Back to the Mountains

back to the mountains

Back to the Mountains

Most of ’em come back.
They go away
in their younger days,
but then,
when they get older,
most of ’em
want to come back tot he mountains.

Ralph Crouse, 1922 Alleghany County (Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie by Patsy Moore Ginns)


Some folks work away for most of their lives so that they can come back to the mountains when they retire. I’m grateful I’ve never had to leave.


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  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    July 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I lived away from ‘home’ for most of 50 years and except for MS, AL and LA have lived in all the southern states including KY and MD, some of them twice. It depend on who you’re talking to whether KY and MD are considered southern or not. I think I made the best of the moves and always said “home is where my furniture is”. Now I say “home is where my dogs are”. I finally got back to Appalachia five years ago but not to my home town. I do spend a fair amount of time worrying about whether my children will follow the instructions of my will and bury my ashes beside my Mother in Haywood Co. I sure don’t want to be buried with strangers. (or those of that other political party)

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I spent 35 years working in South Florida in Aerospace, but I could hardly wait for the time that I could retire and live in the mountains that I had left. Whenever I leave the mountains for travel, my first glimpse of the mountains of western NC brings a peace to my heart that I never experience anywhere else.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I love living in the Mountains, it’s Home to me. I was away for several years for more education and training for a career, but I finally came back home and I’m so glad of it. As Dorthy said “there’s no place like Home.” …Ken

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    July 8, 2017 at 9:58 am

    You are so right. My heart is in the mountains every day, although life has put me far away. Once you are in the mountains and have those memories they stick. That is why you and your family are such a blessing. They renew my heart every day and bring me joy, and I learn something every day while I enjoy the music so much.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Going home is not like it used to be. Mountain top removal has made millions for some in the coal business and created an eye sore for all. I love going back for a visit and driving up one of the hollers that looks as it did so many years ago. The mountains will always be home in my heart, but I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. The people have changed as much as the the scenery around them.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    July 8, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Those majestic, mighty mountains surely call to me longingly…right along with the whipporwill.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    July 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

    There’s a line in an old song that haunts me daily: “the darkest night I’ve ever seen is the night I left my home.” I left, first, because of graduate school and then because of my job. I never stop wanting to go back to my hills and hollas.
    The land has a way of bringing people back and I’m counting on that!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 8, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Tipper–First of all, you are blessed that you never had to leave the hills and hollers of your highland home. Beyond that, there’s something about life anywhere in the southern Appalachians that lays hold of a corner of one’s soul and won’t let go.
    Although the setting is eastern Kentucky, not the Smokies or Blue Ridge, listen to Dwight Yoakam’s haunting song, Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23 and pay attention to the lyrics. Especially “They thought readin’, rightin’, Route 23, Would take them to the good life they had never seen. They didn’t know that old highway, Could lead them to a world of misery.” Or better still, if possible (and he’s a heckuva wordsmith) “Those mountain folks sat up that late, Just to hold those little grandkids, In their arms, in their arms. And I’m proud to say that I’ve been blessed, And touched by their sweet hillbilly charm.
    Then there’s an example a high school classmate of mine offered a few weeks ago when I was talking to her about a reunion of the Swain High Class of 1960 (yeah, anyone who can cipher can figure out I’m a tad long in the tooth). She was talking about the timing of the reunion and said: “I go home for Memorial Day every year. This is a woman who has lived elswhere for the last 57 years, yet in the innermost part of her being “home” is where the heart is–and that’s the mountains of her raising.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Betty Hopkins
    July 8, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I was born and raised in the mountains of North Georgia, but went to Atlanta to work following high school graduation. I have lived in the Atlanta area longer than I was in the mountains, but the mountains will always be home. John Muir said it best when he wrote, “You are not in the mountains, the mountains are in you.” So true.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 8, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Going ‘up north’ to find work was a common story in my family. My home county has been classed ‘economically depressed’ all my life I think. Of the four siblings in my Dad’s family two stayed. On Mom’s side, of six only two stayed. Even the four who stayed, two lived some part of their life away. Of the six who left, only one returned. Of the three of us, me and my siblings, two left and we evidently are not going to return.

  • Reply
    Betty Newman
    July 8, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Me, too! Although we don’t live as much in the mountains as you all do, I wouldn’t trade these Foothills for any other spot on earth. And we are so blessed to live on this farm. (It’s not a blessing we take lightly!)

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 8, 2017 at 6:49 am

    When I was new born my family moved away for a while, ten, twelve years. They were not happy away from the mountains and couldn’t wait to get back! The mountains are part of your soul and to be away is to be missing that part of yourself!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    July 8, 2017 at 5:30 am

    I had planned to move down home to Pappy’s place when hubs retired. Family circumstances changed. Our son was a single dad, we needed to be closer.
    Kids are college-age now, we are still here. Down home is not going to happen. We sold Pappy’s place rather than let it sit empty or rent it out. In my mind I still walk through the house, the hills, the woods, and the hollers. I still hear the birds and the water moving in the crick.
    I guess memories will be the only I “come back.”

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