I think they stay there until we solve the thought or it solves itself somehow…
    You know the song could mean anything that we attempt to gain when it was in front of us the whole time…The sorrow being that we lost in an attempt to gain in the thought that the greener pasture never existed but was here with us all the time…Does that make sense..
    Philosophy 101..ha
    Thanks Tipper,

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