Appalachia Blog

Remembering Joe Penland – A Friend to the Blind Pig and The Acorn

Over the weekend I received the sad news that long time Blind Pig reader Joe Penland passed away on February 22. Over the years Joe was a true source of encouragement to me. He didn’t always comment, but he said he always read what I wrote and appreciated my efforts.

I’d like to share some of Joe’s comments with you as a way to remember and honor him today.

2010 – My mother did something very different with her cornbread. She made it in a cast iron griddle (some call it a spider). It came out thin with a crust on the top and bottom. Boy, that and some butter and homemade strawberry preserves is fantastic!

2011 – Tipper, I have read that in some family cemeteries in the time frame that this one existed, slaves were buried outside the walls. The graves were marked with only a field stone.

2013 – Growing up in Nashville, Tn I always heard them called “butter cups”. Here in E. Tn it is Jonquils.

2014 – I have lived in six states and two countries. I am finally home in East Tn and the mountains and down to earth people.

2014 – Jackie Gleason said the best cure for a toothache was to keep a steady stream of liquor flowing over it.

2015 – Living near the area where Dorie lived I also feel a kinship. I would love to read the whole book.

2015 – Old photos are treasures. I have one of my grandmother, grandfather, and their seven children. They even included the pet goat named Pat in the photo!

2016 – Since I do some crafts (stained glass, basket making, chair caning and seat weaving) it is rewarding to see more of our younger people getting involved in crafts. I can also recognize the time and effort that goes into each piece, both in production and the time it takes to gain the knowledge and skill.

2016 – You and all of your family are in my prayers.

2017 – It has been a long time since I heard “funny book”. That is what they were called in my boyhood. I longed for the microphone you could hook up to the radio and when you pressed the button your voice was broadcast over it. My results with it were the same as David with throwing his voice. My sister wanted to know what I had done to mess up the radio. (For the younger generation, I feel sure you can Google “radio” and find out what it is).

2017 – I wish I had heard more stories from my relatives. I became close to an aunt a few years prior to her death. In conversations with her occasionally she would get a certain look and say “I shall never forget……”. A wonderful story of a happening in her life would follow. How I wish those stories were still available.

2018 – I remember when Foxfire started. (I am sure telling my age!).  At one time I had most of the books plus some of the papers that were published. Unfortunately, over the years from moves  and being loaned out I am down to two or three copies. These will go to the grandchildren who love to read them. Your interview on WBIR-TV when you were in Knoxville was great.

2018 – Spring arrives on March 20 and so we say the first day of Spring is the 20th. However the first full day of Spring is March 21. My father’s birthday was the 21 so we were reminded of the fact yearly.


RIP Joe Penland. The Blind Pig and The Acorn will miss you.


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  • Reply
    Tony Maynard
    March 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    RIP Joe!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    I remember some of the comments you posted, Tipper. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Joe Penland.

  • Reply
    George W Moore JR
    March 5, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    would have truly loved to have met him
    RIP Joe.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Sorry to hear that about Joe. Prayers go out to his family. May God comfort them at this time. Tipper my youngest daughters birthday is March 20th. Spring. Mine is March 10th and my grandsons is March 7th. We’re all in March. God Bless!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    What a lovely way to honor Joe! May he rest in peace. Janice

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 5, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    “Friends are one of God’s Creations!” I didn’t know Joe Penland, but I enjoyed reading his comments. Condolences to out to his Family and my Prayers go to those in Need. …Ken

  • Reply
    Cheryl Christensen Bennett
    March 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I am fairly new to the Blind Pig & the Acorn and so didn’t know Joe. However, through recounting his comments, he gave me something new to think about this morning. It was his 2011 comment about slaves sometimes being buried outside the family cemetery. I have been trying to locate where the town cemetery and the slave cemetery once existed in Broylesville, TN. There are only a couple of vague descriptions and the two burial grounds seemed to be in the same general location. I wonder if what he wrote is the reason why. Maybe they were in the same place separated by a wall.

    I am sorry for everyone’s loss and send my prayers of comfort and joyous remembrances to his family and friends

  • Reply
    Allison B
    March 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I appreciate and admire the way that you always honor the passing of those that were, even in the smallest way, a part of your Blind Pig family. I enjoyed reading his comments that you shared. A good man I’m sure, and I can vouch for his cornbread, butter, and homemade strawberry preserves since my momma made it the same way 🙂

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 5, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Always wish we had spent time recording the memories and sayings of all the old folks.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    March 5, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I remember that Joe’s mother’s cornbread and the way my Aunt Jean from Waynesville taught me to make it were the same. We are all diminished just a little with his loss. Rest in Peace, Joe. My prayers for his immediate family and the Blind Pig family as a whole.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 5, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Our condolences to Joe’s family. Fair winds and following seas Joe…

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Even though we as Blind Pig readers may have never met, we know and love one another in our hearts. Maybe some day we could all get together , like a Blind Pig Reunion . Wouldn’t that be fun?
    Joes family is in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 5, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Prayers to his family. I remember the funny books and funny papers.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 5, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Reminds me of the line in the gospel song, “Laying up my treasures in that home above”. And that old-fashioned phrase “of blessed memory”. I wouldn’t ask any more than that for myself, that the memory of me would be a blessing to those who knew me. I’m not altogether sure how to make that happen but the Lord does so I will leave it with him.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    March 5, 2019 at 6:50 am

    I remember both funny books and funny pages. His mothers cirn bread sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing his remarks

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    March 5, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Joe will be missed. In one comment, he mentioned the “Funny Books”. For us, it was the “Funny Pages” to describe the Sunday color comics in the newspaper. Joe is in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 5:31 am

    My Deepest Condolence to the Family.

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