Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Man Who Can Fix Anything


my life in Appalachia the man who can fix anything

The Deer Hunter is the man who can fix anything. I swear it doesn’t matter what is tore up he can figure out a way to make it work like new. Sometimes I think he’s MacGyver-remember him from tv?

Unlike most musicians we don’t own a sound system so we’re always at the mercy of whoever we’re playing for and often have to just make the best with what’s available. At a recent show they were one vocal mic short which meant Paul or Chatter one would have to play and sing into the same microphone. The gentleman helping out thought he saved the day by finding another stand in the back until we noticed it was missing the mic holder. Oh well we all said, we’ll make do.

Before I knew what was going on The Deer Hunter followed the man back to the room where he found the extra stand to see if he could find something else that might work. When he failed to find anything he taped the microphone to the stand allowing the audience to hear Paul’s amazing flat top picking as well as his beautiful voice. I said “Where in the world did you get the tape?” The Deer Hunter said “I had it on the handle of my knife, all I had to do was take two pieces off.” See what I mean about MacGyver? Who carries tape on their knife handle just in case?

I know there are resourceful people like The Deer Hunter all over the world, but it seems my area of Appalachia is chock full of them: folks that can figure out how to fix things with what they have on hand and I’m mighty glad to be married to one of those people.


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

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  • Reply
    June 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Isn’t that great?! I think people who can fix anything must possess some sort of magic. My dad was that way. Sure do miss him.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    The Deer Hunter sounds like a very useful fellow to have around 🙂
    For the most part in my life, if I can’t fix it, it stays broke. I’ve figured out ways to do a lot of things, usually without spending any or much money. Some of my results aren’t much to look at, but I can live with frugal and functional.

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    June 8, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    What a guy! I have one of those too, and thank the Lord for him every day.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 8, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    I enjoyed reading about the Deer Hunter’s ability to “fix anything.” I had a fix-it husband, too, and know how valuable they are to help when needed. I miss having the handy man around so, so much, for the “fix-it_ ability, but most of all for the deep love and companionship.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Duct tape is the solution to many problems. We never leave home without it. Travels in the car and in our luggage. Saved the day on a trip to Africa. Just used some yesterday on a garden issue. Wish I had invested in it. Gorilla tape the best. And remember folks, that in some households it is the “woman” who can fix anything.

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    June 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Tipper, I also had a husband who could fix most things. One of his favorite expressions was “if anyone else can do it , I can at least try”. And it usually worked out that he was most capable. Thanks for reminding me of his many talents. Eleanor Loos

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Not many folks around like that anymore. As a Lineman, there is a saying, give a lineman a roll of tape and a handline and he can hold up the world.

  • Reply
    Drew Petrey
    June 8, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Inspiration to live by. Thanks for sharing Tipper.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 8, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Speaking of pallets, my son brought home a couple of pickup loads. I saved all the good 2X4s and 4X4s and removed all the nails and screws. I plan to glue and pin the 2X4’s together and make a 4 inch thick worktable top with no metal in it. The 4X4s are for the legs, apron and stringers. Wish me luck!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

    It’s called “thinking on the fly.” A few people have the ability but fewer still practice it. It is a mark of intelligence. It is the ability to see things others miss. I doubt the Mr. put tape on the knife handle thinking he might need it later. More likely it was there to hold the handle or make it more comfortable. But when facing a challenge his brain quickly processed the request and offered the solution. It “jumped out at him!” Yes, it is something he was born with but unlike most people with the gift, he keeps his honed.
    The only person who is smarter than a genius is the person who attaches herself to one.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 8, 2017 at 10:53 am

    When you’re raised 15 miles from town you don’t run to the hardware store for every little thing. My dad was a saver and could amaze me with all his talents. I inherited to much of his habit of saving everything that might be needed, my wife was raised near town and doesn’t see the need to do this, she calls me a pack rat but I insist that I’m a collector. However when something breaks down she doesn’t complain when I go to my shop and find just what is needed for the repair. She cannot see the need for nail jars and one for screws, nuts & bolts. Way to go “Deer Hunter” keep the traditions alive.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

    My husband has about the same talent as the Deer Hunter! It sure comes in handy and reduces expenses a lot.
    My garden is doing fairly well & the critters are staying out most of the time. I think our groundhogs have moved away–haven’t seen them in a while. My friend in Alabama posted a picture of her nearly ripe tomato! I am jealous– Mine are just blooming.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    June 8, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Tipper: Your MAKE DO husband reminds me of my Daddy! Daddy could ‘fix’ anything. He could tan hide and ‘make shoes’ for his daughters, dig a well on his hands and knees, carry an eight year old daughter all the way from the Cove to Murphy Hospital to get her broken arm set. Needless to say he was the finest Daddy in the whole wide world! Now thar! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I’m a lot older than The Deer Hunter but I was impressed at how he ‘took over’ when he installed my reservoir a few years back. I had some tape for some reason and he built up a fitting that was too small and made a connection that worked. It’s been several years and still works and don’t leak a drop. He’s a ‘gooden’. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

    My wife says the same thing about me.
    She is amazed sometimes at what I come up with. My answer to that is, when you are raised to make things last because money was not abundant, you learn to get creative. I was taught that my dad and grandfather. And the other side of that is I’m not going to pay someone to fix something that I can fix myself.
    There’s lots of things that can be held together with tape and or zip ties.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Now there’s a handy fellow to have around.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Yes, you are very lucky to have The Deer Hunter around to fix things. It’s hard to find someone to fix stuff even when I’m willing to pay well, so I have learned to just do it myself.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

    When something breaks my wife says, “We need to buy a new one.” I take it apart and can usually repair it. Then she says, I didn’t even know it came apart.” I usually point out that one part is plastic, another is metal and there are several screws to hold them together.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 8, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I too am blessed with a Mr. Fix-It. I don’t know how I would live without his talent. Plumbing, electrical or anything else that could go wrong usually does and he is right there to fix it.Makes life a breeze for me.
    I thank God for him everyday.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

    My parents most of their lives lived by this rule: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”!
    I’d say Deer Hunter was making do!
    He’s as “handy as a pocket on a shirt”! Why he might even be “the best thing since sliced bread”!
    Great post Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 8, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I think it is a common trait of country folks to figure out a way and create a solution. The problem is here and now and a fetched-on solution is after while and over yonder. It may be that the Appalachian woods are a little more populated with fix-it folks. I was raised that way myself. Dad tended to think first of how to create a solution out of what he had rather than buy something. Must have rubbed off on me.
    I’ll bet your husband also thinks first of all about how he can do things himself rather than hire anything done. Dad was like that to. There were few things he hired. It is a mindset that isn’t primarily about money; that is, it is a way of life.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    June 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Yes, indeed, do more with less. Practical aptitude and ingenuity are valuable personal traits to overcome the obstacles on the road of life.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 8, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Tipper–I greatly admire and envy folks like Matt who can figure out a way to fix about anything. Daddy had that knack (Br’er Don, a trained engineer with multiple degrees, has often said Daddy was a far better practical engineer than him), and along with it a distinct penchant for saving anything and everything that had even the remotest possibility of being of use somewhere down the road.
    A palette was held together with nails that needed to be pulled and recycled; why dispose of a perfectly good screw?; scraps of wood would come in handy sooner or later; mayonnaise jars served quite nicely to hold treasures; and countless more examples. Part of this came form having been a young adult during the Great Depression, part of it from the deeply entrenched DNA of the Scotch-Irish philosophy of “waste not, want not,” and part of it the traditional Appalachian trait of making do with what you’ve got.
    One example will paint the picture. Don is still tying tomatoes to locust stakes Daddy got hold of the better part of three-quarters of a century ago. When the long stakes slowly lost inches on the ground end through rotting, Daddy eventually took two shortened stakes, used several bolts to hold them together with an overlap of a few inches, and they remained serviceable. Indeed, the stakes were if anything better, because you could use the overlap where they joined to drive the stake into the ground without having to get on a step ladder to do so.
    You are all blessed with Matt’s “fix anything” ingenuity, and I absolutely love the idea of having some tape ready at hand the way he did.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Let’s hear “AMEN” to country roots , creativity, and a “can do” attitude.
    Use it up,
    Wear it out,
    Make it do,
    or do without.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 8, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Tipper, he is absolutely amazing. He can fix anything. Yesterday when I opened up my new chain saw and couldn’t get the chain bar attached I knew exactly who could fix it. I took it to the Deer hunter and it took him all of five minutes. Without looking at the directions he just looked at the chain saw, put it together AND gave me a tutorial on use and safety….again, all of that in five minutes.
    The man can fix anything and like McGyver he’s cute and sweet. I am so proud of the fine man my son has grown into!!!

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