Heritage Profiles of Mountain People

Characters In Appalachia

Every once in a while I wake up with a smile on my face-a day where it seems everything I see tickles my funny bone. Adding to my humorous mood today-a good breakfast shared with an old friend. It’s nice to share laughter with a friend and it seems extra special when you can laugh about old times you both shared together-you know like when one of you dressed up their family in trash bags to protest against the local school board.

Funny stories about appalachia


I love to hear Pap tell funny stories from his past. Most of the characters are long gone from this world-but they still live in Pap’s mind and I’m sure on occasion he awakes with one of them in his thoughts and a smile on his face.

When Pap was a boy, there was a funny older man around the community-folks even called him Old Man. Pap said he was as good as gold and would help anyone who needed an extra hand. Like most characters-he was lots of fun to be around. Pap said Old Man used big words to try to impress folks-however, the words weren’t always real words. He wore a tie every day of the week no matter what kind of shirt, pants or overalls he had on. Old Man was also partial to fancy socks-and wore his pants just short enough to show them off.

A young local boy was drafted but when he went over to Knoxville to officially sign up-they turned him down. Everyone at the local country store was wondering why they would have turned him down. Old Man knew the answer “It wasn’t his physidition it was his edmentation that got him turned down.” uh?

One fall day Pap heard Old Man say “There ain’t no defalcation about it -it’s going to turn cold.”

Another thing that made Old Man a real character-he made sure everyone he met-knew that even though he was a Methodist-he wasn’t sprinkled he was baptized-dunked completely under.

Characters like Old Man are one of the things that make life interesting. I can think of a few characters from my past that still put a smile on my face-how about you?




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  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 28, 2011 at 10:29 am

    there was a man named Charlie who was a fixture in our town – always had on a woman’s dress tucked into his overalls. He’d say hello and talk with you but kept to himself and lived away from the town. One day some people were hiking or hunting in his area and came upon his house which was ramshackled at best. They got together with one of the service organizations and got donations of clothing, a bed and bedding, some other furniture and dishes. When they delivered it he wasn’t home so they left if for him. When they checked back later that day there was Charlies with a huge fire going and pitching things on it. When asked what he was doing he replied: “Ain’t nobody moving in on Ole Charlie!”

  • Reply
    September 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    He sure sounds like a character. I like people like that who don’t care about what people think about them.They just enjoy life.

  • Reply
    laoi gaul-williams
    September 11, 2009 at 3:22 am

    fantastic! we have an old chap here in the village who lives with his even older mum, we have always called him (still do actually!) ‘the man with the wheelbarrow’ whenever we saw him he would always be wheeling his old wheelbarrow around, sometimes with nothing in it. these days the wheelbarrow is gone and he is seen riding an old bicycle around with a sagging wicker basket or driving a very ancient mini with stuck breaks. i think he is great 🙂

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    September 10, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I remember the lady that lived across the street when our mother’s Mom lived with our Aunt Sis. Grandmom would sit on the front steps in her housedress and the lady would holler to her, ‘Close your legs, I can see straight up your dress to see if you’re hat’s on straight.’ So embarassing, but even Grandmom laughed. 🙂
    Then there was our Dad, what a cut up he was. He would always catch us laughing at the dinner table when he came home from work and he’d sit down and say, ‘Well, have you all finished laying that egg yet?’ Then there was the time he had all his teeth pulled and I was sitting on the front steps listening to the radio. He came in the back door and out the front and said, ‘Turn off that ya-ya music.’ I turned around and there he was with a big smile on his face and no teeth. I was laughing so hard and so was he.
    I think it’s wonderful to know some characters in your life. It makes life more interesting. xxoo

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Coming from the Appalachian foothills, there are many characters in my past. The one who stands out the most was my great uncle. He was a character.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    My late husband could really tell a story. They would leave us laughing with tears rolling down our cheeks (him, too). The kids liked to hear them over and over. They’d say, “tell the one about Jerry and his bicycle wreck, Dad.”

  • Reply
    Amy - parkcitygirl
    September 10, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Old Man was a character indeed! My great grandma was quite a character – she insisted on living alone until she passed away at 97 – she had fire bells for the phone and the tv was so loud, if you forgot something when leaving it was next to impossible to retrieve it.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Hmm. I wonder why old Man thought that boy couldn’t get in?
    We had a man who recently moved away from our neighborhood. Everyone called him Chuck Norris because he looked exactly like him. He was a little “different” and went walking/jogging everyday. All the kids knew him and talked to him.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 11:33 am

    You know it is funny you should mention this because it makes me think of memories I have about my grandfather who lived in Vermont on the Canadian border. He was always a joker and could make anyone smile and laugh.
    Like the time he tied my dad’s shoe laces together when he was sleeping and yelled fire.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 11:03 am

    My FIL’s wife just told us that the horses in Texas are emancipated because of the drought there. Hungry and skinny, but free they are!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2009 at 7:48 am

    LOL Yes, I can remember one character from my past. But she wasn’t as intereting at Old Man. This woman was a relative on my mother’s side and she didn’t talk like a woman. She would say what was on her mind and some of the words I couldn’t type here.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    September 9, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    The beloved character in my neighborhood used to be and probably still is Rex Ledford. Back in the seventies I took some school children to visit his bee stands. (I must have been crazy, come to think of it, but Thank God, nothing bad happened–no bee stings.) Already then Rex Ledford was a legend to the school children. He owned an air plane and buzzed often through the valley. One of the boys asked, “You have an airplane, don’t you?” Rex gave them all a little talk, saying ” Yes, I do own an airplane, and let me tell you that you can have any thing in this world you want if you are willing to work for it, if you don’t get to drinking liquor or taking drugs” On and on he talked until they all nodded and said they wouldn’t do that. They worshiped him.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I loved hearing about Old Man. He must have been a real hoot to know! Honestly, I think I know more ‘characters’ now than when I was growing up. But two brothers stick out in my mind. They shared a little one room cabin in the middle of a cane patch. We called one of them Uncle Al(he was the gr-uncle of one of the kids around) and his brother was never called anything or ever even spoke to us that I can remember. Uncle Al drove an old Model A, his first and only car–and this was 1968! Once, he showed us an old still they had in their barn~we were impressed. (No ‘shine was cooking in it, though)!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    September 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Tipper: One of the funniest people I knew was my Dad. He could tell a story about hunting and make you roll on the floor.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    The Old Man really was a character! I was raised Methodist but sprinkled. We’re wimps up here!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    that’s not so characterous. my aunt, a baptist just passed at 103, could say “sprinkled” with more scorn than you would ever imagine.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    September 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    *giggle* That’s too funny Tipper… I remember my Grandfather trying to use big words to impress well-to-do people… most of the time they came out wrong as you can imagine!!
    Cute post!

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