Appalachia Overheard




“All I had to play with was a stick and a pile of dirt and that was enough.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


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  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    add a little water and make mud pies, mud houses, and dribble art or plaster your legs with a new pair of “boots” and your hands with a fancy pair of “gloves or cover yourself in it and pretend you are some aborigine you’ve see in the library in National Geographic; use the stick to trace gardens or treasure maps or towns or exotic far away places or draw games . . . ; sometimes I wonder how long it would take children today to stop saying “i’m bored!” and free up their minds to the adventures that await them.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    I have a big brother Harold too. We didn’t play in a sawdust pile. Our pile was chicken poop. It was mostly shavings from a planer mill that was used for bedding in the chicken houses. We had to clean it out between flocks to cut down on disease. Daddy would pile it up and let it compost for a couple of years before he spread it on the the garden and the fields. He said that once it went through a heat it was safe and let us play in it.
    The reason I say in it instead of on it is because I have a vivid memory of when Harold and I dug holes and buried each other in it. We would see how long we could stay under”ground” before we had to come out for air. The last time we played that game, it was Harold’s time to be buried. We dug the hole and he got in it. I took the shovel and covered him up even taking the trouble to mound his grave. After a several minutes he hadn’t come up for air and I panicked. I grabbed the shovel and started digging as fast as I could. Just as I got close to him, he decided to raise up. You guessed it! A big old gash across his forehead.
    I was thinking I was going to dig in to him and find him dead. Instead I had dug in and killed him. But he saw fine. He bled a while, Mommy patched him up and we went back to playing. But not in a pile of chicken poop. Nope, never again.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    B. Ruth’s comment about Don Williams passing Friday was news to me. He was one of my Favorite Country Music Singers, expecially “Amanda”. And another country star died within just hours of Don was Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry. Don was 78, but Troy was only 50, he died in a helicopter crash in New Jersey. James (my friend and in a wheelchair) used to play Don Williams song, “Lord, I hope this Day is Good.”
    Thanks Beverly for letting me know about Don. I’ve been watching too much Hurricane to hear any news. …Ken

  • Reply
    Aquilla Yagoda
    September 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    We would take empty tin cans and step in them. This would hold tight around our shoes and we would walk around pretending we were in high heels. Sometimes we would draw a house in the dirt and walk from room to room in our high heels while pretend dusting, and cooking.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I’m so sad this morning, not only because of the hurricanes, earthquakes, rumors of war, denial by ones we respected in the pulpit, etc.., etc….although these things and times are and were expected if you are a believer.
    I will sadly miss Don Williams…the smooth, soft-spoken country artist, known to some as the gentle giant. I have one of his first albums, even though I have long since replaced my record player with a modern updated CD player…His voice was mesmerizing!
    We also lost Gentry of Montgomery Gentry duo…I would listen to them but I’m just an old soul of good old country music and bluegrass…
    Rest in peace guys….
    Prayers to all the families that suffered during the earthquake and all those in the path of these terrible storms.
    Thanks Tipper,
    Yes, the play of a child with a stick and a pile of dry dirt; a memory from the simple life seems so welcome now~

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 9, 2017 at 11:07 am

    That is pretty slim pickings alright. But country kids find never-failing interest and entertainment in changing nature. I recall we used to cut off saplings about 3-4 feet high, upend a can over the stub, pull back on the can and send it rocketing through the woods. We never had a name for it and I have no idea whose idea it was. We also used to “ride over” saplings by climbing them then using our body weight to bend the tops to the ground. But woe betide you if you didn’t climb quite high enough or picked too sturdy a sapling. Either one would leave you dangling in the air too high to let go.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

    When me and Harold was young we were all the time playing on a big sawdust pile, while my daddy and older brothers worked in the cornfield. We used Carnation Cream cans to roll and had nice roads all around that sawdust pile. One time daddy and my brothers were taking a break and heard me and Harold driving them cans up the sawdust pile. We pretended they were sometimes big trucks, pulling to the top and I guess it sounded like Jerry Clower telling one of his stories. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 9, 2017 at 10:50 am

    All I had was a stick. I had to pile my own dirt.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Well, that’s a person who has had a lot of useful practice at making their own fun!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

    The besy toys. We used to rake pine needles into a house shape on the ground and play house. Kids use what they have

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    September 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I overheard one this week that made me think of these posts: “Oh yeah, that’s out there where there ain’t no one ever is.”

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 9, 2017 at 7:53 am


  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    September 9, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Toss in a few rocks and I’m in!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 9, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I’ve heard that expression before but it was not my experience, but as a kid let me go in the woods and I could entertain myself for hours. I was happy in the woods especially if there was also a creek!

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