Appalachia I Am From

Where I Come From

Today’s guest poem was written by Don Casada.

Tim and Don Casada



Where I Come From written by Don Casada

Mama served dinner right at 12 o’clock,
We had supper at the end of the day.
One packed up, another did the washing
And a third-un dried and put things away.

Just a flying down a broom sage hillside
On a flattened-out cardboard box;
Sewed on patches on blue jean knees,
Sharing the measles and the chicken pox.

I mowed grass for a dollar an hour
And trimmed hedges for the same rate of pay.
But if things cost what they did back then,
Why, I believe I’d still do it today.

A speckled ball from the bubble gum machine
Brought a nickel and a snaggle-thoothed grin
A big Baby Ruth would cost you a dime
As did a Dixie Cola way back then.

And it was only a dime to see a Western Show
At the GEM, come Saturday afternoon,
With Gene and Roy and Colonel Tim McCoy.
The Three Stooges and a Looney Tune.

We burned paper trash in an open-topped drum,
With an air hole cut out in the bottom.
A soft drink bottle was worth a full penny.
So you carried them back where you got ’em.

Golf was played on a sand green course.
The club house was a tin-roofed hut.
Britt McCraken held, then broke a mighty wind,
And Jack Williams missed a little gimme putt.

Corn, tomatoes, and green beans from the garden,
The smell of mint from the patch out back.
Watching Sir Arthur make his daily rounds
Over his shoulder, that burlap tow sack.

Throwing pebbles off and runners out
At the diamond down below town,
No rosin bags, just dust and spit;
“Come on boys, let’s bat around.”

Falcons, Black Hill Don Casada

It was Roger and Mickey and Whitey;
Stan the Man, Hank, and Say Hey, too.
The name Orlando meant Cepada,
Ernie said “Hey! Let’s play two!”

A hot summer day and a cool swimming hole
On Deep Creek – up at Big Rock.
The Wood-Turning whistle blowing quitting time,
Hours chimed on the courthouse clock.

Don Casada with beagle pups


When it came to running rabbits,
Ol’ Chip was the finest dog around
But it was our tears that did all the running
When Daddy finally had to put him down.

It’s thoughts like these that pass through my

When I consider where I come from.
And I thank the Lord for the time and the place,
And that I can still call this my home.


I hope you enjoyed Don’s poem as much as I did!


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    So many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing them with us Don Cassada!!!
    I remember honest-to-goodness penny candy that was actually one cent, and I remember when Sugar Daddies first came out, that they were as big as a child’s forearm and lasted for days, and they were a whole nickel, and we had a time talking our parents into buying something that was that expensive. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Oh, so many memories came to mind while listening to Dan’s poem. I still call the evening meal “supper”; hardly anybody does nowadays. My husband still talks about the neighborhood grocer who put speckled balls in the gum machine. He said he’s spend .50 to win a speckled ball so he’d “win” a candy bar that was worth 10 cents. 🙂 I also loved listening to the poem! I’ve been running since my feet hit the floor Monday morning, but Dan’s voice and accent slowed time down a little bit for me. It was a smooth and golden as honey.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Thanks all, for the kind comments. Just a note here that commenter Tim Harvey is the boy holding the bat in the first photo. Tim was and still is a treasured friend and a fine athlete, and was the best player of both baseball and basketball in our local league.
    I once watched an event worth telling, from my benchwarmer position in midget (8th grade) basketball. It was an away game, and I believe we were playing at Canton.
    It was a situation where our team was down by three points with one or two seconds left to go. Tim was at the free throw line, having been fouled in the act of shooting and so had two free throws coming. He sank the first, then purposely missed the second by firing it off the backboard, nicking the rim on the way back (required by rules to keep the ball in play), catching the rebound, shooting and sinking the shot all in one motion, taking us into overtime. I honestly don’t remember whether we won or lost, but that moment is still frozen in my mind.
    He did this on his own, without input from the coach. Especially considering the age, it remains the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen on a basketball court.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks Don,for your voice,your poem,your memorys, and my memorys that are coming to mind,and yes thanks for these tears running down my face!God Bless. Jean

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Sorry I left the verb (enjoyed) out of the last of my comment. Anyway I sure did enjoy the poem.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I knew when the poem finally came it would be worth waiting for Don and it was. When a boy loses his dog it hurts. I guess we all have had an Ol’ Chip in our lives and I well remember that speckled bubble gum ball. Wonder how old those things were? Thanks I thoroughly your poem.
    That line in your other comment “Long time passing” made me think of The Kingston Trio.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    great poem to read, but so much more touching to hear!
    So glad that Don gave my Saturday morning hero “Gene” first billing.

  • Reply
    Tim Harvey
    August 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Ditto Jim’s comments. Brings back such great memories; baseball, people, places, smells, sounds, pictures and all !

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I love this. It takes me back to those days when the simple life was all we knew. The good old days. Thanks Don for the great poem and thanks Tipper for posting it.

  • Reply
    specal ed
    August 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    yu dun sew gud Don. them little yungins shore are purty in ther uneeforms. we had sum two at mi skool butt thay had long slevs that wood ti in the back. they had stwraps an bukels two. we had too ware hellmuts when we plaed sofball. they wuz jist lik football helmutts. We had two ware em on the buss to. they tolt us it wuz sew we wooden hurt hoursefs.
    i nevr plaed golf. ain’t that whir yu walka round in a big cowpastor with yore putter in yore hand? don’t yu nock a ball in a whole an take it out an nock it in a nudden til yuv dun it 18 times then yu go in a purty bildin and git drunk. i cant pla caus i cant drank that hard stuf. It maks me act awl krazy.
    i nevre burnt trash in a drum. aint that sillie two use a musickal nstirment two burn trash. we allus used a old rustie barrel. daddie used a acts two chop wholes in it. he wooden ever let me wholed thee acts ever.
    we nevre trid dogs two kech rabbits. if we cudnt runem down an kechem wiff air hans we wood thro rocks an killem thattaway.
    i thank i mite bee sum kin two that Sir Arthur feller thayuza tawkin bout. what dew yew thank?

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    August 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Don brings back memories of all my Daddy’s coon hounds. When he had to put one down I would cry and cry while petting their fur until they had to go take that walk with Dad. Great addition with the voice.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I threw in a local name or two for folks like Bill and Jim, and I think they’d both agree that people like Britt McCracken, Arthur Blanton, and Jack Williams were the sort of characters that made vivid memories in small town (or in Bill’s case, out in the country) life. Let me add that I call Arthur Blanton “Sir Arthur” with intent. He was a bottle collector (for deposit money) of the first rank, and although young’uns who didn’t know better might have laughed about him, time and consideration have brought to me an admiration for him and his work ethic.
    Where have all the Arthurs gone, long time passing?

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    That is a gooden too, Don. I can
    relate to some of the things you
    talked about. Done my share of
    riding cardboard boxes broke open
    and sliding thru the kudsu along
    the railroad. And losing ole Chip
    musta pulled at your heart strings,
    I know cause I’ve had dogs all my
    life. I still love deer hunting and rabbit hunting, but that’s about it. Nice memories of a
    poem well stated…Ken

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What a treat, especially hearing Don read his poem. Thank you, Don, and Tipper, too!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Good memories! Gave me a picture of your life and your pathway to becoming the person you are. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Tipper–Mercy, how that grinning little lad proudly wearing his Little League uniform has changed. You’ll notice Don was tiny, and in the team photo the glove looks so big it’s a wonder he could carry it, much less wear and use it.
    If you give me leave at some point down the road, I’d love to do a guest post which shares the wit and homespun humor of Britt McCracken with your readers. I knew him very well and he was, without doubt, the funniest man and quickest wit I’ve ever been privileged to know. Just being around him was an ongoing exercise in laughter and joy.
    For readers without Bryson City/Swain County links, “Sir Arthur” was a fellow named Arthur Blanton who wasn’t, in the vernacular of the time, “all there.” He carried a big tow sack with him and gathered wire and picked up soft drink bottles wherever he wandered. Any time you met him (and he walked the streets of town every day)his one and only opening conversational gambit was: “A little shower of rain wouldn’t hurt none.” It didn’t matter whether it had fallen a flood three hours earlier or had been the wettest season in two decades, he was going to talk about weather and the need for rain. He also was much given to weather prognostication.
    Bill B. shared a wonderful Arthur Proctor story with me along that line which you ought to encourage him in turn to share with the Blind Pig folks at some point.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Another reminiscing meditation. Each one a treasure. Don – thank you.
    By the way – we still burn some of our trash in an open barrel when there’s no burn ban; but, it is getting harder to find a used metal barrel that didn’t hold hazardous chemicals so it can be safely cleaned out for use as the burn barrel.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Don’s “Where I’m From” is delightful, and his ingeniousness (and yours, too, Tipper!) in allowing us to hear him read his poem provided us with a double treat!
    Thank you, Don! Thank you, Tipper.
    All the “Where I’m From” have been rich and introspective. They have made us all appreciate our upbringing and how it made us the persons we are today!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    August 28, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Hey Don: I could relate to all your thoughts and things except the golf. That was a game that did not come to Clay County until I was long gone!
    I want to tell you, Tipper and the whole WORLD that “Fiddler of the Mountains” will be available after Sept. 6th over in Brasstown, in Hayesville, Hiawassee (Pick A-way Music Store) and of course over in Blairsville (maybe at cousin Randall’s Fiddle store. Yuns just go on over and check it out!
    Best regards,
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    “Fiddler of the Mountains – Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull” 09-2013 Published by THE DONNING COMPANY PUBLISHERS
    p.s. Tipper and her beautiful family ‘played’ a big role in my inspiration for writing this history book!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Don brings back many memories such as “Sir Arthur” and his tow sack and even though I lived at Needmore which was fourteen miles from Bryson I could hear the Wood Turning Whistle while I was milking the cows on cool mornings. I also like his use of rhyme and meter in his play with words. We didn’t have sand greens as we didn’t have a golf course but we did have a sand diamond on our island where the community played many a game, the infield was grubbed fairly smooth but outfielders had the added challenge of dodging the many prickly pear cacti which could keep your mind on the game for a while as you picked the spines for several days if you had the misfortune of forgetting to keep one eye on the ground while keeping the other on the ball. Just one of the simple joys of being raised a “Country Boy”.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Burning trash in an open topped drum!!!! I LOVED being in charge of that chore and hadn’t thought about it for years. Great poem.

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