Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Combed Your Hair Or Washed Your Face

My life in appalachia combed your hair or washed your face

Words of wisdom from Granny: You ought not ever leave the house without combing your hair or washing your face cause you never know who’ll you’ll run into.

Words of wisdom from Pap: Never go home with an empty gas tank cause you never know when something might happen way up in the night.

I manage to adhere to Granny’s advice 99.9% of the time. Pap’s advice-well I do a whole lot better than I used to at keeping an adequate amount of gas in my car at all times. But when it comes to passing Pap and Granny’s advice on to the girls I’m at 100%.

There’s a hit country song laying in those bits of wisdom somewhere. You know something like “I never even combed my hair or washed my face but ran out of gas and had to climb in her van.”


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



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  • Reply
    April 23, 2019 at 11:59 am

    One I heard growing up , never leave home without ————— most of the ones already mentioned above …because , “ An ounce of prevention , is worth a pound of cure.”

  • Reply
    Charles Howell
    April 23, 2019 at 11:54 am

    “Brother Herman & cousin Sherman
    Had an aversion to warshin their ears
    Grandma scrubbed em with her Lye Soap
    Haven’t heard a word in years”

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette-Dean
    October 21, 2017 at 11:28 am

    My daddy always told me to keep the car full of gas and to this day, when the gas gauge starts getting close to 1/2 tank, I start getting antsy! Of course, when I was growing up, there were a couple of gas stations within a few miles of the house, but they were only open until 5 pm. (As were most gas stations back then.) The nearest hospital was 20 miles away and the nearest GOOD hospital was 60 miles away. The thinking always was if someone gets sick in the middle of the night, you would need enough gas to go at least 60 miles.
    Mama always said to always have on good, clean underwear when you left the house because if you were in a car accident, you wouldn’t want the ER staff to see you in holey underwear. LOL!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    October 21, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Wash behind your ears. I never understood that one until I grew up.
    Oh, save for a rainy day.

  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    April 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    LOL on the hit country song lyrics.
    The advice I remember is…
    From our Mother: Don’t screw up your face like that, what if it freezes?
    From our Maternal Grandmother: Always leave a place nicer than you found it.
    From our Paternal Grandmother: Never leave the house without putting on clean underwear cause you never know when you’re going to get hit by a bus.
    (That last one always made me laugh out loud, cause my underwear would probably not be in good shape after getting hit by a bus anyway, so who’d know the difference.)
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    April 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    My mom was the same as one above, always have on clean underwear, you never know when you might get in a car accident and have to go to the hospital.

  • Reply
    rudy frias
    April 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    my mom would always tell us that it is better to be a live chicken than a dead one. tell your dad that advice is especially true when traveling cause you never know how far the next gas station is even in daylight

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    April 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    My Mom nevered worried about our hair. It was always have on clean underwear, because you never knew when you might get in an accident.
    hope that isn’t TMI!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    and John…Two birds “singin’ in the bush” is worth more than one “dead in the pan!”
    John says my kind of “quotes and good old wise sayin’s!”
    Thanks Tipper (and John)

  • Reply
    josé Luis
    April 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Hello Tipper
    The more I read the stories and history of your post, the more I believe the similarity between the good people in our world.
    Our country formed by immigrants who left their homelands by war, hunger or desire to progress, have passed similar advice passed down from generation to generation.
    Winemakers from my grandfather to get a better job, “Do not turn out the candle before having another very well lit,” On the table, “Help yourself to anything you like, … but eat everything you serve”, if you said, I do not like, “Son, you’ll see in the war”, skulking to get up to go to school, “up child at that early, God helps” when you Super harbored in winter to go to school, “Boy, people laugh at me while I walk hot ” when you arrived at school late snack and you found only crumbs, the grandfather said,” the dumb ox drinks water turbid “, or,” alligator sleeps, woman in shoe became “, and of course identical recommendations for combing, washing his face and ears, and long underwear impecable.Disculpen many words, but I remember so many things I recommended, and now … recommend to my grandchildren, a very cordial greeting to all around, from Argentina,Jose Luis.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I bet most of us mountain folks
    have been taught those very words
    of Granny and Pap. It pays to be
    prepared! …Ken

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I like the advice from both Pap and Granny. Granny’s advice reminds of time I went to answer the door after the bell rang – it was the UPS man. I was embarrassed to say the least; I’m glad it happened in my very younger years.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    April 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    One of dad’s wisdom nuggets was, be careful who you talk about up here in the hills because you’ll probably be talikng about their folks. Another one is, get what you need but need what you get.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I just loved this post this morning…I’m late since the rain washed the Internet down the driveway!
    Why just this early morn, my husband said, “The volume on this phone is too high” and I said, said, “TURN IT DOWN, YOU’RE GOING TO PUT YOUR EAR OUT!”
    “WHHHAAAATTTT” does that mean??
    he said…
    Things like that happen here all the time…
    “Be sure and wash your hair and comb your face”!!
    Good advice from Granny and Pap. They get their sayin’s straight at any rate…
    We’re more apt to fill up on gas at this dates prices, ’cause tomorrow it might be higher! LOL
    Seriously, since many trips to the ER through the years, having a gas tank full enough before nighttime has mostly been a priority here for a long, long time…
    Thanks Tipper…
    PS…I think “Dogwood Winter” is right on time in East Tennessee!!
    Wonderful, just like in the “olden” days!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    “Never put off till tomorrow what you can leave till next week”
    “If a job’s worth doing well it’s worth doing for money”

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    April 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I was taught that about keeping gas in the car from the time I first started driving. Of course, we lived 20 miles from the nearest town and there were only a couple of local mom-n-pop stores that sold gas. They had very limited hours, closed at 5PM and were not open on Sunday. The nearest hospital or doctor was also 20 miles away, so having a full tank of gas was a smart thing to do.
    Now, I must admit, since I live in the city , I do tend to let my gas tank get a bit more empty, but never less than 1/4 of a tank. I actually start feeling antsy when it gets below 1/2 tank!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I always look down at my gas gauge about a mile into my ten-mile-no-gas-station stretch to home after spending all day in town. I hate turning around, I count on Dirt’s many filled gas cans at the farm. I needed someone to tell me to wash my face during the day while at home, Dirt is always coming home and catching me with something on it, usually mud, which means the UPS man saw me that way, the two chicken customers, the neighbor girl who stopped in to do horse stuff with Bet….

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

    sounds good to me

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    April 12, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Well … Years ago I always heard and was told to always wear clean underwear, because you never know when you might be in an accident and have to go to the hospital.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 9:24 am

    As a teen I hunted and fished with four Cherokee boys. Every time we started out one of their uncles would say, “Don’t leave home in the middle of the day without a blanket.” We were always home befofe it got cold enough for a blanket but I guess he had been caught too far from home at times when it got cold. His advice was like the Boy Scout Motto, Be Prepared.”

  • Reply
    Gina S
    April 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Mama believed in being prepared, too. She insisted I wear my Easter dress while traveling on my first trip to the beach. I was five at the time. Her reasoning, “We might be in a wreck and need to go to the hospital.” Guess her many years as a nurse left her with memories of folks who were unprepared.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

    As a young adult I liked to run my car on fumes..I think I figured the gas money could be better spent on something pretty. After many lectures from my Dad, I still adhere to the 1/2 tank rule. His car once broke down in freezing weather, and he had to run the car to stay warm. He never liked to see a gas tank less than 1/2 full. He taught many valuable lessons growing up, and it was always the ones I didn’t follow that caused problems.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Both are common words of wisdom which have been passed on here in Texas too. Since we live on a rainwater system (the well is too sulferous!), I’m not so sure about the water being free, Jo. My husband, the engineer, is great at electrical engineering but is a procrastinator and doesn’t always finish a job. Consequently, we have 4 5000 gallon collection tanks but no filtration tanks. that means that each time we are graced with our infrequent rain storms, he waits until the rain gauge shows a tenth of an inch (to rinse off the roof – vulture droppings, pollen, dust, etc.) then finally opens the collection tanks. Of course, all these checks are done in the cold, thunder, lightning, gale force winds, and sometimes hail – whatever we have to put up with to get a little moisture. So – no, I don’t think water is free. . . .
    On another note, just yesterday my granddaughter had to give someone some news she was afraid would upset them so we talked about giving bad news in a “sugar sandwich”. Some people think that means the sugar should be in the middle, but my grandmother said the sugar was the bread that surrounded the bad news: tell something positive, tell the bad news, close with something nicely affirming.
    And what about wisdom like: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” – or – at the dinner table: “Take all you want but eat all you take.”
    I imagine you have lots of other words of wisdom in your past blog posts. One of these days I’ll spend more time looking for them.
    Sorry to run off at the mouth (or keyboard ~) but you set my mind to spinning and this is what came out.
    Regards to all,

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    April 12, 2013 at 8:31 am

    My daddy always made sure we had plenty of gas because his teenage sister became unexpectedly ill and passed away during the night. He didn’t have enough gas to get there. No gas stations opened at night back then.

  • Reply
    Bob Weekley
    April 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Be sure you have clean underwear, you never know when you will be in a accident.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 12, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Tipper, I went on a cross country trip with a friend many years ago and she insisted we buy gas when the gas tank got to half. I, of course, thought that was silly but as the trip went on I realized that was a smart thing to do, some of those roads can go on a while before you pass a gas station.
    It’s all about being prepared in life, like preserving food for the winter.
    Wise words from Pap and Granny!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 12, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Granny’s advice might should be reversed for us older fellers who have more hair on our faces than our head. The only comb I own is a tiny one I use comb the dried buttermilk out of my mustache.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 5:53 am

    “Soap’s cheap and water’s free.” (Words from our older mountain neighbor)

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