Sayings from Appalachia

The End of Time

stormy sky with dark trees

The End of Time. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? I’ve heard about the end of time since I was a small girl.

As a child every time I heard grown-ups talking about the end of time I got scared and a little mad. I mean what if the end of time came before I got to do all the things I wanted to do?

As a middle aged adult I realize the end of time is quickly approaching whether it comes for the entire world at the same time or simply when the day arrives for me to leave this ole world. I can hardly believe I will be 50 years old this year.

As you might guess most of the things I heard about the end of time quickly approaching were of a religious nature. The other day I was reminded of another usage of the term.

I was hurrying about my way. Truthfully I can’t really remember what I was doing or what I was thinking about that needed doing. But I do remember clearly the voice in my head telling me not to worry about what ever it was because the end of time could happen and I would have done all this worrying for nothing.

After hearing my head voice I got to thinking about the common usage of the phrase in Appalachia. I perused all of my Appalachian language books and found no mention of the end of time in any of them. I was almost dumb struck. How could not one book have something to say about a phrase that was so common in my life.

Using the end of time in a religious manner is beyond common in my area of Appalachia. Now I’m wondering how common it is to use the phrase in the sort of flippant way the voice in my head used it.


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  • Reply
    January 19, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    My father in law would jump all over this. As many has said, BE READY and make sure everything is right with you and the good LORD!

  • Reply
    Joe Chumlea
    January 18, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Have you ever heard the term “red off”, as in when I was a kid I had to red off the table after dinner?

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    January 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    I really enjoy reading your post on The End if time.

  • Reply
    Rodney Rowan 1
    January 17, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    As long as you don’t find yourself in same situation as the Meatloaf song. “Paradise by the dashboard lights” where the girl asks the guy, if he will love her forever, after a while he finds himself praying for the end of time .

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    I don’t hear end of time much but I do hear end times frequently.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Tipper, you’re just a kid compared to many of us. I turned 50 more than a quarter of a century ago. I’d love to be 50 again. Gardening wasn’t nearly as hard then as it is now. Most everything else was also easier then. Some things are so much harder now that I just stop doing them or hire someone to help me with them.
    Worry – Now that’s another story. I guess I worry more now than I did then. Probably because I have more time to worry now. Worry is a good thing though – Ninety-nine percent of the things I worry about don’t happen. SO IT WORKS!!!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Have heard it all my life but since I have child-like faith in my Lord, I do have a peace about it all.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 17, 2020 at 11:41 am

    I wonder if “the end of the world” might be there. Or “the second coming”” maybe. My Mother-In_Law said that it doesn’t matter–when you die, that is the end of time for you.

    My grandparents were Holiness and so I’ve heard a lot of fire & brimstone preaching in my time. Tent revival was the worst. The preacher would walk around the tent preaching & even preaching to someone personally. I used to almost come to the end of my time for fear he would pick me out to preach to.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Growing up in Appalachia I was always used to the idea that the “end ‘a time” was a giant shadow that hung over everything. When you are young you can be frightened for a moment, but quickly forget and be playing almost immediately. When I asked my Mom she just told me they had been talking about it as long as she could remember, and that her Mom had also been plagued by that same fear. She said Grandma had told her that same thing. It did push it farther out into the future in my mind. Add to this the fire and brimstone preaching I often heard, and I am amazed I am not a bundle of nerves popping bags of meds to overcome the fears. Quite to the contrary, I have a deep and abiding trust in a creator, and I just place my safety and future in his hands. My great uncle once laughingly told me that everybody on his ridge were on their knees once when they saw the “Northern Lights.”
    Recently my grandson asked me that question, especially when he was hearing at school we may be entering WW111. Some children firmly believe that those creatures from the walking dead will one day be a reality. Another grandchild firmly believes global warming will wipe us out. I just stand resolutely with the firm conviction that the happenings are Bible, and not anything we fragile humans will be able to ever totally control. I pass this thought on to my grandchildren with the hope that they will one day be quietening the fears of their own grandchildren. Sadly, I am much more afraid of political correctness, because it has caused me to be hesitant about my post today. Sharing of thoughts and ideas is a wonderful thing!

    • Reply
      aw griff
      January 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      PINNACLECREEK, funny you should mention the northern lights. I’ve heard almost the same story in E.KY. I believe that was shortly before world war 2. I too have a Grandson that is being taught in school about global warming. I also believe if there is global warming that there is nothing we can do about it. The Bible tells us in Genesis 8:22, While the earth remaineth , seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,and summer and winter,and day and night shall not cease.
      I too believe political correctness is a dangerous thing.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    January 17, 2020 at 9:54 am

    I first heard the idea of “the end of time” from the kid across the road. It wasn’t something that necessarily came up in the church I grew up in. It was usually handled in the more kind phrasing of “when Jesus comes.” I remember that hearing the fire and brimstone version kept me up at night.

    I’ve heard the phrase used in a flippant manner, though. If I’m rushing around trying to do too much at once, my Dad might say “Slow down. You’re acting like it’s the end of time.”

    One phrase I thought of was “the by and by.” I don’t think it relates so much to the end of time as much as that time after. I always find comfort in that phrase. Maybe just the idea that there really isn’t an end of time after all…just the sweet by and by.

    So, Tipper, I’ve been 50 for a week and that’s how I’m going to deal with it!

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      January 17, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      I’ve been 50 for almost 20 years now!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    When I was a little girl, the older folks talked about the end of time and it scared and worried me. I remember my teacher saying that the world couldn’t stand much longer with all the meanness.
    “The truth will stand when the world is on fire” was one saying that painted a scary picture and made a few little girls think twice about telling a lie.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    January 17, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Just about 12 years ago I was in the hospital for a ruptured appendix. I thought I was dying when everything starting turning black and was closing in on me. In my head I said Lord here I come and also I thought why have I fussed, fumed, and worried over so many things needlessly. I blacked out and didn’t come to until after the surgery. I promised myself I wouldn’t worry over useless stuff but have been only partially successful. I may not get this Bible scripture quoted perfectly without looking it up but here goes. Man born of woman but a few days and full of trouble.
    I used to hear the end of time preached more years ago than I do now. Mostly I hear the end of time preached as the end of a person’s life. I guess our Preachers don’t want to be mixed in with all the false prophets we have today that set dates for the end of time. I’ve watched many of these so called prophets make prophecies that don’t happen. FALSE PROPHETS!!!

    • Reply
      January 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      I remember one night on the job my partner i was working near this church and he ask this older pastor of this church who had walked up. How do yall teach the book of Revelation? The old pastor looked him in the eye and said ” Be read ” dont matter how we teach it just be ready. Wise food for thought, whether the Lord calls or he decides he’s had enough just be ” ready “. That is what use to scare me because deep down I knew I was’nt ready, but not anymore. Phil. 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 17, 2020 at 9:01 am

    God has neither clock nor calendar. All His creation is already done. There is no future. Everything new thing that is or will be revealed will be was there from the beginning. There is no time. God has given us what we perceive as time as a place for us to try to create our own existence. We will invariable fail. Those who have come to the realization that we are nothing without God will, at the end of our “time”, slip right back into what we were before our birth. Those of us who have failed to realize will be stuck in an existence of their own making outside God’s creation.
    So the “end of time” to put it Einsteinian, is relative. It depends on how you look at it. To those who have gone on it has already happened or to those who returned to the fold like “it never even happened.”
    When my wife died my kids asked me if their Mama was in heaven. I told them “To her she is, to us she is sleeping.” It’s hard to wrap your head around I know. Most people will consider me a kook I know but consider this “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” That tells me the beginning is the end! There is no time.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      January 17, 2020 at 9:45 am

      I think in included an extra “will be” in there. Just keep it! I have plenty more!

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    January 17, 2020 at 8:48 am

    I spent most of my younger days on the Del-Mar- Va peninsula. My sister became a circuit riding Methodist preacher. This phrase was there in speaches, sermons and song. This would include Pop\Rock songs like “From Now Until the End of Time.”

  • Reply
    Donna Justus
    January 17, 2020 at 8:42 am

    In my six decades here on earth this has been a common term used. I find it surprising also that it’s not in any of your books. Older people always used this when speaking about something that occurred and they thought it was bad “end of time’s are upon us” “the world can’t stand much longer ” is another. I absolutely love your page. Brings back so many sweet memories. I too celebrate my heritage and am proud of where I was raised.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 17, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Like you I grew up with hearing about the end of time either from my mother or at church.
    People have been predicting the end of time I think from the beginning of time. None of us are getting out of here alive whether we go together or separately.
    It always scared me a little as a child when adults would say the end is near. I would like to stay as long as I can but I know I have the promise of something much better on the other side so it’s a win win.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 17, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Like you, I am very surprised you didn’t find reference to the idea of time ending. But I can’t think of everyday or commonplace sayings about it from my experience either. Puzzling.

    We humans have a hard ‘time’ (!) talking or writing about a condition of no time. Examples are common in hymns. Even “Amazing Grace” has the phrase “when we’ve been there ten thousand years” even though Revelations speaks of the declaration that ‘time shall be no more’. We are mired in time and find it almost impossible to think outside it. About the nearest we can come is to think, as you mention, about time continuing after our own time is over. Generally the thought is uncomfortable so we avoid thinking it.

    I do think that at least some Appalachian folks use the idea of ‘after I am gone’ as a tool to stay balanced and keep priorities straight. My Dad’s expression was, “When I go it will be like pulling your finger out of a bucket of water.” Some would react to that as being terrible, an example of ‘ Appalachian fatalism’. I have always taken it as almost exclusively a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. For some of us at least, as we near the end of our own time here we have to work at reconciling ourselves to our life and how we have lived it. But I won’t go there just now.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 17, 2020 at 8:10 am

    I can remember my Mother asking my brother, who was dwadling along, if he was going to get there before the end of time.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 17, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Being raised in a Southern Baptist Church I have heard of “The end of time” used in it’s religious context for more than seven decades. No one knows when the “End of time” shall occur even though there have been Preachers and other religious folks who claim otherwise. The fact that no one knows when this event shall occur means that we should always be ready to leave this life whenever it should occur!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    January 17, 2020 at 6:07 am

    Hope it isn’t today…

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