Appalachia Weather

Thunder =’s ?

names for thunder

Photo by Trevis Hicks

Lord’s bread wagon, Lord’s corn wagon
noun Thunder. Same as bread wagon.

1913 Bruce Terms from TN 58 = thunder. 1998 Montgomery Coll. Lord’s bread wagon = thunder and rain, so called because we must have rain to make the corn grow (Brown); Lord’s corn wagon (Jones).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


I never heard thunder called the Lord’s bread wagon, but I did hear that it was the Lord moving his furniture around in heaven. I have no idea who I heard the furniture bit from, but I shared it with one of my younger cousins when I noticed she was afraid of thunder. Her mother later told me it really seemed to help her daughter not worry as much when it stormed.

Over the weekend we had storms. On Friday night I awoke way up in the night to hear thunder rolling down around Hanging Dog or at least that’s where it sounded like it was coming from. I got up to make sure both girls had made it home and then returned to bed to listen to the storm and rain move its way along until it moved out of hearing.


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  • Reply
    July 25, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Never heard that Tipper. We had a bad storm the other night. Wind at 73 miles an hr. It blew our roof clean off our back porch and come across the roof of the house. Landed in front and come down into our living room window. My grandson was next to it. I thank God he didnt get hurt. I did. I fell and broke my toe and skined my knee up. Dont like bad storms.

  • Reply
    Sue Simmons
    July 24, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Tipper we lost our friend Charlie Fletcher Sunday morning.He will be greatly missed.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    July 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    we used to say it was angels moving the furniture around havent heard about wagons though

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I love storms and have always heard that the lightning is free fertilizer as it releases nitrogen in the atmosphere which also freshens the air. I love walking in a good thunderstorm and have had the hair on my arms stand up with a good lightning strike close by.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I always heard the lightning added nitrogen to the air and the rain brought it to the ground. Most plants grow bigger and better with added nitrogen.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    When we first moveed back here to Kentucky theree was a bit or a thunderstorm and I asked my grand-daughters “Do you know what causes thunder?” I was ready with the scientific explanation, being the air surrounding the lightning-strike moving back in the empty place where the lightning had been; a sort of sonic boom. They immediately answered in unison “God speaking!” which ended any attempts toward explanation…

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I feel so sorry for this black woman who lost her husband and all of her children (about 9, I think) in the sudden storm that came over a Lake in Missouri. The Duck boat went down and 17 folks were dround. I watched the video several times on Fox. What a tragedy! …Ken

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Ever heard that lightning is God taking pictures?

    I love a good storm. When I see lightning and hear thunder I head outdoors.

    If you have ever poured taters into a metal barrel you’ll know where the tater wagon saying comes from.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    July 24, 2018 at 11:31 am

    My grandmother wanted every electrical appliance unplugged during a storm so lightning wouldn’t “run in” on it and set something on fire She would have my grandfather lock the doge in the doghouse so they wouldn’t go under the front porch because everyone knows dogs “draw lightning.” Us young-uns had to sit quietly in her front room because a lot of noise and running around would also draw lightning.

    There for a while during the seventies after Vietnam, I didn’t care for the thunder. It sounded too much like the guns firing. I would get jumpy and suffer from insomnia. I guess that is what they call PTSD. I got over it and the sound of thunder no longer bothers me.

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan
    July 24, 2018 at 10:20 am

    When I was little, I was always told that was God’s log wagon rolling. It does help fear when one is little.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Never heard of the Lord’s bread wagon but have heard Thunderstruck although that must have been when I was really young. I remember my grandfather pointing up at clouds and saying those are Thunder clouds. He was always right. My mother said my daddy’s father would get real nervous when a big storm blew in and he wanted everyone to get across the road and down into the storm cellar. I don’t think my grandmother was afraid of anything and she was always the last one to the storm cellar. We have had a lot of rain in the last 3 days and heard thunder rolling at night. I don’t particularly like thunder but I sure love to hear rain on the roof at night.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Living on top of a mountain, nothing could quite get your attention as much as a big thunderstorm rolling in. As young children we would throw blankets across Mom’s ironing board and play in our pretend cabin safely on the back porch. So easy to please, and never said we were bored because we were inventive. I have tried to recall where this originated, but not sure, as we were told thunder was “voice of God, and lightening was “hand of God.” In tune with nature, when flies would bite and leaves turned upside down on trees we knew a storm was rolling in. I never feared a storm, but always loved it. After Mom got older and had a metal hospital bed, she always wanted moved into living room away from the metal in the bed when she saw lightening.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 24, 2018 at 8:24 am

    There is nothing like thunder rolling around the hills

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I always heard God was bowling in heaven! The storm was really bad Friday night in Ellijay. Washouts, trees down, and most of the county lost electric service for a few days.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 24, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I heard thunder referred to as “the tater wagon”. I always figured it was referring to a combination of the need for rain to grow the taters and the sound of an empty wooden wagon bouncing over ruts, rocks and roots.

    Saturday AM between 3 and 7 or so the weather radio went off 5 times. We had some strong cells roll down but thankfully no damage.

    I probably don’t respect thunderstorms enough. I like to be out and about when they are coming. Trevis Hicks, who took the picture, must be like that to. How does one take a picture of lightening? The shutter speed must be beyond 1/1000 second. And how does one just happen to be focused on the right area of sky?

    Btw, anybody ever hear the expression “thunderstruck”? I haven’t heard it in a long time but grew up hearing it. There is ever a Thunderstruck Shoals in Cumberland River in KY.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 24, 2018 at 7:26 am

    I used to be very afraid of storms and when the Deer Hunter was little I realized that I needed to get over it or he would grow up afraid too. So every time it stormed his dad took care of him till I was able to get over my fear. It took a while but I did it. I got completely got over it.
    That was really some amazing thunder rolling around Friday night!

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    July 24, 2018 at 6:56 am

    My folks used to say thunder was “the tater wagon falling over”.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Yea, the furniture part I’ve heard before, but not the corn wagon.

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