Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

Daddy’s Calloused Hands


An excerpt from It’s Not My Mountain Anymore written by Barbara Taylor Woodall:

Dad was quiet, tall and lanky, dressed in baggy, bibbed overalls and work boots. Sawdust settled between the leather laces and on his sweat-stained hat. The dusty hues contrasted with jet-black hair and chinquapin eyes that darted about with sharp glances. His smooth, shaven face was tanned, but roughened by mountain elements. His long-term commitment of love and responsibility fueled muscle and sweat to feed, clothe and shelter the family. His diploma was calloused hands.



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  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    June 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Loved this and I never get tired of reading her book. She has a way of bringing the past back to life in her words. Reminds me of my daddy’s calloused hands.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    June 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    If you have ever been to a small country Baptist church, you know how much they love shaking hands. As a boy I noticed how rough the hands were and it wasn’t just the men. Not so much anymore.
    That really brought back many memories.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 14, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I love Barbara Woodall’s writings about life in Appalachia. And Ron’s mentioning of a Prince Albert can sticking out of his dad’s overhalls. My daddy smoked Prince Albert and Mama too for a short span. One time Daddy bought a cigarette roller for mama, knowing she was paralyzed in her left side. After she made a few, she threw that thang away and made her own. She liked the “hump” in the middle. ha. …Ken

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    June 14, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Beautiful sentiments. I think there was a song about “Daddy”s Hands,” or it was a verse in a song. I noticed how worn, tough, and strong my Daddy’s hands were, yet gentle as could be with a child, baby, or puppy. Well, lets just say any baby animal. Even when cancer weakened his body, his strength remained in his hands. We had taken him to an eye clinic in Birmingham, Alabama for treatment on one of his eyes. He was about 70 and it was hard for me to watch them put a shot right in his eye, but he took it without a problem. On our way back to MS, we stopped at a pottery place and when we went in, my father talked to the owner and then he walked back and took a lump of clay out of a bin brought it back in to a wheel. I was absolutely amazed as I saw my father’s old weathered hands take that lump of clay and as the wheel turned, his hands kept bringing it up until he had fashioned the most beautiful pitcher. He had learned how to make pottery (churns and the like) from his grandfather back about 1927 and even though he had moved away and not touched a wheel in over 50 years his hands could still work the wheel. Thankfully, I had a movie camera with me and was able to record his hands work for our children to see. I was blessed with a great Daddy!!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 10:33 am

    My darling wife is a photographer and a very good one! Somewhere in her stored files she has a pic she took of my hands, wrapped around a coffee cup. I’ll ask her to hunt it up for me and send it to you if/when she finds it as I think it says more about me than I”ve ever told…

  • Reply
    Andrea Burch
    June 14, 2018 at 10:07 am

    thank you
    thank you
    thank you
    for this wonderful blog.
    You help me feel connected to a place I love BONE DEEP. Though I am not a native by birth, I am never more at home than in the mountains.
    Some of your writings fill me with the ache of homesickness and yearning; I am counting the days until July eighth when I will board a plane for Asheville. I’ll be staying at the Cove for a few days enjoying friends from all over, great food, glorious surroundings,and listening to my favorite teacher. Then we’ll traipse around all over the place and I will experience that sudden rush of love every time my eyes land on some miraculous creation of nature.
    I savor the words of this piece you shared with us about hands, it evokes so many images of hands that have fed me, clothed me, loved me, disciplined me and kept me safe. Hands that have helped show me what God’s hands are like.
    I always enjoy the comments of your other readers and feel a certain kinship with them…..they are heart friends to me. Some are quite talented in the way they express themselves!
    Until next time, may ourgreat God, creator of our beloved Appalachia, bless you and keep you-

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

    A wonderfully visual description! But I don’t understand the “chinquapin eyes.” I’ve never lived where chinquapin grows. Please explain.

    • Reply
      Barbara T Woodall
      June 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Chinquapins are dark, dark brown. They once grew around here, but haven’t seen any in a long time.
      Dark eyes were called ‘chinquapin eyes.’

      • Reply
        Frances Jane Phillips Page
        June 22, 2018 at 8:32 am

        We town kids would buy chinquapins from country bus kids. I loved storing them in my mouth and eating during class. We hoped teacher could not hear us cracking them in our teeth. Tiny soft shells…how sweet and good they were. Good memory.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      I found a reference at this site on “chinquapin eyes”.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Ann-you can go here to ready about Chinquapin Eyes – I have them too 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Coming from a baxkground of lumbermen, I so appreciate this eloquent tribute. And I recommend ‘It’s Not My Mountain Anymore’ to anyone who hasn’t read it.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 14, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Barbara’s description is so easy to visualise, first because of her vivid language but secondly because it connects with my memories of ellder mountain men. By when there was often a red Prince Albert can in the bib pocket. I know there are still men with calloused hands but now there seems to be a specialised power tool for every possible job.

    One thing that goes along with calloused hands is not wearing gloves. To a lot of those folks gloves are just a hindrance and they don’t think about needing them. And they usually don’t because the callouses are their protection.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Thanks Tipper.
    This is correct. When my Grandfather wasn’t running a locomotive, sawing wood for firewood, or working in the fields he was making cherry furniture in the shop.
    How I loved that shop, laying in the sawdust and sailing bits of wood ‘boats’ and wondering where they finally docked, maybe South America!!!?
    His hands were as hard as wood he created furniture with including my little rocking chair. But I held tight to those hands every chance I could.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 14, 2018 at 7:45 am

    What a beautiful way to talk about her Dad!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    That reminds me of my sweet daddy…the sawdust between the laces of his boots. The smell of sawdust takes me back to my youth (my daddy was a logger and then ran a sawmill) and all the simple pleasures of just being a child, no pressures in life other than chores. Always enjoy your blogs Tipper.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Rodriguez
    June 14, 2018 at 7:08 am

    “His diploma was calloused hands.” I had a father & have a husband like that. <3 Thanks Tipper for sharing. & Happy Father's Day! to The Deer Hunter 🙂

  • Reply
    Betty "JO" Eason Benedict
    June 14, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Sweet!!! One of my favorite memories of my Grandpa were his rough calloused hands ♥

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Back in the day folks would say, you could tell a lot about a Man in his hand shake, and the look of his hands, but it’s not that way, Bible says it’s in the Heart, that’s where the real structure of a Man is. I know a lot of Men who worked hard but treated their Wife and Kids like pets, instead of a Family, but on the surface they looked normal, and especially on Sundays at Church.

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