Appalachia Thankful November

Thankful November – Playing Ball and Making Leaf Dresses

collage of photos thankful

“We’d go out and play ball. That’s about all we had to do. It was awful fun. We played town ball. If you was caught three times you came out of the ring. Generally I was caught out.

On Christmas we would go a’serenading—a whole crowd of young people. We’d all gather up and put on old things and go a’serenading. Then after we got to the last place, we’d play till about one or two o’clock.

Really we never did play much because we worked. Very little did we play, but on Sunday all we had to do was to go off. If it was springtime with all the leaves, then we’d make leaf dresses and hats and things. We’d come back with dresses and hats made of leaves and sit all day and swing on grapevines. It’s a wonder we hadn’t been killed going from one hill to another on a grapevine. Never thought about getting hurt.

We lived close to the graveyard and it was right down the hill to Taylor’s Chapel. The pine needles was just as thick as can be over there. We’d make us a sled and get right up there at the graveyard and slide from it to the road. That’s about all the recreation we had when I was little.

We all got along like babies. I had two sisters and five brothers. I’m the baby of the flock though.”

—Aunt Nora Garland – “Foxfire 3”

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a used copy of the “Foxfire 3” book. To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends November 20, 2020.


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  • Reply
    Kathryn Barragan
    October 15, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Fall is my favorite time of year. It always has been.
    I am 67 years old. I grew up in the country with all the amenities as I call it. Fall brought apple picking and watching my Mother making the best apple pies on the planet. Ice cold apple cider, pumpkin picking, and trees laden with heavy beautiful fall foliage. My sister and I would lay on our backs in a bed of leaves and watch the clouds moving across the sky. What wonderful peaceful days those were.
    I now live in Santa Barbara, Ca. It is a beautiful Mediterranean coastal town, but when fall comes around my mind drifts back to those days of old. I’d give almost anything to step back in time to those grand old days.
    I so enjoy your stories especially at this time of year as you share about your wonderful family past and present, traditions, and the beauty of where you live. It warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. Thank you so very much.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    We played Cowboys and Indians on horseback, swung on grapevines, hunted rabbits and squirrels in the daytime and possums and racoons at night. We built wooden wheel wagons and raced down hills in the woods weaving around trees and rocks. We stole watermelons, raided neighbors apple orchards and caught someone’s young steer or heifer and took turns riding it. If there wasn’t some sense of danger or mischievousness about it there wasn’t as much fun to it.

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    November 17, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I’d love to see the leaf hats and dresses! More fun had from simple things than all the techno paraphernalia kids have now. They just don’t know it……

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    That just took me down memory lane. We were poor but rich in alot of ways. There wasn’t much playing going on. It was mostly work. Ever now and then, daddy would cut a grape vine and boy did we swing on it and it was so much fun. What memories that still dwell in my head when I go thinking about it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    November 17, 2020 at 11:09 am

    We were poor and had a lot of family issues but we had a lot of fun in spite of it. We roamed around pretty freely and did the grapevine swinging. The big boys had one that was high above a ravine and I remember one boy fell and was pretty knocked out–I’m not sure the parents were ever told!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

    I think MS Garland’s writings reflect on a time when as a child adventure was around every corner. These days children would be in shock if they had to entertain themselves without some electronic gadget. It makes one think about how they could survive without the modern conveniences.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    November 17, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Reminds me of how we used to get cardboard boxes and ride them over the hill on the broomsage (broomsedge). We would open up the box until you had one piece of flat cardboard. You could go dangerously fast and end up in the big ditch.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 10:03 am

    A wonderful read this morning! I bought the Foxfire books many years ago for my Father. I had read them and I knew he would like them. He really loved them and would comment so many times “that’s just how we did it.” He’s in Heaven now but if he was alive now, he would be 105. One of my dear Aunts had told me stories of them all going ” a’serenading” at Christmas time. I thought she meant to say caroling but no she said what it was at that time which was about 1925 in Goose Holler, NE MS.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      November 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      Dee – Your 105 year old father is more alive now than he has ever been. He’s not 105 any more. He has access to everything his (and our) Father owns, which is everything that ever was, is or will be.

  • Reply
    Dee Dee Parker
    November 17, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Tipper, thanks for the sweet trip down memory lane. I love these recollections…thank you for your wonderful posts.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 9:00 am

    The grapevine and sled bring back memories of a time when playing without toys was so much fun. I never made dresses or hats from leaves. I used the bigger leaves to make a pocket full of dollar bills and pretended to big rich for a little while.

  • Reply
    Cheryl W.
    November 17, 2020 at 8:28 am

    My 99 year-old mother was the middle child of many siblingd and grew up on an Indiana farm. The woods was their playground and my favorite stories were the ones of how fun it was to swing on grapevine swings and swim in the spring-fed grotto. When I was an older teen my cousins and I experienced the joy of the grapevine swings.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 17, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Our kids used to slide on the pine straw using a piece of cardboard. Works great. Can also slide on fescue grass if it has not been mown. I did that as a kid to, sliding down the fill slope of US 27 in the afternoons after school why I waited for my ride home. (In later years I walked home and that ended the sliding.)

    Please skip me in the drawing though as I have Foxfire 3.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 17, 2020 at 8:18 am

    That really was a different life then and it seems like life was harder then but also more real.

  • Reply
    Harley Hippie
    November 17, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Just throw me in the way back machine and turn it on HIGH!!!

  • Reply
    Margie GOLDstein
    November 17, 2020 at 8:00 am

    I loved that story of childhood!!!! That’s painted as clearly with words as if I could see all the children playing in their leaf clothes. I remember an old woman who used leaves in her bed and to stuff her meager cushions. She was in her 90’s when I was 5 or 6. God, how I long for days filled with love, hard work and togetherness NOT A BUNCH OF CHINESE STUFF STUFF STUFF. It makes me sick to think of all America used to be and what it is now. There’s a lot of things that cannot be purchased that mean WAYYYYYYY MORE THAN STUFF AND ITS ALL ON THE INSIDE IF A PERSON WOULD SEE TO DIG THERE AND EXCAVATE A HEART AND SOUL….

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Reminds me of growing up with my best friend, Jerry. We played with a baseball all year long. We lived about 2 miles apart but when we got old enough to ride our bicycles to each other’s home we would be together if not working at home. I could write a book about the things we did, but the thing I am proud to say is we never did anything to be ashamed of or destroy anything that belonged to someone else. All we left behind were footprints I find myself wishing I could go back and relive some of those times.

  • Reply
    Sherri Moore
    November 17, 2020 at 7:40 am

    I remember swinging on grapevines, in WV, on visits to my grandparents farm. Never thought about the danger, it sure was fun.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    November 17, 2020 at 7:38 am

    When I was little we used to have a homemade sled that Dad used to use to haul feed to the livestock and he had built a box on it, then when we could we would use it for sledding but it was really heavy so the older kids would pull it back up the hill but we sure had a ball riding in the box of it.

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    November 17, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Just another great ‘take us back’ write up so interesting….life was so different and yet wonderful. Tks for your post Tipper I enjoyed it. Enjoy this day!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 6:10 am

    I love these tales. My brother, cousins, and I always went exploring in our youth. My kids love digging up my garden nowadays to look for “creatures”. They bring slugs in the house…

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