Appalachia Overheard



“He said he pondered on it all the time; how his people had all got gone way to early.”

Pine Log – February 2016


Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


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  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    February 27, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I ponder on a lot of things. What my wife finds highly entertaining is what she calls our “reckless use of prepositions.” So, I might ponder “on” this weather “of” a morning until I am sick “on” my stomach.
    One of the things I love most about going home is hearing real talk. Well, that and the food.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    February 27, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    “He said he pondered on it all the time; how his people had all got gone way to early.”
    Now that’s something to ponder about, because it would make one wonder how long they’d be on the earth, wouldn’t it.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I just got my Internet System fixed, thanks to Noah in Rochester, N.Y. My whole system got knocked out last Tuesday after 4 hours of power outage. They turned too much power back on and it wiped out about 10 places near my shop, including mine. Then when I called Frontier, they said they were sending me a new modem or router next day air. This was Friday when I finally got a new one from UPS and after 4 o’clock at that. Anyway, this guy in Rochester stayed on the phone with me and was very knowledgeable about stuff. He had me to switch my phone line and DSL lines in the splitter, opposite from what it said. Then we had to go in and change passwords for my new modem. Yea, me,
    I got the Blind Pig and the Acorn again…Ken

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Lots to ponder about here: folks I know use ponder to express rational and thoughtful consideration of an idea or problem; “mull over” is when the question isn’t in the forefront of the mind but surfaces now and then until the person finally has decided what to do; “ruminate” and “tussle” fit here to but are more active in the mind with “ruminate” crossing back and forth between “mulling” and “pondering” and “tussle” occurring when a problem or thought causes physical agitation such as pacing or rubbing one’s head or arms, etc. And then there’s “cogitating” – which is really just a way of making it seem like one is giving consideration to a problem when they’re really just procrastinating!
    “Got gone to soon” – somehow that seems to imply another force (illness, accident) taking a hold of a person and causing their death rather than natural causes; or maybe it’s more like this common phrase in our family: “I’m fixin’ to get ready to”. One of my youngest son’s earlier girl friends found this one particularly perplexing. But it has value – like when you are finishing a chore before getting cleaned up for church.
    Guess I’ve been cogitating long enough. Have the last of the laundry to put in it’s place and then have to go wind up fence wire. We’re changing the perimeter fence around the pasture from electric wire to bull net. The deer keep taking the electric wire down when they jump in and out of the pasture and the neighbors’ cows keep breaking into our pasture. After seeding it with natives last spring we’ve been trying to let it rest a year before introducing cattle onto it again – the neighbors’ cows just have other ideas – grrrr!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Sometimes, we ‘study on it’ for a while, then perhaps ponder it, or not.
    “After Uncle Caleb got gone and was buried, I studied on what to put on his tombstone”…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    After pondering the second part of the phrase, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody died early. In some instances children move away as soon as they were of legal age. Sometimes families scatter like chaff in the wind leaving only one (and sometimes none) behind. The “got gone” is the part that has me leaning in that direction. “Got” in my mind indicates there was a choice. If it said “had gone on” then death comes to mind.
    And speaking of Ponder, my father used to talk about someone he called Y O Ponder. I don’t know if it was a real name or a fictional character. There are distantly related Ponders in Madison County but I don’t think he would have known them. Ever heard of Y O Ponder?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 27, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Is it me or what? I “wonder” about things…then I “ponder” over things…The term “ponder” didn’t catch my attention, since I use “ponder” quite a bit in conversation and when I comment. The phrase
    “HAD GOT GONE” rather than “had gone” after wondering about it initially, now has me “Googling” the history of “HAD GOT GONE” and “pondering the usages in Appalachian dialect!!! ha
    Thanks, Did I clarify myself….probably not!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I have a friend in Utah that had a stroke. She had known what ponder meant before but had no idea of the use afterwards. That was the first of many things we noticed about the effects of the stroke. Later when she had the flu and was in the emergency room her son asked, “What’s wrong? she said, “They won’t know until they get the autopsy results.” We finally realized she had heard a medical program on tv and thought the doctors were talking about her.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I have always noticed how much better decisions are if one ponders. Pondering takes all the options into consideration, and lets us know we have made the best choice for the best outcome. Also, I love the reviews online with purchases, as it helps us learn by other’s experiences.
    Is pondering much like “mulling it over?”

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon Hopkins
    February 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

    When I was researching my family’s roots, I found that my grandfather and grandmother were living in Ponder, GA at the time of their death. I later found the Ponder Post Office and the story behind it. It seems that a group of people living “Up on the River” saw the need for a Post Office in their community and got together and were pondering what to name it … thus, the name “Ponder”. It is still standing up on the Nottely River.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

    It is very hard to see your loved ones and peers go to the Father leaving you with just fond memories. It truly brings your mortality to the forefront! Reminds us to create as many wonderful memories as we can with those we love.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 27, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Yep, I find more to ponder all the time. Seems life is multiple layers of mystery. I don’t expect to solve my own personal one. Solomon tried the solve the universal one of finding ‘that good that men should do’ with only partial success.
    In the end, it seems always to come out at the point of having faith as the only way to deal with the ‘imponderables’. And there are some questions for which we will not accept anyone else’s answer but must come to our own by our own path. That’s hard to accept sometimes when we are confident we know ‘the’ answer. Sometimes we just have to be able to wait until people see the wisdom of it. But here is an odd thing, when people come to their answer for themselves they own it as their own even if someone told them the very same thing long before.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 27, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Because I’ve heard the phrase….”Gone to soon” or “gone on to early”, my minds eye skipped over the word “got” in your post. When I read it again, I read it correctly. Very interesting way to phrase the sentence. …his people had all got gone way to early.” I wonder how that turn of phrase started?
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 27, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I like that word ‘ponder’ I use it a lot and actually I do ponder on things, a lot.

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