Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Cell Phones

My life in appalachia - Cell Phones
More than once I’ve wondered what my Papaw would think about cell phones. I’m positive he’d have an insightful thought or 2 on the subject.

The Deer Hunter has one-he needs it for work-but its also useful too call his parents and friends who live out of town-since they too have cell phones with the same carrier-the calls are free-but you know how all that works I’m sure.

Me-I don’t have a cell phone. For one thing they’re expensive-for the other-if I had one I wouldn’t even be able to go to the grocery store without The Deer Hunter, Granny, or BOTH calling me.

Oh I have one of those trac phones that Granny bought me-you know so if I’m accosted between Hayesville and Brasstown I can make a quick call for help-Granny’s a worrier.

All you have to do is ask the girls or The Deer Hunter and they’ll tell you-its pointless to try to call me on the phone-if I remember to take it-I usually don’t have it turned on. Actually, I haven’t a clue where its at right now-I know I haven’t used it since September-so that tells you I’m not very experienced with the whole cell phone phenomenon.

The girls both have walmart phones they bought themselves-they only use them for texting-you can’t call or receive calls on them. Each month they buy a 10 dollar unlimited texting card with their money-and thats how they roll. And let me telling you-the sound of incessant texting is the most annoying sound I have ever heard on this Earth.

The other night I realized what a cell phone novice I really am. After the Veteran’s Day program at the girls’ school, Uncle Henry pulled out his cell phone and entertained us with videos and funny pictures he had on it. Uncle Henry has a cell phone and knows how to use it-that pretty much sums up cell phones in Appalachia.


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


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  • Reply
    November 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I admit I can’t do without a basic cell phone, I like to be prepared for a medical emergency or truck break down on a quite road. I find that Tracfone has the best coverage out in the mountains or coast to coast because Tracfone uses the major networks.
    We’ve already had one of our colleagues break their ankle on a hiking trip a few years ago and the men had to take turns carrying the lady quite a distance to the car. We vowed to never go without a cell phone again. Tracfone’s real cheap, you get a decent simple phone for $10 and service for $7/month. That aint harm done to the budget.

  • Reply
    November 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

    We have cell phones here. The Captain needs his for work.
    Boo uses his to keep in contact with his friends via text.
    And they are afraid that I will need one and not have one. They are worriers. LOL

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    November 22, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    My husband & I are still in the Dark Ages – neither of us have a cell phone. I unplug my land line phone half the time – I’m such a hermit! I just hate talking on the phone. I love communicating face-to-face or through email but that’s it.
    I do think we’ll break down & get one soon though, so I can keep up with my son. He will text me but nothing else – he texts my email address & I reply now. I also want to know how to text before I have grandchildren so they will communicate with me. It is strange that I love computers & the internet so much but hate cell phones – but I pretty much hate all phones whether they’re attached to me or not. I think they give people permission to be rude & careless.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    What I dislike is when a cell phone rings in church and the person actually answers it.

  • Reply
    Kristina in TN
    November 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

    It’s funny you should blog about cell phones this week. I finally caved in to family pressure and got a Trac phone to use when I’m on the road alone. It gives my family peace of mind, so that’s good. I hate the tiny buttons and find the thing to be as cantankerous as a grumpy old man. I had to send my first text message this week – what a pain! I’ll continue to avoid texting as much as possible. Sometimes old-fashioned is good!

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    November 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    It’s funny to see who’s technologically advanced and who isn’t! I only have a cheap phone and sometimes feel kinda dumb, since I don’t have a “smart phone”, lol!

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    November 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Well, I’m old and I’m a hillbilly but I like my cell phone! On any given day I know what most of my siblings are doing thanks to Text. I hate to disagree with the horseshoe-pitching Casada, but I have found cell phones to be a significant enhancement to meaningful human interaction! I got one for me and one for my daughter when she was in the sixth grade so I could keep up with her and she with me. It worked. She is overseas now and I talk to her more in a month than I was able to talk to my Mother in all the years I spent gone. You guys don’t know what you’re missing! Facebook and Skype are great too….and if you haven’t tried it “color” TV is unbelievable!! When I don’t want to be bothered I turn the phone off. And I got rid of the land line 8 years ago.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Tipper, we just got a cell tower in near our Farm so our cell phones work out here, inside and outside and not just “by that one willow tree down by the pond in front of the house, nope, nope right there”. Unfortunately it is too late for Dirt, he is anchored to the land line too much now to give it up in exchange for cell phones. When we first moved here, before cell phones, our phone was long distance to everyone. Everyone I knew or did business with any way, that’s for sure. So cell phones would have been great then. And really for me a cell phone instead of a land line still would be better. I kill all cordless phones within a year, and they don’t go very far from the base anyway because of all the metal roofing. I’m not inside enough and I don’t like dealing with answering machine messages. But Dirt’s in charge and like you he barely turns his phone on. I use mine but mind you I don’t text nor do I play games or take pictures on it (I do have my cheap side).

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    November 21, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I, too, am of the ‘anti-cell’ persuasion. I have a tracfone and we put minutes on it when we are going to be ‘gone’ for a few days of travel.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    November 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Phone use in appalachia? Here is a tale that goes way back…When my daddy first entered the Army Air Corp in the 30’s he was sent over on an errand to an office. The phone rang and the busy officer ordered my daddy to answer it. Well, don’t you know, that East Tennessee boy was afraid to pick it up for fear that thing would shock him. We still get a good laugh out of that! Fast forward many years and my daddy redeemed himself by teaching me how to use email (he was 80 at the time). At the age of 93 he has managed to avoid a cell phone, but he is pretty handy with the land line!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Our dad probably wouldn’t think much about cell phones. I remember when “call waiting” became available. He hated hearing the beep in his ear and called customer service to have it turned off. The lady said something like, “Then what will happen to people who try to call you when you’re on the phone?” Dad said, “They’ll get the busy signal, just like they have for years, and it will tell them they need to call back another time.” ROFLOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Phyllis Schmitz
    November 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Just love the music on this site.
    Am a member of a senior citizen band in our little community and
    your selection is wonderful and
    appreciated each day.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    November 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I have a cellphone, have had one for years and really dont’ think I could do without it. Especially since my daughter is out of state. It helps keep in touch and sending pictures are wonderful!
    I have a question about a previous post, you mentioned a ‘holy smoke cake’. what is that?

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Don’t have a use for a cell phone!
    All that texting stuff just causes
    me to walk away. I even hate that
    caller beeping, happens just after
    you reach your party, always.
    Anyway if a haunt catches me it’ll
    turn me loose come daylite…Ken

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I too refused to get a Cell Phone to start out with because as Chief Deputy I always had a Police Radio in my private vehicle which messed up many a day off and I felt the cell phone would be a continuation of the “Rope around my neck”. However now as a Professional PaPaw on call 24/7 to pick up Grandchildren from various venues I now rely on my cell. However I feel that Cell Phone use should be forbidden when driving. I have been runout of the road more than a hundred times by drivers with their phones stuck in their ear. Testing in NY State showed that people driving and talking on cell phones were comparable to drivers with a .10 Blood Alcohol. Many states have banned the use while driving but NC Legislators refused to do so several years ago with the majority of those opposed to the ban citing that they needed to be able to use their phones while on the road. All that tlls me is that they value their importance more than they do Human Life.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 20, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Tipper—While your blog today might be a bit of a stretch when it comes to Appalachia-related material, it did touch something between a nerve and a responsive chord with me. I detest cell phones and refuse to own one of those technological umbilical cords.
    I don’t know which is worse—someone talking on one loud enough for everyone within 20 yards to hear half of the conversation or one with a particularly irritating ring going off in the midst of a talk.
    Call me a Luddite if you wish, but I avoid them like an active yellow jacket’s nest or a rattlesnake. My wife complains about what wonders they would work if I fell out of a tree stand deer hunting or something like that, but I remind her that in most of the places I hunt there wouldn’t be reception anyway.
    As for texting, it’s irritating to the nth degree, and my thoughts on those beeps can’t be printed in a prim and proper blog. I’ll somehow manage to stumble and fumble along while living in a world we have mostly lost, and to tell you the truth, I was perfectly happy with our party line when I was a boy, and when I was in college I probably didn’t average 10 phone calls (of any kind) a semester.
    Truly an interesting topic, and I genuinely believe that cell phones are a significant deterrent to meaningful human interaction in many ways.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    November 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Tipper, I am reading and now commenting from my phone! It has a great camera and video recorder. I carry it everywhere and it is always handy to get a quick photo of my boys . I keep my notes and appointments on it and yes I was reluctant to cross over to the world of technology too. With two boys coming up in a world that is surrounded by this technology I figure it would be wise to learn as much as I can just so I won’t be oblivious to what they are doing. I do not care to talk on the phone too much but have found out that a quick text to my wife to check in during the day is pretty cool and a useful tool for us. I think about my dad who would never leave a message on the phone. He would say” I ain’t talking to no dang machine!” Boy, if he could see things now he would be blown away! Blessings, Ron Banks

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Anything technical is above me so I have no cell phone. When the kids and grandkids come, inevitably out come the cell phones, each comparing with the other, what their phones can do, or the grands are texting their friends. At a family gathering? Give me a break!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I have a cell phone somewhere around here but I never use it. Don’t really like it. The way I usually remember where it is at is when the battery runs down it will beep. I hate the ones that don’t ring but play music instead. My daughter some how got a recording of her little Jack Russell barking and that’s what comes on instead of a ring. If you don’t think that will drive you up the wall!
    My wife has a friend that forgets things too. My wife was laughing at her the other day. She told my wife that the doctor had given her some pills to help her remember things. My wife ask her if the pills helped any at all because she might want some herself. She said, “Oh yes, the pills work just fine but the only thing is I can’t remember to take them.”

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I have had a cell phone for a number of years. I got it when I was attending late evening classes in South FL. It had a limit of 15 minutes a month on it; it was only for my intended purpose – if and when I needed help. I haven’t had a contract in many years and continue to have the phone for its purpose – protection when needed. Many cell phones don’t work in the mountains or valleys; one needs to choose the right carrier. I am glad that we have almostthe same idea about cell phones.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I have one of those prepaid cell phones from Kroger. I take it on dog walks in case of garage sale or free finds and need for transport. One time pre cell phone I hoisted a free vintage nightstand in one arm and had two large dogs on leashes with the other hand and walked two blocks home. They seemed like very long blocks! It is on only if a call is anticipated.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I have an iPhone and have even published an iPhone app, but I DO NOT TEXT. I am a techie, software logic engineer, and programmer, but I don’t get texting. I am 63 years old and think I have earned the right to behave like a curmudgeon if I choose to, so I tell people if they want to reach me, they can call or they can e-mail. If they refuse to do either of those, they just don’t need to communicate with me, which is fine!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I’m a very bad cell phone user too. My husband keeps thinking I need one and twice he’s come home with one for me, but like you, it sits on my nightstand or in my purse not even on, so I’ve eventually gotten rid of them. This last time, I told him we weren’t going to pay for both the cell phones and a house phone, so we disconnected the house phone and now I’m better about using my cell phone. Dang technology!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Well cell phones—in a way they are useless as far as I am concerned– got one a few years back -a pay as you go phone to use in case of an emergency– or so my day can get me if not able to find me at home on the land line—but it seems it hardly ever has any reception –so just what good is it? I just do not seem to want to spend any money on a real cell phone- I have to much to do with my animals ,spinning and knitting to want to learn the testing thing—I am pretty much and olde fashioned person . so if you need me call me the olde fashioned way. Linda—

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

    My 84 year old Mother in Law has a cell phone. She is now texting her grandchildren! She moved away from her home town (and state) at the age of 71 and completly learned to use a computer and emailed us back and forth.
    She came home this spring after the passing of her 2nd husband and is doing well with life!

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    November 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Tipper: Your lack of enthusiasm of cell phones matches mine – to a T! But I feel you should take your phone as you travel between Hayesville and Brasstown! I know that road well and undoubtedly you would be much safer if you took your phone with you on your outings – especially if you are alone!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    jackie shound ringersma
    November 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

    LOL – I have yet to break down and get a cell phone, my daughter and friends give me great grief all the time. Threaten to buy me one of those “WalMart” phones. Must admit I’ve had to use other peoples at times, mainly cause you can’t find a land phone anymore. Stuck on the lake once without one but my guardian angels came through and sent help my way. Power of prayer! I bet your Papaw would say “what do I need one of those things for?” 😉

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 11:21 am

    We cannot get cell reception at our house so the cell phones stay in our cars. I have to remind guests to turn off their phones since we don’t get reception. Otherwise their cell phones will continually search for a signal and run down the battery very quickly.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I guess I’m different…I have panic attacks when I forget and leave it at home. One thing I hate is when people talk on the phone while they are trying to shop. They will stop in front of you, run into your heels and stand in front of the item you are trying to get for 15 minutes at a time. It’s kinda like the old saying, can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.
    I seldon ever talk on the phone when I am driving. I have been in the car with my sister when she talks on hers and she slows down and goes into her ‘at home mode’. Scary!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I have to admit I have an iPhone – Roy says mostly its a toy to entertain — but it proved it’s worth during his last hospitalization. I could text, email, post on Facebook and call far away family members and keep everyone up to date with only one or two messages. BUT it’s lovely to be in the mountains with no service 🙂 Tipper, I appreciated your lovely note and the prayers – it’s been a bit hectic and I haven’t minded my manners as I should have. xoxo

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    November 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Yes Tipper they can be expensive. Right now I have a Tracphone from Walmart where I can call and/or send text messages.
    I like it a lot, it works good and get’s decent signal and when aI get low on minutes I just go by some more. I found it is the cheapest way to have one so far.
    I do like the idea that if I am out in the woods and need help I just call or like I have done in the past call my wife from the tree stand to say I just shot a deer and I need my son’s help.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    November 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

    There’s a good and a bad to cell phones, IMO. We have no land line anymore, so it’s only the cell phone bill for me and my husband … that’s good … but I rarely take it outside when working and my kids have a fit over that … that’s the bad.
    I also won’t pick up in the grocery store or in a restaurant or when driving.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    November 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I’m with you on the curse of cell phones. Just because we have the technology, it doesn’t mean they are good. Cell phones remind me of the craze (and useless annoyance) of the CB Radio years ago.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 20, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Congratulations to Sheila!
    I have one of those prepaid phones. Like you I didn’t buy it. A friend bought it and put a years worth of minutes on it. The purpose is the same as yours, in case I have trouble between Black Mountain and Brasstown. LOL
    I used to say that I would buy a cell phone when I could get it for the same cost as my land line. Then eliminate the land phone. I’m not on the phone enough to warrant paying two phone bills.
    Oh well, I guess time is passing me by and I also guess that’s ok with me.
    I try to keep up with the newer things that are useful to me and the rest I just let drift on by.
    It also looks to me like a lot of cell phones are just grown up toys.
    Unlike you I do know where my phone is. It sits on a shelf and gathers dust. That’s too funny. One day I’ll have to make the leap and get a for real cell phone!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 20, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I’ve had a cell phone for years, it went bad a few years ago and I didn’t replace it for over a year. Then I went back to work had to have it again. I have decided I really hate not being able to have time to myself. I so enjoyed a drive without my thoughts getting interrupted with it’s ring; the ability to finish a thought, to plan dinner, or just to think about nothing.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 20, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Tipper, I am completely with you on this cell phone thing! I, too, have a Trakfone that I’ve had for 7 years and never take it with me unless I’m driving more than 50 miles from hone. I don’t much like a real phone, either, which is why I love email so much! My friends all know about my aversion to the telephone and when they just HAVE to call me, they start off by apologizing. I don’t know why folks think they have to be talking 24/7 while, driving, shopping, etc. I’ll stop now since I sound like a curmudgeon! :>)

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Cell phones can be as “handy as a pocket on a shirt”, but if you forgot to put it in your pocket? Then of course if you are far away from home, stopping from place to place, start to make a call, and only then realize that you have no phone!! Then have to
    spend the rest of your trip and hours retracing your stops, finally go back home (about 210 miles) and it is on the table
    where you left it!!!…I say we probably didn’t need the doggone thing in the first place…
    Remember when I lost mine!
    Tipper thanks for the memories,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I’m like you. All I have as a Trac phone and don’t really know how to use it. I got it for my birthday in Oct. It came with 140 minutes. It still has 136.90 minutes left. It has 97 days of service before I have to buy more minutes. Y’think I’ll make it? I thought I needed it if I had a problem on the road. Well, I did and it didn’t. But I stayed cool and it’s still in one piece.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I am not a rich person, but have found phones taking over my life. When I worked, I actually have called my work cell phone with my personal cell phone to find it. I cannot let the land lines go for numerous reasons, and one cell phone gets a signal in one mountain range and the other in another near here and has a contract that is not up yet. I wondered if anyone else has a phone delemma. Tipper, it is a wonderful thing that you have not become a phone addict. I have friends and relatives that when I picture them in my mind there is a cell phone glued to the side of their head. They break out in a cold sweat if the phone is temporarily misplaced..only kidding. LOL

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