Appalachia Christmas

Christmas Memories – Anderson County Tennessee

My Grandma was Talitha Ann Queener Rutherford. When I hear the squeak of a rocking chair I never fail to think of her soft lap and snow white hair. We always called her “Grandma On the Mountain Road” – as she literally lived on Mountain Road in Anderson County, Tennessee. She was born in 1884 along the Clinch River, bore 11 children, buried two infants and faced some hardship during her life. She loved all of her grandchildren and gave many of us the best gift of all – her gentle sweet spirit.¬†Grandma always had a red cedar Christmas tree filled with popcorn chains. To decorate, she hung long white envelopes with each grandchild’s name on them. They each contained a dollar bill which I am sure was a big sacrifice for her to make. I always thought her tree was beautiful. –Mary Rutherford


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  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    December 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful story!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I love this story on its own, but as a native of Anderson County, it is even more special. Thank you for sharing, Mary.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    My Granny would always send us kids a dollar on our birthday. She had so many grand kids and had had so doctor bills one year she could only managed to send my daughter a love note on her birthday. I saved it and it’s priceless now!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Just lovely and full of the true meaning of Christmas-love!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for letting Mary tell her
    Christmas story about her grandma.
    It was very enjoyable. Most of our
    grandparents worked so hard to
    pave the way for their next generation. And they shared the
    true meaning of Christmas…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I loved Marys story of her Grandmother. It reminds me of Christmas past when my own Grandmother probably struggled to get gifts for her Grandchildren.
    She didn’t drive not because of old age, a lot of women during those years did not learn to drive! So, if she happened on a chance that one of her daughters that lived close by was going to town she went along when she could to the Woolsworth Five and Dime Store..(remember those)..she would pick up a trinket, toy or color book for a gift. I always loved mine! Especially if it was a “trinket shelf duster” or new coloring book! Sometimes, if we couldn’t be there for Christmas, a card would be in the mail with a dollar in it! That was a joy as 1.00 in those days went quite a long way!
    Thanks Mary for your memories! It triggered a few of mine about my Grandmother. I wish I could drive her where she so longed to go back then, nowadays…She would love it…just a trip to the 5 & 10 cent store!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    December 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

    i was reminded how big a gift $5 was when i was young. i still have one of those gifts in the original envelope….nice memories of tough times softened by a loving family.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Rocking chairs could tell a wealth of stories!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

    A great memory to share! Enjoyed reading it.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    December 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

    What a wonderful idea for the decorations. Sweet story.

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    December 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Everybody should have one!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 16, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I love her name, my family has several given names that I have never seen or heard elsewhere. I always think of my parents when I hear a rocker squeak.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 16, 2013 at 7:32 am

    What a beautiful memory Mary Rutherford has written of her “Grandma on the Mounain Road,” Talitha Ann Queener Rutherford. I can see her rocking those children, meeting the hardships of life, and saving those dollar bills for each gandchild! What a sacrifice! All of this speaks of love which lies at the heart of Christmas. Thank you, Mary!

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    December 16, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Sweet story!!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    December 16, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Well, Tipper: Your post this morning brought tears to my eyes. Mary’s note is very meaningful in so many ways. And of course being set in ANDERSON COUNTY makes it close to my home. We live in Oak Ridge but just across the Anderson County line by one mile in Roane County. Roane County is much more famous but I won’t tell you why!
    Best regards,
    Eva Nell

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