Appalachian Dialect Chatter and Chitter

Weed Dust and Chitter

Katie Pressley from the pressley girls

Chitter – Late Winter 2019

weed dust noun Pollen.
1966 Dykeman Far Family 273 Instead, she walked on through the abandoned orchard, bedraggling her skirts with beggar-lice and Spanish needles and all sorts of weed dust.

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


The Pressley Girls have been on a whirlwind tour of Western NC and North Georgia this summer. They’ve been extremely busy, with as many as four performances some weeks.

If you happened to catch one of the performances from last week you already know about Chitter’s run-in with some sort of nasty weed dust that left her with bronchitis, a sinus infection, fluid filled ears, and a voice so raspy she can barely sing.

I was very foolish when I was young, in fact I was so foolish that I didn’t even believe in allergies. I thought everyone who said they had allergies was exaggerating…until I had Chitter.

By the time Chitter was 5 years old we were equipped with our own breathing machine and a direct line to the pediatrician to make sure if she had an allergy attack and got sick while we were out of town we had access to the meds we needed. She always got sick. Every single time. God bless her doctor he called in meds all over the place for us in those days.

Finally age and a preventative medication helped her mostly put allergies behind her. This recent attack is the worst she’s had since she was about 10 years old. I’m hoping its a weird fluke from all the wet weather we’ve had over the last year. But just in case I’m suggesting she figure out how to sing through a mask for the rest of the summer.


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  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    August 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    I hope Ms. Chitter is feeling back to normal. Sounds like a real ordeal. Wish I could take in one of C & C’s concerts! Maybe sometime in the not too distant future when we can take a road trip back your way.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 9:00 am

    I hope Chitter is feeling better!
    You got me thinking, because I woke today completely stuffed up and feeling poorly and wondering if it’s possible to catch a bad cold in the middle of a very hot summer. Now I’m remembering that my truck has a fine coating of yellow pollen every day.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 10, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Though her voice be muted she still can through with her fingers!

    She might try guaifenesin. Not Mucinex or generics that contain it and are are mixed with some nasty stuff. Pure guaifenesin tablets. It’s generic and it’s cheap. It helps my asthma symptoms!

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      July 10, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      Duh! I’m an idiot! She still can sing through her fingers!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    July 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    poor girl hope shes o k

  • Reply
    Kay Patterson
    July 10, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    You’ve probably tried everything…but here’s another in case you don’t know….using a neti pot with a squirt of colloidal silver and drinking water with some colloidal silver in it. It’s good for any kind of infection if you drink it, and usually works within a couple days of using.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Aw, I am so sorry to hear of Chitter’s illness. Bless her heart. I will be praying for her.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 9:57 am

    So sorry for Chitter as I know how it feels to have bronchitis and a sinus infection. I had never heard of allergies growing up in Northern Illinois until I was in my early 20’s. It seemed I would get a sinus infection and then it would go into bronchitis. My doctor said go 100 miles from here and you probably won’t have a problem. I came over 700 miles east and it got worse. I finally found that a med called Sudafed worked so with the first scratchy throat I would start taking it. Years later that didn’t work so well and my doctor said try Claratian-D, so far it works great but I’m on it most of the year. For some reason, Spring rains would always set it up for me. Years back it was just Spring and Fall. A natural herb like Umcka might be a good fit. Sure hope Chitter feels better.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Based on recent studies, KY is one of the worst places to live if you have allergies. I believe that! Living in the Bourbon Capital of the World only adds to the problem. “The Angel’s Share” of the brew settles on houses, trees and and all the
    surrounding and becomes mold. I didn’t go to my friend’s 4th of July party due to an air quality alert. The bad air must have seeped inside, causing me to make a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. Poor Chitter! Hope she feels better soon.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    July 10, 2019 at 9:25 am

    When I was a young runt I played outside in all sorts of weeds and woods and fields and grasses and never seem to recall having bad allergies. I did take some allergy medications occasionally and did get sinus infections, but I never associated them with weed dust and such. As I got older I came to dread Spring as I finally realized that Spring and I did not get along. I finally broke down last year and went
    to an allergy doctor to be tested. On a scale of 0 to 4+ I had 4+ on EVERY grass type, several trees, ragweed, other weeds, cats and cockroaches. I had 2+ on dogs and other weeds and trees. Thankfully I didn’t have any mold allergies.

    So, I started getting shots last year to prepare for last Spring. I went to the allergy doctor three times a week, religiously, for three shots until they said I only needed to come once a week. I’m still going. Thankfully, I was
    sinus infection free. I still take generic Claritin just in case and ALWAYS wear a bandanna over my nose when I mow, vacuum, or dust. My doctor said start taking Claritin BEFORE Spring ever starts to get the antihistamines into your system.

    My suggestion? Go to an allergy doctor and wear a bandanna.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 10, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I never had allergies in my life, but when I went to the Dr. with what I thought was the Flu four times, she said I didn’t have a temperature. She gave me a shot in both cheeks, and said she worked and knew what allergies were. She had her Nurse to swab the back of my mouth and run some tests. It came back that I had a bad Allergy, so she gave me a shot in each buttocks. Thank God for modern Medicine. I’m over it now, but I don’t want that stuff again. …Ken

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 8:39 am

    I live in Richmond, Va. and the allergies have been bad here, too. When we have a lot of rain, then the mold count is high. I’ve also read that folks who suffer from allergies should shower and wash their hair at night because it washes all that stuff away and you’re not getting it all over your pillowcase and sheets while you sleep. I sure hope she feels better.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 10, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Poor Chitter, and Chatter don’t have any of the same allergies?
    I think my worst allergy is the fuzz that comes off sycamore trees. Puts a tickle in my throat and can’t keep from coughing.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

    It seems to me that allergies are a lot more common now than when I was little. I heard that children exposed to pets, dirt, etc., had less allergies. Didn’t work here–my son was a mud puppy and worm lover from as soon as he could move around and there were lots of times we could not get his poor nose unstopped. I hope Chitter will soon be better!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Bless her heart. I feel for her and for you all to. Like TMC I had asthma as a boy. My first attack was so bad I thought I wasn’t going to make it and I didn’t care. Our daughter also has allergies but thankfully not asthma.

    Chitter’s may work kinda like my getting a cold does. If I get stressed I will get a cold. Seems to happen every time.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 10, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I never had allergies but this year my nose is running all of the time. Everyone I know is having the same problem. Hopefully we will soon have a weather change and it will all go away. Thank heavens for antihistamines.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 5:51 am

    Here is a link explaining the Umcka, if anyone is interested,

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 5:46 am

    I had Asthma as a child, I know what it’s like not being able to breathe, and feel like passing out for lack of oxygen, scary stuff. But thank the Good Lord I grew out of it. Our Daughter has allergies terrible when I come home from work I have to make sure I change because I guess I have “weed dust” on me and she will start sneezing in no time. She cannot take antihistamines, or decongestants because of her seizure condition, so my wife found an herb that works great called umcka it’s a tablet or liquid you can buy, and it does not bring on seizures, and also a friend of my Wife, who lives in Australia said they use it also for cough and congestion, runny nose ect, so lots of saline for the nose and umcka on hand for our allergy frustrations around here.

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