Sayings from Appalachia

Come in and Warm

man standing by woodstove

come in and warm, come into the fire verb phrase To come into the house and get warm (expressions of mountain hospitality).
1935 Sheppard Cabins in Laurel 156 He greets you with “Light and hitch!” or “Come in and warm,” or “Set down and cool off,” and urges you to stay for dinner. 1939 Hall Coll. Cades Cove TN Come into the fire if you’uns wants to. (John Burchfield)

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


It didn’t appear we were going to have enough winter to actually ask somebody to come in and warm this winter until this week. Since the north wind started blowing sometime over the weekend we’ve all been sitting by the woodstove and enjoying every minute of it.


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  • Reply
    January 22, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    I’ve never heard the expression “light and hitch”. What does it mean

  • Reply
    January 22, 2020 at 9:15 am

    My daddy (born in 1915) was a tobacco farmer and like all farmers back then, fired the barns with wood. And all homes then were heated with wood. In the winter, he hauled slabs from saw mills and sold them to folks in town for firewood. In 1950, he and mama built a new house with an oil fired furnace, and a nice wood burning fireplace in the living room. But he told folks, “I’ve hauled and toted wood all my life, and I don’t intend to ever have a fire in that fireplace.” And we didn’t. He was a hard worker from sunup to sundown, but his wood toting days were over!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 21, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Did you ever put boxwood leaves on top of a hot wood stove? They will puff up and sometimes pop open on one end resulting in the steam escaping and making them move. Sometimes if the hole opens in the right place they will just sit and spin. Ain’t is amazing that such a simple little exercise could keep a child occupied for hours.
    Or maybe I was a simple minded child!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    My wife said she was cold and I told her to stand in the corner. She asked why and I told her because corners are 90 degrees. She doesn’t care for my sense of humor in the mornings.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I have a lot of pleasant memories of Daddy putting up the stove and pipe just before cold weather. I remember him saying “around the tenth of January, we’ll have a General Thaw.” He told the truth! It used to Snow alot, and it was froze from Christmas till Springtime, except for the warm spot around January 10th, and we sat by the warm fire. But me and John would play football in the Snow. By the time he would turn around, after hiking the ball, I would be gone. I was fast as
    Greased Lightening. I miss the Good Ole Days. …Ken

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Love the heat from wood. Don’t like getting the wood when its cold. It got cold last night and suppose to be colder tonight. Had to leave our water running so it wouldn’t freeze up. As a little girl , this old man would walk across the mountain and he would stop by this house and daddy would tell him ,get on in here and warm yourself up for a while. So he would and momma would fix em a cup of coffee. He’d drank it and be warm enough and he’d be on his way. We kids would wallk a piece with him and we’d come on back home. He would do the same on his way back.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Come in and warm up is what I remember. Mama used to tell us a story about her papa who was a pretty heavy drinker especially on weekends. I never knew of him to have a car and don’t know if he could drive. Anyway, houses and honky tonks were few & far between and he was known to fall in a ditch & pass out. He made it home one freezing night and was huddled over the fire. Said to his wife, “Oler, ain’t fire grand?” She said, and not gently, ” Yes, Cliff, it is, especially if you’re half froze to death!”.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Brings to mind the days when one of us children would leave the door ajar, and we were reminded by Dad in his firmest voice to, “shut that Pneumonia hole.” Now seems that everybody leaves the doors open, and they are totally unaware of the cost of heating all outdoors because the electric furnace works so mightily to keep the temperature up to the temperature chosen on the thermostat. Everybody mostly knew how to throw a chunk of wood in or a shovel full of coal. With a large furnace in the basement I never wanted to learn the art of building or keeping a fire going. Later on with a fireplace in my own home I was forced to learn the “hard way” after smoking up the living room.
    No memory so comforting as gathering around a pot bellied stove in the country store my mom ran for a time. We learned to count back change there, and guess that is another lost art since the register now tells them the exact amount. It was a gathering place and a stopping off place. I well remember all the regulars who stopped off, but most are gone now.

  • Reply
    Jim k
    January 21, 2020 at 10:58 am

    How quickly you forget all the work and trouble it was to prepare the wood pile a few months back when you walk in out of the cold to a roaring fire in the woodstove. I noticed that’s the first stop for everyone that has stopped by the house the last couple of days.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 10:26 am

    It was 3 degrees this morning, and time to fill the woodbox again. We are still having dramatic fluctuations and I’d rather have it stay one way or the other because I think this is the kind of weather where people and other animals are more likely to get sick. In one week our temps went up and then down more than 50 degrees.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 21, 2020 at 9:10 am

    This cold is certainly shocking after all the unseasonably warm weather! I may have to come over and get in on some of that wonderfully warm wood stove heat!!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

    The picture of Matt leaning one-legged against the basement wall brings back memories of when we had a house with a full unfinished basement and a thimbled flue to the chimney. We stacked close to a cord of wood along the concrete block wall, and had a big dishpan of water to sit on top of the stove. The heat finished the drying of the wood before burning (which I’d kept stacked and sometimes covered outside), adding moisture to the air along with the water which evaporated from the pan on the stove. It was, by far, the most comfortable house I’ve ever lived in.

    But I will say that now that we’re finishing out our life’s cycle in the 130 year old home that I grew up in, there’s a different sort of comfort. It’s got a draft or two, and our heat is by mini-split heat pump units (which are absolutely fantastic, by the way, especially for an older home like this where installing duct work is out of the question). But I’m sitting in the same room where I did schoolwork sprawled out on the floor while Mama and Daddy sat and read or worked on crossword puzzles for close to six decades together and then more than another decade with just Daddy.

    I notice there’s a damper in the stove exhaust. I guess most of the creosote collects above it, but that brings back a not-so-pleasant memory of cleaning out the chimney, which was two and a half stories tall. The flue from the basement had one crook in it. To get the brush, which was attached to a rope, to go all the way down, I hung about 20 pounds of logging chain on the bottom. That worked well many times, but one time as I was pulling it back up, it got stuck in the bend.

    I yanked out my back trying to pull it through, and clearly it wasn’t going to clear by hand-pulling. So I fixed me up a rotary winch to pull on the rope for me.

    The rope broke and I said some words I ought not to have, and said them loud enough to carry into the next county.

    To get it out, I fixed up a hook on the end of a ten foot long section of 3/4-inch pvc pipe and sent it back in the flue from the basement end. Then shining a light against a mirror in the back of the flue, managed to finally get ahold of one of the links of chain with the hook. Thank the Lord, it came down just like it had been wanting to. This was 35 years ago, and I remember the extreme relief of getting that brush and chain in my hands in vivid detail.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 21, 2020 at 8:07 am

    This has sure been the week to appreciate the warm. I have lots of memories of huddling by the coal stove in Grandma’s house and our house where it was the only heat. One thing about that, we knew where heat came from and what it took to have it. And that makes us appreciate it more.

    By the way, in spite of the cold the little wild cress in my garden that I wrote would bloom in April is blooming now. I picked some yesterday to put in a salad but couldn’t really taste it. It is just too fine.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Y’all come in. Remember that firewood crackling in the fireplace and glowing red on a cold night. And when the lights got dim it was cozy and the cares of the outside world just faded into the far distant background . . . .

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    January 21, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Come on in and set a little while. In other words, don’t stay too long. I remember some song that had words like, “Come on in and throw your hat and coat in the corner, don’t why you won’t stay a little longer?”

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney Jr
      January 21, 2020 at 7:57 am

      Sorry, that should have been don’t know why you won’t stay a little longer.

      • Reply
        Wanda Devers
        January 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm

        Stay all night, stay a little longer–it’s a song but that’s all I remember.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 21, 2020 at 7:20 am

    It is a good day for warm cozy clothes , hot chocolate and a good book by the fireplace.

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