Appalachia Thankful November

Thankful November – Neighborliness

thankful announcement

I know you’re probably saying “Tipper November is over.” It is over, but my series of Thankful November has a few more giveaways to share.

“Our independence it tempered by our basic belief in neighborliness and hospitality. Survival on the frontier sometimes required people to be hospitable, to take people in when night caught them on a journey or keep them indefinitely if their house burned down. Until recent times, neighbors joined in to help build houses and barns for those who needed them. No greater compliment could be paid a mountain family than that they were “clever folks, ” meaning that they were quick to invite you to visit and generous with the food. My father told of eating at one home where the only food was sorghum and corn bread, but the host said graciously, “just reach and get anything you want.”

Those receiving hospitality were expected to reciprocate. In the ballad, “Jesse James,” known throughout the mountains, the most damning thing said about “that dirty little coward” Robert Ford who shot Jesse was that,

He ate of Jesse’s bread, and
he slept in Jesse’s bed,
Yet he laid poor Jesse in his grave.

We who were brought up on the value of hospitality will always have the urge to invite those who visit to stay for a meal or to spend the night, even though this is not the custom over much of America now, unless a formal invitation is sent out well in advance.”

—Loyal Jones – “Appalachian Values”

This piece from Jones reminds me of a post I wrote several years back about the common sayings: come go home with me and you ought to just spend the night. (Go here to read that post).

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a used copy of “Appalachian Values.” I really love the book. In my opinion Loyal Jones sums up the personality traits of Appalachians better than any other author I’ve ever read.

To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends December 3, 2020.

If you’re looking for a special Christmas gift be sure to check out Chitter’s Etsy Shop Stamey Creek Creations and Chatter’s Etsy Shop Corie’s Crotchet.


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  • Reply
    December 2, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I was raised to look out for neighbors and church folks, and my husband and I look out for our neighbors. I will be glad when this Covid-19 improves so we can get back to church. If you stop by and we’re getting ready to eat, we’ll ask you to sit down and join us. If it’s not meal time, we’ll offer a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of water. Please let someone else win the book, as I won a book last year.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    December 2, 2020 at 12:16 am

    I would love to win the copy of “Appalachian Values”

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Kindness..neighborliness..much of what is in the goodness of humankind has been lost to greediness and maybe a bit of fear of our fellow man. I say keep a light in the in the Lord..and continue to do whatever good you are able.
    The joy is in sharing.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Well people asking people to stay the night or to stop in and eat , their being neighborly. That’s how folk wayback then and some still are today. When I was little, there was this man that would walk across the Mountain. He was going to Beach Creek. Daddy would see him and holler at him and say, come and have a cup of coffee. So he would come and sat down and have a cup and mom would fix him a left over biscuit with apple butter on it. He would wipe his mouth off and say,(well I better be on my way) Daddy would say, I see you after while. He would stay a week to two weeks on Beach Creek. He walked wherever he went. He was a real nice man. My cousin’s and myself would walk a little piece with him and we would say bye we better get back home. He say, see you after while.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    The wife was INJURED and we took her to a local HOSPITAL.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    We have taught people everywhere we’ve lived to look out for each other and practice neighborliness. We had been in Arizona just a couple of weeks and encountered a couple that had a motorcycle accident. The wife was severely inquired. We took her to a local where it was determined she needed to go to a hospital about 80 miles away. No ambulance was available for several hours. I said we would take her. The doctor was shocked. He asked why since we had just met them and this was many miles out of our way. My answer was, “You said she needs to go as soon as possible.”

  • Reply
    James Kennington
    December 1, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    My Mama’s folks were farmers in western NC, so I learned sharing with neighbors at an early age. As the oldest boy, I was the one usually sent to an ailing neighbor or a family that had just lost a loved one. I had to deliver whatever Mama has fixed— some fried chicken, a hot casserole, or a simple plate of ham biscuits. No matter where Dad’s work took us, we always met and knew our neighbors from both sides of the street, up and down the block. Even though I’ve moved to Southern California, I can’t give up those neighborly habits. As they’ve come and gone over the last 20 years, I’ve gotten to know the neighbors on my street. True, a few of them aren’t neighborly, but I’ve always chalked that up to their just being “Yankees” who weren’t fortunate enough to be raised with good people. Being neighborly is just good manners.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    December 1, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Maybe the idea isn’t really dead – just sleeping. I know those of us “of a certain age” were raised to look out for each other and to give freely of all we have. I have hope in the children. Seems, more than generations in the middle, that the children today want to do for others. I can only hope and pray that they get enough encouragement to continue as they grow and raise children of their own.

  • Reply
    Becky Burnett Nunnaley
    December 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I grew up the same way. My grandpa had a saying when someone who had dropped in was invited and accepted the invitation to eat: “You see what we have. Eat it if you can. If you can’t, don’t mess it up, because we have to! ”
    My husband is from California. He didn’t know what to think when I invited the sweaty, dirty worker who was remodeling our house to eat supper with us when he worked really late a couple of times. I just found it impossible to sit down and enjoy a meal with him outside and hungry.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 1, 2020 at 9:48 pm

      Becky is Bill Burnett’s sister. Hey Becky!

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    December 1, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Love the post, including all of the comments. So glad I found The Blind Pig and the Acorn.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 1, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    Had to look up an old Bob Wills song “Stay a Little Longer” because it started around in my head while I was reading this!

    My granny was always disappointed if someone was at her house near mealtime and wouldn’t eat. Mama fed every kid in the area and I’m sure some of them were actually hungry. Also shared garden produce freely.

    I am happy to feed anyone around at mealtime or anytime they let me know they’re hungry.

    I remember my cousins visiting & sleeping on a pallet and I’ve heard ” Yall come back” and “Stay all night” many many times.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 11:56 am

    It is sad sometimes to just remember, and guess that is the price one pays for living a longer life. When I first moved to my neighborhood, I was the youngest in the surrounding area. Busy busy working, I was, but so surrounded by adorable older folk who would bring me zucchini bread, till my garden, and even Bob who would tell me the best way to get rid of all the leaves. The neighborhood was such that most did not move away, but stayed until they left our neighborhood for a better place. They taught me a lot about being a good neighbor, and as others moved into their houses I used all the neighborhood skills my wonderful neighbors taught me. I still have great neighbors, but it is different. And now a wave of memories as I miss Margaret and Bob, Joe on the Hill, Mr. Mallory, Miss Cotton. My driveway would get snow removal, and I would have no clue who did it. All those memories of a time when folks were taught is was best to “never discuss religion or politics.” I cannot imagine living in the time where my Dad grew up, and his school teacher boarded with them. Wish I had asked more questions.

  • Reply
    Jeanette Queen
    December 1, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Love the Appalachian neighbors sayings, heard them all my life, in the mountains of NC, they were meant and people often stayed the night with us, course they were usually our kin folks.
    Loyal Jones was a wonderful man, friend and neighbor to all, he was my sisters’ professor at Berea. He came and visited and was acquainted with my family, we went to Berea many times and performed too. Such a wonderful college for mountain folks to send their children to.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 1, 2020 at 10:56 am

    My wife talked about hobos who came to their door when her parents lived above the railroad tracks over near the depot in Connelly Springs. Connelly Springs had a siding where trains with hundreds of cars could pull over to let other long trains pass. It took quite a while for them to pass each other so these men would get out of their hiding places in the cars and look for food. Often it was at Yvonne’s parents house.
    Bertha, Yvonne’s momma, cooked three full meals a day every day. No warmed over dinner for supper. Clyde, Yvonne’s father, was a Baptist preacher whose appetite was as strong as his message. So, there was always leftovers.
    Maybe word got out amongst the itinerant population that Connelly Springs was a good stop and that the big house above the coal chute had the best food because there was often men at their doorstep seeking nourishment. They never left unsated.
    This was in the 1950’s. Clyde and Bertha had been born and raised on Alarka Creek in Swain County. Their families were poor even before the Great Depression. They understood what it was like to go without food. Throughout her life Bertha cooked more than enough at every meal just in case somebody was late or just dropped by.
    My grandmother Cora was the opposite. She cooked enough for everyone who was there. If you were late or just dropped by you were out of luck. “You should have been here when I had it ready! I fed it to the pigs! You’ll have to wait til supper.” Grammaw always had a fine fat hog or two to kill every fall.

    Include me out of the drawing for the book, I already have it. Some gracious lady, who will remain nameless, gifted me a copy several years ago. For that I am eternally grateful!

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 1, 2020 at 11:04 am

      One thing I forgot to write. Those hobos were never invited inside the house. Food was passed through to back door to them and they ate it on the back porch. It’s one thing to be open-hearted and giving but it’s another to be stupid.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    December 1, 2020 at 10:02 am

    My Grandpa Smith, while visiting us, once struck up a conversation with a passerby–he was known for that–and soon invited him in for something to eat. My understanding mother sat out her lunch leftovers to a very hungry man. Included in the meal were several baked sweet potatoes. We had a laugh after he left, because the fellow, thinking ahead, had taken all the sweet potatoes with him.

  • Reply
    Mary Anne Johnson
    December 1, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I share enjoy the neighborliness comments on here. My neighbor’s neither speak nor wave anytime during the day. Even when I’m outside they just go their own way and keep going. It’s nothing like when I was growing up and we had neighbors who cared. I live alone and I’m just an old woman who just wants to keep on going and smile while I can. I have family but they don’t live anywhere nearby I am so grateful though but what I do have.

    • Reply
      December 1, 2020 at 10:03 am

      Mary Anne-I wish you lived near me!! I’d wave and stop to chat every time I seen you-you’d probably get tired of me 🙂

    • Reply
      December 2, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      I wish you lived in my neighborhood. I’d be glad to talk to you or bring you a home-cooked meal.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 9:48 am

    “Come go home with me,” and “Stay to night,” were and are still heard in N MS. As a visiting grandchild, I thought that was really different from the area up North where I lived. I remember my Daddy telling about the census taker or any business man that came through that little part of the country would too always be offered a place to sleep and eat there with the family. The offer was always accepted. My Aunt taught school and boarded with a family near the school.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Use to be quite common to share meals and help with others. But as time marches on it seems rarer. 40 years ago we use to welcome new neighbors with a pie or cake, maybe drop by with some food if they were sick. But of late the new home owners in the community in the subdivision on the old farm next to our place don’t seem to appreciate the gesture. I guess all things change with time.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 9:11 am

    A stranger told about visiting my aunt and uncle and got a good dose of hospitality. My uncle told them to come on in eat anything we’ve got which ain’t much, but we sure will talk good to you. I could not imagine having visitors without asking them if I could fix them a bite to eat. Taking in strangers to spend the night is definitely a thing of the past.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 1, 2020 at 9:10 am

    My chicken farmer neighbor across the road says his Mommy taught him, ‘The way to have good neighbors is to be one.’ They are good neighbors to us. I can’t say how we measure up though, that’s up to them.

    My wife has a walking neighbor who lives down on the creek. Her and her husband are not, I think, from around here but I’m thinking they are the kind that makes it easy to forget that. As far as that goes, we are not ‘from here’ either but the folks at church forget and think we grew up here. I think that is the nicest compliment.

    There was a time that just about anybody in the mountains would ‘put you up’ and feed you to. That’s how some of the old-time mountain inns and restaurants got their start, that and maybe boarding the school teacher.

    It is only somewhat related but have you all ever noticed how modern house designs, made for a subdivision, have no windows in the side walls? Houses are too close to have windows there were you can look into your ‘neighbor’s’ house and they into yours. If you notice, houses pre-1960 or so have windows all the way around.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I grew up in my grandparents home along with my mom and her brother and sisters. We fed anyone that came into our house if they accepted. We even fed most door to door salesmen and women that unknowingly showed up at our door. A lot of them were college kids trying to sell a set of encyclopedias or some other educational books for programs in their colleges which helped pay for their tuitions I think. When asked if they would like to have supper with us, almost all would accept. I don’t know if they were thinking it might gain them a sale or if they were just hungry but it was always nice to to get to know people from all across this great nation.

  • Reply
    Wanda Robertson
    December 1, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Love this. Sharing our food binds us together, and should be practiced much more. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 7:50 am

    I am proud to say this still goes on in my neighborhood especially with the families that have deep roots here. I grew up as a child during the 50’s and I think a lot of families wouldn’t have made it if neighbors hadn’t helped one another. I remember a neighbor bringing my family a pickup truck load of firewood and the others neighbors giving us a pounding (bringing food or groceries) when my daddy got sick and couldn’t work for a couple of months. At my mother in law’s funeral in August of this year, one of the preachers said you never left Curtis or Doris’s house empty handed or without be offered something to eat

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    December 1, 2020 at 7:44 am

    If you came into my grandparents home ( they raised 11 plus us 3 grandchildren nobody wanted) you were asked to have something to eat and if you didn’t, they’d mutter under their breath, after you left, what a high hat you were! They took hospitality seriously and meant it all from the bottom of their hearts!!! Mommy’s daddy was first cousin of President Woodrow Wilson but we are the poor clan originally from STRABANE, County Tyrone Northern Ireland. Strangely enough my sir name NEESE hails from the same place which I find remarkable. I am suspicious and untrusting by nature. Once I hollered “ Mommy! There’s some strange guy on your yard swing!” And there was. She replied “You know he could be an angel of the Lord just resting” and he sat for a long while then went on his way. To this day I think of that when I want to turn away. My grandma raised me but she always taught in love and consideration of all others!!! I won’t kid you- sometimes I cry and long to kiss her precious hands and LONG to die to go see her and my Bobby again!

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    December 1, 2020 at 7:32 am

    I was raised to be a good neighbor but that is hard sometimes since some of the neighbors in our area are from more of a city area so they just don’t want to be bothered so sad but neighbors are not neighbors anymore like the good old days.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 1, 2020 at 7:19 am

    I do believe that just living in the mountains brings out the best in folks. I have great neighbors. We do look out for each other. We cannot see each others homes for the trees but if you yell for help someone will come running. What a great place to live.

  • Reply
    Joe Chumlea
    December 1, 2020 at 6:34 am

    That’s how we were raised.

    • Reply
      Margie Goldstein
      December 1, 2020 at 7:47 am

      Is this ALABAMA or SC Chumlea? If so, hello from an old pal! If you’re in your 50’s and former Army , you may be THAT Joe!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Psul
    December 1, 2020 at 6:30 am

    I remember my parents fed anyone who walked through the door. It was whar you did. I remembrr too they took in family, once yo care for my grandmother when sick, then sgain when they sold thrir jome til they bought a new place. Again it is what you did

  • Reply
    December 1, 2020 at 6:22 am

    That book sounds wonderful. Its similar to “scruffy hospitality”, where not everything is perfect, but you have people over just to share each others company. I lived next door to great neighbors once and we would look out for each other and take care of each other, not just in the fun times. I can’t say I’ve come across neighbors like that since then, but I try with all of them and my current ones are pretty nice.

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