Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Jewels

My life in appalachia jewels

When the girls were toddlers they were more than a handful. Sometimes they were complete banshees, real ankle biters, the kind who took dirt out of potted plants and dressed hallways with it.

In those days, Pap and The Deer Hunter worked together. One morning before they left for a job, I was complaining about the girls. Pap said “Why if all I had to do was stay home with those two little jewels I’d never complain. You ought to be grateful.”

Pap’s comment made me feel lower than the dirt that had recently been in my hallway, mostly because I knew he was right.

Pap has always used the word jewel to describe sweet little kids he runs across. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else use the word in the same manner-except Mary Lou McKillip, a Blind Pig reader. She left the following comment a while back:

Glenda is a jewel when it comes to poems. I like her short stories as well: the old sayings they get under your skin and where the rubber meets the road makes me think of Glenda’s writing. Oh by the way Glenda is a jewel when it comes to being a friendly mountain lady too.

I looked in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English to see if it listed the word jewel, but it doesn’t.

Appalachia is full of jewels, but that’s no secret to you if you’re a regular blind pig reader. Ones that come quickly to mind:

  • rushing waters
  • comforting mountains
  • amazing people
  • fantastic food
  • toe tapping music
  • self sufficient living
  • make do attitudes
  • good schools
  • colorful language
  • blind pig readers


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



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  • Reply
    Donna Brewton
    November 3, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Reading a 2013 post, 8 years ago gads!. What struck me was Pap reminding you the girls were jewels and you then feeling like dirt. That’s rough and I’ve been there. Sometimes young motherhood overwhelms us. We need to love ourselves in spite of our faults.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    It’s like The Bible explains God’s relationship to His children,
    “‘And they shall be mine,’ saith the Lord of hosts, ‘in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.'”
    Malachi 3:17
    We are His jewels, what more could we ever hope or ask for?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    January 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I tried to comment…not sure it worked…I think my ‘puter is dropping letters as well as leaving them out…
    ’bout to toss this “rough jewel” in the trash…
    Have a great evening.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    January 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Tipper you and your girls are all jewels.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I was just looking at the pictures in your collage. In the upper right corner is a herd of cattle. All of them are pointed in the same direction except one. She seems mooooning you.
    The center picture looks like the girls have a new swing set but are playing with the box it came in.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    January 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    We all have a treasure chest of jewels…We just have to open it and see what spills out. There are times when I just can’t get them all back in the chest, the trove is so large.
    Today a light rain fell, the sun came sparkling thru the jewels drops hanging on the tree limbs and sounds like spring bird are singing…The temperature is near 70, our grandsons team won the basketball game, I am getting over the “Physical Flu Cliff” (I fell over), the computer is working, (knock on wood) and I am enjoying reading the “diamond of blogs”, The Blind Pig and Acorn…
    What could be better?
    Thanks Tipper, enjoy your treasures!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I’m glad you’re OUR Jewel! I’ve
    had some of that ‘stay at home’
    experience raising two girls and
    believe me, working a job is much
    easier. But watching our youngin’s
    grow up is a rewarding experience.
    Great insight in today’s bloggin’
    of Appalachia…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Seems your little jewels still play in the hall but their creations are more melodious than mischievous. The former seems to be overriding the latter but let’s hope not completely.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 10:26 am


  • Reply
    Ron Perry, Sr.
    January 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

    walk over to your mirror and look in and you will see a real special jewel and those girls of yours are jewels as well.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Smith
    January 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

    You are such a blessing! And, yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the other readers, you are a real jewel. I am so happy to read your blogs and to have “met” you through our correspondence. Feel free to visit my blog at anytime, also. Thank you for ALL you do to brighten our day! Have a blessed day in Him!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I have heard folks referred to as “jewels” all of my life. It should be part of the Appalachian dictionary.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    January 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I’ve heard “jewel” used alot to decribe the young and old. My Papaw used to call me and my cousin little jewels (even though we were more like banshees). When I heard jewel used growing up, the song “The Lifeboat” we sung in church would always come to mind because it mentions jewels.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Something that was very special to me I often referred to as a jewel. Finding a special nature plant or one I have never seen and is beautiful and special in my eyes is a jewel. My kids, well, they were jewels, but, like you, there were days where I may have temporarily lost that feeling. A good word and memory!

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    January 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I think my grandfather had a mule named ‘Jewel’. I sometimes refer to an exceptionally nice person as a ‘gem’. A kid can be a gem in the rough and with years of rough and tumble play and some spit and polish, she can become a real jewel – such as my own precious daughter. Having been an eighth grade teacher for almost thirty years, I saw lots of kids in -the ‘semi-precious gem’ stage!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I agree with Uncle Al, you left our one jewel…that would be you. I enjoy reading your blog every day and appreciate what I learn about Appalachia through you. Funny, I haven’t heard the word banshee in a long time, and for the life of me can’t recall the context in which I did, but I remember hearing it often!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

    The dirt in my hall was usually from one of my girls throwing the potted plant at the other. They are five years apart and never agreed on anything until they were grown. Now they are inseparable and will deny ever participating in any of that kind of stuff. Through all that, they were still my jewels.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

    To be called a “jewel” was a great compliment at Choestoe where I grew up! Sometimes it was used to entice us to do something, as, “You’ll be a jewel if you’ll sweep out his yard real clean today!” (That in the day when we had no grass–just clay yards–and to have them clean-swept with a brush broom was a mark of good caregiving of grounds!) Or at school, we might hear, “You’re a jewel! You did a good job with your: spelling, reading, arithmetic!” So I’ve been familiar with “jewel” all my life as a complimentary expression. Evidently my grandmother loved the word so well that she named one of her children, my father, Jewel Marion Dyer. Sounds like a girl’s name, doesn’t it? But back then both Jewel and Marion were used for male children; and of course my father was named for two ancestor, too. All were jewels to me!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 12, 2013 at 9:14 am

    My dad use to say he would not take a million dollars for any of his kids and he would not give a plug nickle for another one! After six of us I quess he was just plum tuckered out. My wife says raising kids is the hardest and most wonderful thing she has ever done. Children are jewels indeed.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 12, 2013 at 8:20 am

    That’s a nice story Tipper, but you left one “jewel” out of your list: The author of the Blind Pig % the Acorn and her family!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Tipper, I’ve had the dirt scattering from the flower pot toddler here, so that really conjured up a memory. I love that toddler age best of all, as that is truly the age of cuteness and innocence. It is not, however, when I would call a child a jewel. Hmm, the giggly teenage years are very special also.
    Mostly I have heard the word jewel used in referring to a really nice lady, especially after she has done some good deed.
    Thanks again for starting my day with The Blind Pig, as it keeps me from taking myself and life too seriously. If everybody loved your blog like your readers, you would be the most famous lady in the world. You are a real jewel!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Your girls, my granddaughters, are precious jewels but they are also wild banshees at times as well. Don’t you dare feel bad for recognizing the truth!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I agree with all the “jewels” you listed, Tipper. On especially stands out – comforting mountains. They really are comforting, generating a sense of peace.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I once heard Granny tell Momma when my brother and I were in the process of disassembling everything in sight. “Sometimes when they are little they can get on your toes but, when they get grown they’ll be on your heart.” Momma said over and over through the years that Granny was so right. From what I gather, it didn’t take you long to realize that.
    Those little girls must have been a pleasure to raise; they were jewels. Tipper, you lucked up; you had two!

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