My Mountain Momma


Tipper and Granny
Granny and me – 1972 Wilson Holler

I never realized the worth of my Mountain Momma until I had my girls. Almost immediately a curtain was pulled back and I could see the whole picture of being a mother. I felt like telling her: Oh, now I see what you did Momma.

Of course Mothers provide food, shelter, love, but so many other things I took for granted.

A few examples: I really need that for school tomorrow would you drive all the way back into town for me? I know you cooked super, but would you make me an egg sandwich instead? I know we don’t have much money, but I really want that new pair of shoes. I know you’re really tired but would you stay up late and make sure my clothes are washed for tomorrow?  I was a spoiled child, so on and on that list would go for me, and at the end of the list my mountain momma always answered “yes”.

Growing up in appalachia - western nc

Granny and me in our matching polyester outfits she made – 1974 Sherlocks

When Chatter and Chitter were just learning to talk you could ask them who they were and they would say momma. Pap said “How in the world did you confuse them that bad?” I still have no clue why they thought their names were momma.

It’s interesting how people shorten the word mother or use it in different forms. I’ve always thought it sweet how some older folks use the word mommy when speaking of their mother. My brothers and I use the typical momma. Chitter went through a phase where she called me ma. My Dad and his siblings used the actual word mother and I always thought that was so endearing.

I’m going to leave you with 3 random things about my mountain momma. I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me 3 random things about your mother.

*My mountain momma has a contest with herself each summer. She cans more quarts of green beans than she did the year before, last year’s total 98.

*She crotchets so many hats, scarves, ponchos, and throws for her kids and grandkids we’ve all ran out of room to store them.

*She went without her back porch for over 15 years because there was other things to pay for-mostly my braces. (our back door literally opened to a drop of about 4 feet until she got her porch)

Happy Mother’s Day to all!


I originally published this post in May of 2008. I wrote it about Granny-who is my Mother.


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  • Reply
    May 19, 2012 at 12:06 am

    My 30 year old daughter still says, “I love you, Mommy!” And I have facebook posts to prove it. LOL

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    May 14, 2012 at 10:03 am

    what a great sharing and such good posts in reply. Love Paul singing Little Old Lady…
    My Mom was a make do kind of Mom, too, and always there when I needed her, especially with my children, grandchildren and, her greatest delight, my great-grandchildren. She always let everyone know she had GREAT-GREAT GRANDCHILDREN and if we went out as a family she’s proudly announce we were five generations.
    Happy Day to you and Granny (albeit a bit late) xoxo

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Thanks for a lovely post. I had a grandfather who was known to everyone as Grandpa no matter how they were related to him and even if they weren’t, so I understand perfectly.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 14, 2012 at 1:32 am

    tipper.. happy mothers day to you.. and all the acorners … lol
    hope your day was filled with lots of love and happiness..
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    What a lovely tribute! Happy Mother’s Day Grannie & Tipper!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    May 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Three Random Things About My Mother:
    1. Alzheimer’s: What she has been suffering through these last 8 years (and possibly longer as I can look back now and see earlier signs of onset). She is in what they call stage 4 now and she may not be here much longer. She is 82. She had me when she was 39.
    2. Piano, Organ, Guitar, and Banjo – the instruments she could play. I have her Piano now.
    3. My father was her one and only husband. They were married 51 years, and almost 7 months when my Dad passed away. She’s been a widow for 8 years now.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    May 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Tipper: happy mothers day to you and granny. i lost my mom 5 years ago,she was 90,and thank the good lord she remained in good mind and health,right up to the end the last few years she lived across the street with my sis. i was fortunate to be with her every day. she died in my arms. how i miss her. regards k.o.h

  • Reply
    Oregon girl
    May 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Loved the photos and especially the sweet words in remembrance of your mother. Have always heard we are never the same person after losing our mother and I, for one, know that is true!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Well, Tipper, you can’t get a better compliment than your mother-in-law saying you are the best mother ever! My mother, even at age 76, can accomplish any task at twice the speed of an average person and does it well. Except for sending emails-her arthritic fingers create some awesome and funny misspellings. She loves marzipan and her eyes twinkle like crazy if I buy her those marzipan fruit candies. Woe to him/her who hurts her daughter’s feelings-the mama bear comes out!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Happy Mother’s you, Granny and all…
    It’s kinda rainy and dreary here today…and a little sad for us…
    I never believed I would miss the rush, rush, rush, to drive to two other counties to take Mother’s Day presents, cards and flowers to both of our Mothers’…Seems like with our children celebrating (my day too,) and then packing up to go the distance to the others, it was an all day trip of running back and forth! LOL…We always got back late to put the kids to bed for early rising for school the next day….
    Oh boy, do I wish I was on the road running around taking those cards, flowers and presents to our wonderful Mothers…But you know, what I’m so happy and glad that we did it back then, rarely missing the exact Mother’s Day, unless one of us was sick…Even though both would say…”Oh, you didn’t have to drive all the way over here for me today!” But we did because we wanted to and we loved them….That was the very least we could do, for all they did for us, especially when we saw the happiness in their eyes….
    Hugs and kisses dear wonderful Mothers’
    Thankyou for a great post about your Mother (Granny)…

  • Reply
    Charlotte Woody
    May 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    God didn’t bless me with children so I’ve come to fully appreciate my mother as I have aged. I was reminded of her this morning as I walked into church with a woman who is my age but became friends with my mother. She told me once again about the good advice and counseling she received from my mother. For many years I lived far away from the place I was raised. It touched me that my mother was a mentor to this woman and so appreciated by her during those years.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms
    I lost my Mom in 1997′ but things I remember:
    1. She was born legally blind, which means that she could see something, but not much. She could play any piece of piano music perfectly once she heard it. She loved playing and she played an amazing ragtime piano, any tune. She took 7 years of piano lessons and her teacher never learned that she could not read (actually couldn’t see the music unless within about 4 inches of the page) the music because her teacher would play it one time and that was all Mom needed.
    2. She also loved to sing and sang alto in our church choir. Our house was filled with the joy of music, for which I will always be grateful. Music continues to be my great joy and favorite hobby.
    3. She was a loving mom and a great encourager to me and my brother. She thought we could do anything we set our minds to, but she never tried to steer us toward or away from anything in the way of careers. She truly wanted us to find happiness.
    I grew up in a “Leave it to Beaver” house. I could not have asked for a better family life. Whatever my shortcomings, I can’t blame them on my childhood.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    *Though we were poor, our Mom never let us wear stained clothing or clothing that needed mending, even if it was just a missing button. She was great at getting stains out of clothes so the next kid could wear them when they got to that size; and if she couldn’t get the stains out, she’d remove the buttons to put in the button tin in case she ever needed just that button in the future, and the rest of the item became a rag.
    *Our Mom was innovative in thinking up new ways to do things. I most remember her hiding our Easter baskets and Christmas stockings as we got older, and giving us each a “treasure map” to find them. It made the day more fun and lasted longer.
    *Our Mom was great at making food stretch. How, on our meager budget, she managed to have a meat, two vegetables, milk and bread (as required by Dad) for every evening dinner and Sunday dinner, enough to feed a VERY “picky” hubby and six “semi-picky” kids, I’ll never know.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Tipper, pass the tissues please, too many memories flooding in all at once trying to be first. Whew, thank you for another walk down memory lane. T

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Lovely post, Tipper! My mother made sure I learned how to cook — When I was in high school it was my job to cook dinner every Thursday night. She taught me to prefer a little good stuff to a lot of worthless stuff. And she taught me importance of not postponing joy.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    My mountain mama prayed for my daddy for 25 years, never doubting God’s faithfulness. Her prayers were answered, and she was so thankful for his changed life!
    My mountain mama held down a full time job, came home after work and began another full time job–gardening, canning, cooking, cleaning, just generally taking care of my daddy, my brother and me.
    My mountain mama loved me and was my cheerleader throughout her life.
    Sh’s in Glory now with Daddy. I know she’s waiting there for the rest of us.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tipper!
    I also called my mommy ‘Granny’. My girls called her Granny Grunt.
    She never had or wanted many material things. She continued to use her wringer washer and wood cook stove many years after everybody else was using automatic washers and electric stoves.
    She could out-work all of her children and never complained. When she passed away, she wasn’t taking any prescriptions. Goes to show that hard work kept her healthy. She died in a car wreck or would likely still be digging and planting.
    They always say that everyone has a job in Heaven. Her job is surely taking care of the flowers. I remember people stopping to ask what kind of flowers she had planted. She would dig a strip of ground about a foot wide and 200-300 feet long and plant Scarlet Sage or Sweet Williams. What a beautiful sight!She always saved her seeds and had plenty to share.
    I’m so thankful for all the memories. I can almost see her blushing at the words I have written.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    May 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I have seven sisters and four brothers. All of us agree our favorite memory of our mama is waiting to hear her pray for us. You see mom didn’t drive we lived in the country so when she got frustrated she would go to the basement of our home and pray. We could hear her through the heat registers all through the house. So we would wait and listen as she prayed for us by name one by one. Oh to leave a legacy like that for my kids 🙂

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I remember when you made this post
    “My Mountain Momma”, and it’s just
    as touchin’ now as it was then.
    To me my mama was the kindest, most gentle person I’ve ever known. And she was the greatest
    example of a Christian who really
    loved our Lord. I wish she could
    see her Garden now. Happy Mother’s

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Tipper, thanks for offering all of us an opportunity for praise and fond recollection of our mothers.
    I’ll try to add a bit to Don’s memories of our mother, who has now been gone well over a decade.
    First, he’s exactly right about her fried chicken. I’m not sure precisely what the secret was, although I know exactly how she prepared it. In our house the old Bobby Bare song “Chicken Every Sunday, Lord, Chicken Every Sunday” rang true, and Mom fried it well before we set off to Sunday School. She then placed it it a big cast iron pan in the oven on low heat. I think that had the combined result of tenderizing the meat and cooking some of the grease out. Whatever the exact situation, her chicken was culinary magic.
    She could be persuasive, as Don noted about dusting, but she also knew how to get your attention when one went astray. I endured plenty of her switchings in good stead, but those few times she said “I’m going to let your Daddy whip you” were pure agony. The waiting preyed on your mind all day, and I think she knew it.
    The third thing I will note about Momma was that she epitomized the old mountain adage suggesting you should “make do with what you’ve got.” I gradually came to realize, in adulthood, that hers was a tough and impoverished childhood. She was frugal in the extreme, like most folks who came of age in the Depression, and the concept of waste simple wasn’t in her mindset.
    Likely because of her tough childhood, I’ve never known anyone, adult or child, who got greater joy out of Christmas. She would get so excited, right through her final Christmas, that the joy leaped from her eyes and her whole being. Some of my most cherished photos of her show her opening presents.
    That childlike joy was a wonderful attribute, as was her singularly giving nature. Don mentioned the store of dimes. I remember that, but for me an even more poignant recollection were those periodic occasions when I was in undergraduate school when a letter would arrive with a couple of $1 bills or maybe a $5 bill tucked inside. That might not be much in today’s world, but when I was in college to have folding money was rare indeed for me. I know Mom scrimped and saved to make that happen, and I honor her memory for that ability to give so others could know some of the joy she always exuded.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I’m one of the former confused–I thought your mother was your grandmother all of this time. And I’ve subscribed to this blog for how long?
    We used to try to call my mother “ma” on purpose and she would have a fit and say “I am NOT Ma Kettle, try again”. (Her side of the family is a little uppity, lol!)
    Thanks for laugh this morning & Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Love your post Tipper, Happy Mother’s Day to you.
    1) Walking to the beach w/ Mom and poking Portuguese Man-O-Wars together.
    2) Mom blasting music and dancing with us kids while doing house work.
    3) Picnic lunches Mom made and served us kids out back on the picnic table. Bologna sandwiches and cool-aide.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

    * Mommy’s biscuits and cornbread were as good or better the next day if any ever survived that long.
    ** Mommy wasn’t happy if she couldn’t can at least 100 quarts of green bean and blackberries every year. Daddy built her a can house back into the mountain side. I used to go in and count cans to see how many more blackberries I had to pick to get her to 100. She wouldn’t let me count last year’s cans, if there was any. She picked, strung, specked, broke and canned the beans all by herself.
    *** Mommy had a Singer treadle sewing machine that made a lot of our clothes. We would bring home pre-cut shirts from the “clothing room” at Almond School for her to sew together. She would sew two together for every one we kept. The other one went back to the clothing room for kids who’s mothers couldn’t or wouldn’t sew. They were nice looking shirts too but they were all the same pale green color. I had a clean shirt every day but being the “worry wart” I was, I thought everybody would think I was wearing the same shirt every day. Mommy would say “It don’t matter what they think.” It took me 50 plus years to take that phrase to heart.
    Mommy died in 1975. The only grandchild she got to see was born in 1973 so she never really got to be a “Granny.”
    I could go on and on and on but you said three so I’d better shut up now.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I don’t remember seeing that picture of you and Granny but it’s a keeper. Happy Mothers Day.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    May 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I agree with you, Tipper. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I realized just how much my mother (and father) loved me. There is no greater love!
    Happy Mother’s Day.
    When I was a kid I asked my mother why there was a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no Children’s Day? She said, “EVERY day is children’s day!!”

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    May 13, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tipper!
    My mom also was home waiting for us after school everyday – I treasure that memory now.
    She made, and still makes, the best apple pies on the planet. She always tells me she loves me when we talk on the phone.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    May 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

    There is so many things that I could thank Mom for I wouldn’t know where to start, I know she loved flowers and she must have had two green thumbs (I may have one) she could break a part of a flower and put in water to start a root system. I miss all these things and mostly miss and love her.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    May 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    My mama has been gone for 5 years now.. but not a day goes by that thoughts of her do not come to me. Three things:
    1. She lived through so many hard times, lived through the Spanish Influenza, the Depression, made it through WW2 (worrying about 2 brothers in the war), and Vietnam (numerous nephews)but she was always hopeful for the future.
    2.She always saw to it that others had, even when it meant her having none.
    2. She always had a lap for holding you and hugs which always made you feel better. And it didn’t matter if you were 2, 20 or 50. My mama always said, ” you will always be my little girl until the day I die.”
    Today.. the thing I would love to hear above all others, is her voice calling me to come inside, its time to come in.

  • Reply
    Rose C.
    May 13, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Happy Mothers Day! Enjoy your day with your kids and make some new memories!

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    May 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I have very loving memories of my Mama. That is what my brothers and I always called her.
    Of course, her cooking was the best. Fried chicken, biscuits, deviled eggs, so many wonderful things. She would cook everyone a big breakfast, but she almost always just had her toast and coffee.
    She worked all her life, retiring at age 75. She always had fairly low paying jobs as a secretary or processing clerk in law firms. She got us three boys through college, though.
    Thank you for being there for us, Mama.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Tipper, I love your tribute to Granny. Your love shines bright.
    I have had a mother and I’ve been a mother and in all my experience you are, by far, the best mother I’ve ever seen. Three thing….among many. One, you taught your girls love and respect, by example. Two, you have lead them and walked with them, not sent them alone out in the world. Third, you’ve taught them the value of pottery shards, rocks, and arrowheads.
    Thank you for being such a good mother to my granddaughters.
    Happy Mothers Day!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I knew you had a wonderful Mother, as good Mothers raise good kids! It is wonderful that a good Mother passes this trait on, and it affects children for generations.
    My Mother used to have a goal of 500 cans as this had to last through the long Winter, and Summer was spent mostly washing jars and canning everything. I can remember her canning wild greens. She spent the Winter crocheting and sold her “stand up doilies” in the sixties. She graduated to Cathedral Window quilts. She is almost 90, and I now care for her. Surely there must be a special crown for Mothers who found time to teach you the basics of survival while also teaching you it is wrong to gossip and to “look down” on anybody. Happy Mother’s day to my Mama and all the other wonderful Mothers out there.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

    After I had kids my mom became “Nanny”. I’ve been trying to think of three random things about my’s hard after all these years. I think that’s sad.
    1. She loved to iron. She even took in ironing even though we didn’t need the money.2. She would give up any special treat we had to my brother or me. She never said you ate yours. 3. She loved “Wheel of Fortune”. I loved the pictures of you and your mom.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    May 13, 2012 at 7:53 am

    May you have a wonderful Mother’s Day! I was a city girl, so we didn’t have drop off doorways, but we didn’t have much money. We just didn’t realize that we didn’t have to have it all like many kids today. Heck! We never had TV until I was seven/eight. It was a big day when my Dad brought one home. Those were the good old days – family days!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 13, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I think we all must get older to realize how much our Mommas did for us, your post brings the memories flooding back. We thought nothing of the things they did without just so they could give us the things we wanted. Now that my Momma has gone on I think of things every day I wish I could ask her and things I could thank her for.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

    My mom has done gone home to glory land but one can always remember things—- First and foremost she was always and I do mean always was there when I came home from school for all of those 12 years and I think that made a real difference in my life so I did not need to come home to an empty house—#2 she had to pin her bra straps together for there was no material left to sew it up—she did that quite often to put her children’s needs before her own—#3 when school was in never did I not come down stairs to find breakfast waiting even if she had just poured out a bowl of cereal—-is it not interesting the things that come to mind when asked to do a memory search—so thanks Tipper for helping me think of my mom even more today—sometimes in the past 10 yrs I kinda leave today slip by for it is sad that she needed to leave us so early in this life and yet I know in my heart she is at a better place.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Your Mama is beautiful! I sure do miss mine. She would do without things to meet other’s needs. She and Dad sang in church. She made the best black walnut fudge. Happy Mother’s Day to ya’ll, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    May 13, 2012 at 7:45 am

    My mountain momma never stood in front of us, but she always had our backs.
    My mountain momma never hid the truth from you, but she’d sometimes misdirect so you didn’t have to grow up too soon.
    My mountain momma rose from her bed at 4, after hitting it at 12, just to drink black coffee by herself and prepare for another day at the circus.
    My mountain momma

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 13, 2012 at 7:44 am

    What a beautiful and meaningful tribute to your “Mountain Momma” (aka “Granny”). How typical of the self-denying, giving spirit of a mountain momma, always putting others ahead of herself and her wants. The Mothers (yes, you will see in a moment why plural) in my growing up years were like your Mountain Momma-as was my own. However, my dear mother died when I was fourteen, and I suddenly found myself as “chief cook, bottle washer, mother-to-my-eleven-year-old brother, and all the things the “woman” in a farm home does. Was it hard? Indeed! One of the hardest was not having my own dear Momma there to guide me. So others, like my Aunts Northa, Avery and Ethel, helped in the advice-area, and with God’s help and a great amount of determination (which i learned from both my dear Mother and Father), i jumped from early-teenage to adulthood immediately. Looking back now, I wonder how I ever managed! But we mountain born and bred people learn young to take life as it comes and make the most of it. I say all of this not to elicit sympathy or praise; but to give tribute to a worthy and wonderful mother who had instilled in her daughter much of what is basic and important about life. Every year at Mother’s Day, I am grateful all over again that I had her in my life for fourteen years, and that her influence lived on in my life even to this present day and beyond. To God be the glory! A wonderful Mother’s Day to all mothers who read this.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 13, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Okay, three random things about Mama:
    1. She could make the best fried chicken – by far – that I’ve ever eaten. It was exceptionally tender – almost melt in your mouth.
    2. She knew how to get you to want to do something that you’d normally have hated to do. Take dusting for example. I remember the first time I dusted the dining room for her; I must have been about 6 years old. One day she got out the dusting rags, handed me one and told me she thought I was big enough then to be able to dust. When I was through, she said “Why, that’s the best job of dusting I’ve ever seen” (I’m sure it was hit and miss). From that day on, I never minded dusting for Mama.
    3. We didn’t have a lot of money, but Mama was rich – she had an endless supply of yankee dimes for her children.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

    we called my mother, Mama and her mother Gonnie, because is could not say grannie. the name stuck and even the people at her workplace called her Gonnie. her tomb stone says Gonnie and the dates. that is what she wanted. my dad’s mother was Mommy. my grand kids call me grandma and my boys called my mother grandma.
    3 things about my mother. She was kind and gentle and i never saw her lose her temper or speak in an angry voice and never ever heard an ugly word from her.
    she loved daddy from the day she met him at age 17, they married on her 18th birthday and he was 31.
    she loved her grandchildren better than she loved us and that was a lot

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    May 13, 2012 at 5:02 am

    I remember how good the fish and squirrels that I drug home would taste with my mom’s buttery mashed potatoes. Like the unappreciative jerk I was, I never thought to dry the dishes for her.

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