Appalachia courting/love Customs

Picnic Baskets and Love


“My grandmother said that she remembered when she was fifteen or sixteen years old, maybe younger than that, thirteen or fourteen, and they were having a picnic where all the girls made picnic baskets. They would take them up in the valley and have a big picnic and auction off the picnic baskets to rise money for the church. The boys tried to get their girlfriend’s picnic basket. She had made a basket, and they were sitting there, and all of a sudden these two men on these two big horses came riding up through the valley where they were. They were real tall-looking gentlemen, a man and his son. They younger man was seventeen or eighteen. He started trying to get her dinner, trying to pay for her dinner, but her father kept overbidding him because he didn’t know who the man was. Her father overbid him and got the food so she couldn’t’ eat with him, but he ended up being her husband.”

Caroline Moss – “Mountain Voices” by Warren Moore.


I’ve been told Mamaw and Papaw Wilson met in a similar fashion. Really the only difference was Mamaw used a box for her dinner instead of a basket.


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  • Reply
    February 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    I hear my mother and my father’s mother mention those and always thought they’d be fun but then I like to cook and enjoy craftsy things. The closest thing we came to it recently was auctioning off casseroles at our church’s Harvest Fest/Lord’s Acre Celebration last year. A lot of us are trying to downsize our lifestyle so an effort was made to emphasize practicality in the auction items and the casseroles were a hit: large pans for families; loaf size pans for couples and singles. Sometime grouped three loaf pans, each a different casserole, for singles/couples to buy. All were frozen. One hunter bought several to take on his hunting trip the next week.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    February 5, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Love this story!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Whay a sweet story. Nothing goes on like that anymore. You only see it on TV. Thanks Tipper . God Bless!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2019 at 9:42 am

    My Aunt told me about some great “Box Dinners” they had when she and her sisters made them up. If she was living now she would be 108. I recorded all her recollections of growing up with her 10 siblings. Aunt said Mothers made the dinner and the girls decorated their boxes. They took them to be bid on to raise money for the school. My Aunt Gertie had a round box and she won 1st place. Aunt Velma was 13, had a triangle box and won 2nd place. Aunt Ruby had a square box and had won 3rd place, but they removed it as the judges said it wasn’t fair for one family to win it all. Many years later after Aunt Velma graduated from high school, taught school and actually taught for the WPA, she married the young man that bought her box at the “Box Supper.”

  • Reply
    aw griff
    February 5, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Like Miss Cindy, I don’t know of anything like that these days. The picnic part got my mind running in another channel. Back in the 50’s there were many road side pull offs that had picnic tables. Families on day trips used these places to eat. There wasn’t a fast food (resternt) around every corner. Sometimes my family would picnic at one of these spots for fun on short trips of only 50 miles. I asked my Wife if her family ever used those pull offs. She said they did and then laughed and said her mother liked them because she could always find a switch.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    February 5, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I love the story. I remember seeing the movie Coal Miners Daughter and they did that in one of the scenes.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 5, 2019 at 7:37 am

    We are way too busy to do these sweet things anymore. I wonder how many 13 or 14 year old girls could fix a great picnic basket today. They would have to put down their phones.

    • Reply
      February 5, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Amen to that!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 5, 2019 at 5:43 am

    That’s such a sweet story! I don’t think we have anything that is like that now days.

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