Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – By The Side Of The Road


Do you live by the side of the road? We do not. We live at the end of the road. When we travel, Chitter looks out the car window and wonders a loud how people could live by the side of the road. She thinks she would be scared-she says “everybody who passed by could see me and everything I do.” I tell her people are too busy they don’t care what people are doing-then she points out that we’re always looking at houses by the side of the road and wondering who lives in them and what they do. Maybe she has a point.

Funny-we feel safer cause we live in the boonies-but one time a girl who had recently moved to Hanging Dog told me she was terrified to be so isolated-she missed the safety of the people who populated her California suburb.

I like living at the end of the road-but sometimes I think the view from beside the road might be more interesting. I do know the view from the 2 chairs above is very nice, and they’re practically in the road.


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


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  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    July 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Love the blue chairs!
    We are delighted to to live up a 4 wheel drive road, a half a mile from our mailbox. No need for curtains!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Our home is on a corner lot, with two busy streets. A neighbor called me once and said “I hate to interrupt you watching House, but…” Yes, she saw my t.v. from her living room window. It really made me feel like I live in a fishbowl! Now the blinds are turned at all times so no one can see right in. Grew up in a house at the end of the road. No one could see in our windows and Mom never felt the need to install drapes. Ahh the good old days!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Where I grew up you could go five different directions from our driveway. It was out in the country in WV & three gravel/dirt roads merged onto the paved road right at our house. Our house at one time was a one-room country schoolhouse so that it explains it.
    We loved watching people go by. All the mailboxes from the three roads were in front of our house too so we got to visit daily with neighbors picking up their mail & the mail carrier making deliveries.
    Now I live at the end of a gravel road in Arkansas. I like the quiet privacy much more. As a mom, I don’t think I’d like all the traffic going by right by my front door.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I live in the suburbs right outside of a busy city. I like where I live but I know the air isn’t as crisp and clean as it should be. We have lots of neighbors but everyone is so busy. It’s true, we don’t look into other people’s homes… unless you go for a walk in the neighborhood in the afternoon… then you tend to take the time to mosey and be nosey 🙂

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    July 6, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Tipper: we live at the end of Garden st. with family on both sides, that is cousins , and my dear sister.we rarely have to worry about traffic,when someone wanders up our way, they have become lost, looking for their folks old homestead .one fella drove up one day in 1960,said he lived there in 1934. he drove up agin in 1984 , i happened to be standing near the same spot, needless to say we were both suprised. he suggested i should find something to do. k.o.h

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    July 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I am glad to know so many people are like me. When I was Chitter’s age, I loved to ride late in the afternoon or early evening and see the people in their homes. I’d make ups stories about them or imagine their conversations. For those few minutes it was like leaving my life and going into the lives of those strangers.
    I have lived at the end of the road where it was dark when I arrived home late in the winter. I hated to get out of my car if my husband wasn’t already there.
    I love where I live now. I have neighbors whose homes I can see, but they can’t see into my house nor I into theirs.
    I have wooods all around my house and all I ever see in those woods are deer – like yesterday when a couple of young ones played like puppies thinking no one could see them.
    I like being close enough to civilization now that I can get emergency care if I need it. My dog lets me know if a strange automobile enters my driveway.
    But those years at the end of the road were mighty wonderful years. My entire living and dining room had full glass windows and nothing covered them. We didn’t worry about privacy from the critters.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Could not, would not live on the side of the road! One of our favorite sayings when we’re out & about is, “Why, they live right in the road!” My mama says I take after my grandaddy who never saw a dead end mountain road he didn’t love. Back in the day when I was a single mom, I loved living in the woods & always felt safe. Here, on White Oak, anyone up to no good would have to contend with Mitchell, so we never have any trouble.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Lying in bed early this morning my thoughts inexplicably turned to the old men you used to see in England leaning on their gates and watching the world pass by. One man in our village even carried a chair down to the roadside and sat there most of the day. You don’t seem to see people standing watching anymore; they must all be inside watching daytime TV!

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    July 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Growing up we lived on a very busy street~traffic at all hours and lots of it. When my dad first bought the house there was very little traffic. ( I am number 11 of 12 so lots of time passed). Then when I moved away I moved to quieter street with hardly any traffic noise…I couldn’t sleep for the first month! My mom finally figured it out ~it was too quiet the traffic always lulled me to sleep. I ended up keeping the radio on to go to sleep! Now we live way out in the country and when I visit my dad~you guessed it the traffic keeps me awake! I prefer the country!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I live at the end of the road too,
    and on the old home place. Mama
    just loved the isolation and not
    being able to hear cars zipping by. I don’t think my folks could
    have handled the big city life. Although I managed being away for 20 some years for a higher education and career, there’s no
    better feeling than coming home.
    I love my friends and having some
    company, but I’m a bit of a loner.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I live in the middle of my property which sits betweem two county roads. Have one way in and a sensor placed to let me know if someone is here. Am as close to the neighbors as i want cause i love my privacy. Have been out here so long it’d be hard to live by a busy road again.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I don’t live at the end of the road or by the side of the road. Kinda in the middle. On the back side of my house it’s pretty isolated. But the other side looks through the trees at a neighborhood that was built after we bought our farm. Sometimes I am ready to sell the farm and find another piece of land and start over. Only this time I would build a house in the center of the land, instead of along the border. I don’t like the idea of people watching me. So I’m with Chitter on this one.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 5, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the song “I’d Rather Live by the Side of the Road” today, Tipper. It’s a song by that Albert Brumley (of “I’ll Fly Away” fame) wrote. The Country Gentlemen (and maybe others) recorded it. It would be a great one for the BlindPig crew to sing (hint, hint;-)
    Here are the first two verses and the refrain:
    Verse 1
    There are people who would rather live in splendor
    And brag about their silver and their gold,
    And people who would trade God’s promise
    For its glory to hold;
    There are people who would rather live in mansions,
    There are people who would rather live abroad,
    But I’d rather have a little log cabin
    By the side of the road.
    I’d rather live by the side of the road
    And try to point souls to the blest abode
    Than to be a king or a millionaire
    And live in mansions in bright array.
    I’d rather do a neighborly deed
    For a traveler here or a friend in need,
    I’d rather live by the side of the road
    And help some pilgrim along life’s way.
    Verse 2
    Ev’ry day I want to be a friendly neighbor
    And try to help somebody on the way;
    I want my life to tell for Jesus
    Ev’ry hour of the day;
    Take away my ev’ry thought of fame and fortune,
    Take away my ev’ry thought of rich abode
    And leave me just a little log cabin
    By the side of the road.
    Back when there weren’t a lot of folks in these mountains and everyone was fairly isolated, homes were often built close to the road (which might be nothing more than a sled road or even a footpath) so that they’d get a chance to talk to people when they came by.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    July 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I honestly don’t appreciate the “side of the road” thing. Many times, I’ve seen half million dollar houses perched near an interstate or main state road, when behind them lays a pasture, or what have you.
    For me, the traffic noise alone would defeat moving here at all. And, I can well remember from Princeton, NJ, the houses by the side of the road that had to errect concrete-filled pylons to discourage those inebriated passer-drivers who might otherwise have joined them in their living rooms.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    July 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

    For years now we’ve lived at the end of the road, or along the side of a dead end road, so bottom line is we’ve been quite isolated. I like it that way. It’s my own private paradise!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

    We live at the end of a road. If anyone ever comes down our road, we are all on the porch by the time they arrive to our house… We don’t get too much unannounced company, so we are always curious 🙂

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Tipper–I grew up beside the road and now live in a house beside the road–but with a difference. Both are dead-end roads, or as the city slickers call ’em, cul-de-sacs. That means there isn’t all that much pass-by traffic, and that suits me just fine. In truth, I’d be perfectly happy back of beyond, and my wife sometimes suggests I’m a recluse or misanthrope. In fact, on more than one occasion she has commented to the effect: “When you die, your tombstone ought to read ‘Jim Casada hated people.'” That’s not the case, but there are times, such as when I’m fishing or hunting, that I’ll take them in mighty small doses.
    As for the problem with vandalism or theft at remote houses, a good friend of mine whose house sits back in the woods all by itself put things just the right way when a fellow who was doing some work for him commented to the effect that he was mighty vulnerable. My friend replied that was one way of looking at it, but another way of seeing things was that he’d sure hate to be the fellow who met him on the way out after having been up to no good. He then pointed to the rifle in the truck’s gun rack and a pistol in the console.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sherie Rowe
    July 5, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I don’t mind living by the side of the road, but I do mind when people turn around in my driveway! Drives me crazy! You are correct, the view from the side of the road is the best part! Taking a load off and just enjoying what’s around you and watching the world go by…

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

    We live at the end-of-the-road also. Just last week I realized that our almost 2 miles-long, old-logging road hasn’t changed in 30 years. There are still only 4 homes and 3 families have stayed the same in 30 years. Only one of the houses has had new families to move in and out. I often think of that first family that moved in about 100 years ago. That was quiet isolation. We have the perfect neighborhood.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

    i much prefer end of road but have always lived by the side of the road, and she is right when we drive we look at all the houses and people and comment about how we can see right through their windows and through the house and even see people watching TV. then i say, don’t they know not to sit in there with the lights on and windows open? no privacy living beside the road at all

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Tipper, from your title for this post, I expected a reference to the old poem: “House by the Side of the Road”, by Sam Walter Foss.
    I remember it from my high school days; a class assignment where I was required to read and explain the poem.
    Foss preceded you by about one hundred years, but his works almost mirror yours.
    Thanks for the nostalgia!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 5, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Hey Tipper,
    We live at the end of the road, road…ha..The county road ends and our driveway starts…about 1/4 mile back we live at the end of that road…soooo if a car comes up the driveway they are either coming to see us or they have no business being there..ha
    If they are lost they have to either back all the way back to the county road or come all the way to the house and go around the loop back…no way to turn around. We have a “notifier” that lets us know when a car crosses the line from the county road onto our driveway to our house. It took me a while to get used to our country home..’cause when it gets dark it is dark..ha I’d rather live here than jammed up next to another house..we love our privicy..however, the land around us is being sold and built on so it is not as private as it used to be…
    I safer here then I ever did when we lived in the city the first year we were married…The only “varmits” to be afraid of are “two-legged” and those are met with a “smoker” if things aren’t on the up and up. Just ask the guys that got lost on the back of the ridge and came walking and talking thru the brush and briars at dark down our old stagecoach road right behind our house..(property is posted) “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, we got lost scouting deer!” My DH led them out to the main road..ha..they were very thankful to be walking out!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    July 5, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I never liked living along the road, though I mostly have. The one time I lived at the end of the road, I felt so much worse. The nearby woods became the place that I believed people were hiding and watching our every move! At least along side the road you see the people as they go by.. the woods.. they hid anyone that is there, those people just standing and watching.. and .. waiting. muahahahaha! (just playing with you!, but it was true!)

  • Reply
    misty taylor
    July 5, 2011 at 8:03 am

    This is a funny subject! After I moved here, I rented a HUGE house that was well hidden on 11 acres. Once, several of my students visited. They said that they would be terrified of living there by themselves. Not only because it was isolated but because the house was big. They said that there could be other people in it & I would never know.
    I explained to them that should there be someone else there, not knowing would be the best case scenario.
    I’m with Chitter on this. I used to live one block off Patton Ave. in West Asheville. I had a postage stamp for a yard & couldn’t look out my bedroom window without looking into the neighbors living room.
    I hated it & felt like I was in a fish bowl. My doors were always double locked and the curtains were drawn.
    Living in the boonies feels like I live away from the agenda of others, regardless of their intent.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    July 5, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I live by the side of the road – but it is a side road not the main one. It is relatively quiet and secure feeling – and sharing my porch swing with a friend is an amazing place to spend a few hours on a special evening.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    July 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I, too, am an ‘end of the road’ person. If a veicle comes in here, it is company or someone lost.
    In the past couple of years, I wonder about the safety, since i am often out here alone except for my dog… what if I fell or some how got hurt? then I read or hear about someone being hurt or killed somewhere else, bystanders not bothering to help, too busy recording on cameras or tweeting…
    I guess I will take the ‘end of the road’ and the grace of God.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    July 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I’m with Chitter. We lived up a hallow for my first 12 years and I was fascinated with other folks’ homes when we went to town. I would try to look in the windows to see how they lived. Later, I lived in town and it just drove me nuts. Too many people, to close to me. I still look in people’s windows as I drive by, I think we are all curious how other people live. I finally got to move back to a hollow and I’m so happy I did !!!!!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Chitter wouldn’t do too well at our house, which sits 20 feet off a main road between a hospital and a WalMart. I’ve often thought they should come up here for a while to see how the other half lives.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    July 5, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Around here, people who live in isolated places are the ones who have their houses broken into, especially in the weeks before Christmas.

  • Reply
    grannis little corner
    July 5, 2011 at 5:09 am

    We live by the side of the road, surrounded by pine trees and mayples. That’s the reason I room the time and investment to plant them. We truly enjoy our privacy, just not feeling on display, from every passer by.

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