Thankful November

Longing to be an Adult

collage of photos of a family


“I looked down at the tattered toes of my brogans. That was going to be my whole destiny always, I thought. When I was as old as Ember Mountain they would still be keeping important things from me. When I was ninety-nine years old and sitting on the porch in a rocking chair combing my long white beard, some tow head youngun would come up and ask, “What’s it mean, grampaw, what is the world about?” And I would lean over and dribble tobacco spit into a rusty tin can and say, “I don’t know little boy. The s.o.b.s never would tell me.”

—Fred Chappell – “I Am One of You Forever”


Oh the frustration of being a kid and wishing the grown-ups would let you in on all the goings on. I remember begging Pap and Granny to tell me more about something I over heard them talking about. They always said “It’s something you don’t need to worry yourself with. Now go on and play.”

It’s funny, when you’re a child you can’t wait to know all the grown up problems of the world and once you’re a grown up with knowledge of the bad things out there you wish you could be a child again.

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a used copy of Fred Chappell’s book “I Am One of You Forever.” To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends Monday November 18, 2019.


p.s. The winner of “The Foxfire Book” is Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner) who said:

“I know we’re gonna get a dilly up here in Michigan. The squirrels and chipmunks have been settin’ aside stores for months. The deer are already putting on very thick coats as are all the horses out at the barn. The juncos arrived earlier than usual, and my bird feeders have been swamped. I guess they were all in the know, because we had mid-20s this morning with snow.”

Melissa-email your address to me at [email protected] and I’ll send you the book.

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  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Love reading blind pig and “akerns” as we pronounced acorns. Maybe I’ll win.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    I envied grown-ups when I was a child. I thought they could do anything they wanted. I am thankful I had no idea about adult responsibilities. Nevertheless, I had a good childhood and have met my adult responsibilities ok and I have many joys.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 14, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I remember wanting so badly “to really know” what my parents and other elders were “talking about’ so seriously–whether it was the World War II developments, so fife from 1941-late 1945, and my brother Eugene wounded somewhere in the European theater; and my brother-in-law, Ray, fighting in the Pacific area; and many cousins and friends from Choestoe also “in the war.” At school, we would tear used clean sheets into bandages as part of our “war effort,” and we collected money to help go toward purchasing War Bonds. What did all this mean? And then–some of the Choestoe community soldiers came back later–ready for the cemetery at Choestoe Baptist or Salem Methodist Church–having lost their lives. How sad. I grew up fast, because my mother got sick and died when I was but 14, and I had to become my younger brothers’ surrogate mother, take care of house and cooking, and keep both of us in school. Talk about “growing up fast”! That happened to me. Then I didn’t “hanker” after what adults were talking about; I was in the circle of conversation then, as a “youth quickly grown-up” because of responsibility.

    November 16, two days from now, marks the second anniversary of my dear son, the Rev. Keith Jones’s sudden death by massive heart attack on November 16, 2017. He loved contributing to and writing for Blind Pig and the Acorn; and loved our Appalachian area and its history. I’m reconciled to the fact that he “went on before,” although I still sometimes wonder why this old mother didn’t go before him. I’ve concluded, as Ruth Bell Graham did in her poem, “Not Finished”– that God “isn’t finished with me yet.” Here’s the short poem, with a / mark where lines should be broken and the new lines start: NOT FINISHED When we see/unsaintly “:saints,”/(ourselves the guiltiest,/no doubt)/forgive us, Lord, /for our complaints,/and help us never/to forget,/whatever else, Lord,/You’re about,/You have not finished/with us/–yet.” -Ruth Bell Graham in her book, “Clouds are the Dust of His Feet.” c1992. She wrote “Not Finished” April 15, 1977. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, all you Blind Pig and the Acorn Friends. -Ethelene Dyer Jones, now of Milledgeville, GA–formerly of Choestoe Community, Union County, Blairsville, and other places in the mountains in Union, Towns and Fannin Counties until moving to Milledgeville in Feb. 2002.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      November 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm

      Ethelene, that quote was beautiful. I’ll probably never see you here but I’ll see you and your son on the other side.

  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    November 14, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Our upbringing as children, prepares us for those downsettings as adults. Moma used to say, “You never outgrow your raisin’.” Is that not what makes us who we are today? Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    My Granny told me many, many times while I was growing up, “These are the best days of your life, you just don’t know it”.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    November 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    My dad and two of his brothers worked for a large timber company when we were kids, and they would sit on the front porch most days after work and talk while women folk got supper ready. We kids would crawl up under the porch and listen and collect the hand-rolled Prince Albert cigarette butts they thumped out on the ground for the small amount of tobacco left in them. Every few days we would have our own smoking party. I would love to win the used copy of Fred Chappell’s book.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 14, 2019 at 11:52 am

    When I was little, I asked Mama and Daddy a million questions. I forgot most of them when they started talking. One of the things I remember was I asked them what they had to eat during The Great Depression. They told me that one of the things they told me about was eating Snowbirds. Daddy hollered “they were little fellers, but they tasted like Chicken.” I asked him to make me one and he said to get a big flat rock and a forked stick and I’ll show you how I made mine.

    I sat by the window, for hours waiting on Snowbirds. Sometimes a Chicken would wonder off where it was and eat the scratch feed I put under there. I had the string in my hand and the window cracked just a bit, waiting on our catch. Me and Harold watched birds arrive, we got several birds, some robbins, but they were good too.

    When you live on a farm, you eat several things, some good and some not so good. We skinned posseums (didn’t eat ’em thow) and sold their hides to a Coffee man in Marble. I’ve eaten Coons,
    didn’t care much for them, I suppose they tasted like a House Cat. …Ken

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 11:37 am

    When we were kids all of us wanted to be older. When asked our age we said, “Eight going on nine.” or “Twelve going on thirteen.” even if our birthday was just last week. Now we wish we could be 20 or 30 again.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    November 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

    When you’re a kid and know everything you want to be grown…then when you’re grown and realize you don’t know everything you wish for your youth again.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Takes me back, yes, way back before television and before mandatory seat belts. I leaned over the front seat of the old ’49 Mercury and bombarded my poor parents with question after question. It took 45 minutes to get to Beckley, West Virginia, and I asked nonstop questions during the trip on that long winding road. Finally, my poor Dad just told me to sit down and quit asking questions. I still wonder why he wasn’t grateful that at least one of us didn’t become carsick and make a mess all over the back seat. I suspect I had to sit down when he didn’t know the answers. My last question about, “Where did the Indians come from” was never answered.
    Another memory was sitting on a couch bored with my sisters while the grownups played cards in the kitchen. I proceeded to take apart and tear up a mouse with a measuring tape coming out of its tail. Nobody ever figured out why that mouse’s tail was hanging off the coffee table. Bored children are a mess ‘a trouble. That was the way they reared children in my Appalachia. We were in the “Children should be seen and not heard” era. I quickly learned if I was funny enough and helpful enough I could get by with more. It helped that Mom was not much of a disciplinarian. They could really have used google in those days, but were left to draw from their own life experiences. We had to rely on eavesdropping which gets a bad rap. So much wonderful advice growing up never came from google. Mom said to always treat people well. Dad taught that you turn around and drive back if a shop keeper gave you too much change back. The best was to keep your word if you promise somebody something. Maybe we had to listen more back then, and we all turned out okay. The greatest generation came before google when one had to figure things out on their own.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Oh the stuff i was gonna do when i got grown . . . .

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 9:57 am

    I was always the quiet kid who sat near the adults. They were more intetesting than the other kids to me. The adults in our family rarely noticed me during their chatting times. I thought I had the power to ge invisible and that was why I could stay by. But I dared not ask a question because then I would be vanquished. Oh how I wanted to ask. Many of those adults are gone now. I never thought to ask them those questions when I was older when they would have taken me seriously. I wonder what they would have said?

    I live a long ways away from my family now. I’m visiting them in Michigan this week. Been over a year since I was last here. Yesterday, I sat with my remaining 6 aunts and uncles for hours playing cards (Tonk) and chatting. I looked at these people who I love so much talking about the latest round of doctor appointments and prognosis. They still tease each other like they have done forever and laugh long – but they move slow and you can see pain in their faces. And I asked a serious question – is this really where it all ends up? They laughed and said, “Yes. You keep living but its harder to do things and there is all this doctoring. Instead of helping your children with their lives, you are helping the grandchildren and great-grandchildren- keeping the future generations going. And you try to get together regularly with those you love so you can laugh and remember but there seems to be less time for that now. That is where it all ends up, if you are lucky.”

    I had a beautiful day with my oldest of relatives. I came back to my room for the night feeling blessed. But then, I started to cry. This could be the last time I experience this. They are all frail — but proudly refuse to admit it. I wish I could hold onto every moment of yesterday to replay and enjoy again and again. Already, many memories of yesterday slipped away during last night’s sleep.

    I hope, it is my destiny to be as lucky as they are.

    Thanks for the answer, dear ones.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    November 14, 2019 at 9:37 am

    This is the way it was, but with the internet I think children are getting more information than they can handle. Our parents did know best of what we needed to know.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 9:36 am

    My mother-in-law used to say, youngins ain’t got a care in the world and it will stay that way till they have youngins of their own. I think she meant that worries are real but become profound when we become parents.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 14, 2019 at 9:00 am

    The weather map showed a little snow just to the west of you in Tennessee and just to the south in Georgia. I hope you got to see a little bit.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 8:45 am

    When I was growing up, adults didn’t speak of sensitive matters in front of children. I think that allowed us to remain kids longer (even though we might’ve snuck downstairs to listen once in awhile). Seems like kids today are often just pint-sized adults; instead of carrying rocks and toys and fishin’ poles, they carry the stress and weight of the world. But maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 14, 2019 at 8:43 am

    You are so right. As kids we thought adults had all the freedom to do whatever they wanted. We didn’t see the responsibility that went with it. And the grownups were right to shoo us away to be a kid as long as we could. They knew the future would catch us soon enough. And they knew childhood would ever be a blessed time in memory.

  • Reply
    Cheryl W.
    November 14, 2019 at 8:42 am

    When we were little, my mom and aunt would talk around us in “pig latin”. It took a few years for use kids to figure it out, and we never did tell the adults we knew what they were saying. Love tHe title of this book!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 14, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Tipper–I already own the book so no need to include me in your drawing, but there is a flip side to all of this. One of my favorite outdoor writers, Havilah Babcock, summed it up pretty well when he suggested that childhood recollections grow in value as we age and that the more distant they are the more meaningful they become. I know that’s true for me, because memories of long ago yesteryears, when all the world was young and my oyster, stir my soul.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    carol harrison
    November 14, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Sitting quietly under the quilt frame while the church ladies and my grandma gossip about the village goings on: that’s the best way to learn the ways of the world. I remember looking at the lady or man they talked about and wondering if they really did all the things the gossip said they did. Imagination is a terrible thing to waste. Ha Ha.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    November 14, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Yes, I agree. I’m tired of being an adult. Well some days I’m not very adult. Once a man and twice a child. I don’t want to be that type of child. Hope I take after Dad’s side of the family.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 7:02 am

    right now i would really like to be a kid again!

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    November 14, 2019 at 6:40 am

    I remember sitting around the table and listening to the mommas talking. At least til thet noticed us sitting there. Then they ran us off to play.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 6:36 am

    Some of the troubles and fears facing God-fearing Parents today are far more devastating and shameful than they were 50yrs ago, when a Government and Society confuses a child to the point it can’t figure out which bathroom to go in, God helps all. Then the innocence of a child wants to know, what is the world about?

    • Reply
      November 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm


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