Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

March 4th (Forth)

March Fourth in Appalachia

Back in 2017 I wrote about Kenneth Roper’s mother telling her boys March 4th was the command day of the year.

As I researched the saying I quickly discovered March 4th is the only day of the year that can be considered a sentence—March Forth. I also discovered there were other folks like Kenneth’s mother who thought of the day as a command day.

A few folks used March 4th as a day to begin a new project or goal while others used it as a nudge to finish a project that had been hanging over them for way too long.

As I thought about the significance of the day back in 2017 I listed out what each of the Blind Pig family would be marching forth to complete.

  • The Deer Hunter will march forth to change the water pump on the girls car.
  • Chatter will march forth to Peachtree to teach a new friend who’s visiting from Finland how to make lotion.
  • Chitter will march forth to her workbench in the basement to work on her latest jewelry design.
  • I will march forth to complete my Saturday chores so that I can plan what I want to talk to you about in the coming week.

Since March 4th falls on a different day this year our list of commands is a little different…well most of them.

  • The Deer Hunter will march forth to work where he will begin the installation of a new metal building.
  • Chatter will march forth to work for most of the day and then give a guitar lesson to a nice young lady in Hayesville.
  • Chitter will march forth to her workbench in the basement to work on her latest jewelry design.
  • I will march forth to work on various things for the Folk School including filming an upcoming Morningsong.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know if you’ve ever heard of March 4th being the command day of the year.


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  • Reply
    Thomas B
    March 10, 2021 at 2:40 am

    This is the first time I have ever heard the term March Forth but its brilliant. The simplicity of doing the next thing in front of you and fulfilling a responsibility is a powerful tool for self improvement.

  • Reply
    Micky Trenkle
    March 6, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    It’s March 6th today… so I’m late in my comment for the 4th of March. My brother-in-law’s
    birthday is March 4th, and he’s always said…. “March 4th – is the most commanding day of the year”
    Since I’ve known him for almost 50 years – that’s a long time to hear him say that. But don’t think it’d be March ‘forth’ until he said that! He turned 75 this year!

    • Reply
      March 6, 2021 at 4:39 pm

      Micky-love your brother’s saying! I hope he had a very happy birthday!

  • Reply
    Tony Maynard
    March 6, 2021 at 10:52 am

    This is news to me.Guess I better get going!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2021 at 5:15 am

    Haven’t heard of Command Day or Marching Forth. I need to ask Mama and Pap if they heard of it.
    Well, I had a day Marching Forth getting the garden and orchard ready by pruning the fruit trees, finally getting that soil sample, cutting the cover crop, cleaning drip valves and couplings, and finally ordering new parts for the drip system.

    I’d like to keep this momentum for, at least, the entire month of March.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    March 4, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    It’s pretty late on March 4th…. I am pretty tired from raking old oak leaves in my back yard ….So I guess I will just put off marching until the 5th….or the 6th…..or the 7th…….

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    March forth worked today, I finished the project I wrote about putting off this morning. My neighbor wanted me to make something for her and I had been putting it off. When I was younger I enjoyed building things out of wood, now that I am older it makes as nervous as a cat on a tin roof hunting a sand pile. I want every thing to be perfect and I am not good enough to make it that way and I end up unhappy about the way it turns out. I was pretty happy with what I made today.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      March 5, 2021 at 12:21 am

      I hauled off my neighbor’s trash today. It’s hard to mess up trash and if you do, you can always blame it on them cheap bags they make these days. I didn’t have any problems so I guess I started my March forth on the right foot.

  • Reply
    Dona DiBernardo Silver
    March 4, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    I read this post early this morning and was going to March forth and leave a comment but I fell back to sleep.
    When I woke I decided to March forth and clean my closet. Well that is going to run into March fifth. But at least my spring cleaning started early.
    By the way I never heard of March forth and I am sure I will never forget it

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    March 4, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I have marched forth this morning and disced my garden hoping to dry it out. May be able to plant potatoes in a couple of days, about 2 weeks late due to rain. I normally plant them around Valentine’s day so I can scratch up some for Mothers Day. It’s my Mothers Day present to my wife each year.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I’ve never heard of it either but like it too… Today I’m thankful for God’s Mercy and Grace to be able to get up and March forth …and today I’m Marching forth to get my first Covid immunization , then Marching back forth home to give Molly (our dog a bath) … ❣️

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 10:57 am

    I had not heard that expression but I like it. It is supposed to get up to 70 degrees here in SE MS today so I am going to March Forth and do some clean up work out side. I’ve had both my vaccine shots so I am ready to venture out just a little bit but will still be wearing my mask and following the CDC’s recommendations.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 10:52 am

    That is a new one for me but it gives me some incentive to March forth to accomplish something today.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I had not heard of that expression. I am looking forward to Marching Forth, but will have to check the weather every single day to see what it brings.

  • Reply
    Ray Presleyt
    March 4, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Now that I’ve heard “March Forth” I guess I’ll just have to get off my beehind and do something useful instead of sitting here, thinking about that third cup of coffee, which I don’t need anyway, especially with a big cookie!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 4, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Today I March Forth to the Opthamolofixt for a posy cataract surgery check of my left eye and to plan the procedure for my right eye.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 9:04 am

    hadn’t heard of this saying for the 4th but I’m glad you spoke about it because now I have the motivation to leave my bed! Marching forth to complete several loose end projects at work and getting back on my fitness routine!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 4, 2021 at 8:32 am

    I must have read your 2017 post so I guess I have heard of March 4th being a command day. But the idea of command days still seems new to me. Reckon I’ll be turning the garden today with a turning fork.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2021 at 8:24 am

    I have never heard of March forth day. Maybe there is something to it, I have been planning on doing something today that I have been putting off for some time..

  • Reply
    Margie G
    March 4, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Never heard “ March forth.” It’s definitely interesting. Have a good day all.

  • Reply
    Dan O’Connor
    March 4, 2021 at 7:18 am

    I’ve never heard of March 4th as a command day, but I really like that idea. Encouragement of any kind is always a good thing!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 4, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Today I march Forth and take Yoda (my much loved cat) to the vet for a checkup. He’s an old boy now at 18 years!
    I have not heard of Marching Forth, but I like it!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 4, 2021 at 6:47 am

    I have not heard of this being the Forth Day but it is a good idea to finish projects and start new ones. Since I retired I have been putting things off thinking I have all week to do that. Especially with the pandemic. Most things have been cancelled. I have had both shots so I am ready to venture out a bit more. March fourth would be a good day to start.

  • Reply
    Rebecca A Freeman
    March 4, 2021 at 6:40 am

    I’m excited to say that I’m “Marching forth” from my home in Pennsylvania to Bakersville, NC this morning! I’m going with my lifelong friend, whose family are from Mitchell County. Looking forward to a beautiful extended weekend.

    • Reply
      March 4, 2021 at 8:32 am

      Rebecca, in the past, my wife and me would spend several days each year in October in the the Bakersville, Burnsville, and Spruce Pine area of NC. We always enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy your weekend.

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