Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Working Bee

Working bee

working, working bee noun A gathering of neighbors to help a family with such activities as house raising or corn shucking, the labor often being followed by a meal and entertainment provided by the family being assisted. The gathering might also be held to perform a public works project or to help a destitute family.

~Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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Neighbors helping neighbors

Ben (my nephew) is home from college for Spring break and last weekend found him and The Deer Hunter helping Pap re-roof Pap’s garage.

Metal roofs in appalachia

Seems like I was in high school when Pap built the garage. Steve helped Pap build it back in the day so he could put his car in it. In more recent years it has held Ben’s prized 1980 Monte Carlo.

Working in appalachia

The girls think the car is so cool. I’m thinking if they’d ever drove it they wouldn’t think so.

Roofing in western nc

The Monte Carlo was Granny’s car back in the day. I remember driving it in Atlanta traffic one time when I took Pap to see a heart doctor-I swore if I ever got back home alive I’d never drive that piece of junk again-and I honestly don’t think I ever did. Of course I was only a teenager so I was very dramatic in those days the car probably wasn’t as bad as what I thought it was. And I guess Ben restoring the car with jet black paint and a red interior adds to the cool factor.

Sustainable living

I like the whole working bee thing. Any sort of hard work is made easier when other hands share the load.

Tipper

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    March 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I REMEMBER SPELLING BEE I WAS IN
    A FEW BACK IN SCHOOL LIKE 65 YEARS AGO I REMEMBER ONE THERE
    WHERE ABOUT 65 OR 70 IN MY CLASS
    MY COUISON AND I SET THEM ALL
    DOWN FINELY SHE SET ME DOWN AND
    SHE GOT TO GO TO MEMPHIS FOR A
    SPELLING BEE I DON’T THINK THAT
    I WILL EVER GET OVER IT.
    JUST KIDDING!
    JOHNIE IN ARKANSAS.

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    March 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I REMEMBER SPELLING BEE I WAS IN
    A FEW BACK IN SCHOOL LIKE 65 YEARS AGO I REMEMBER ONE THERE
    WHERE ABOUT 65 OR 70 IN MY CLASS
    MY COUISON AND I SET THEM ALL
    DOWN FINELY SHE SET ME DOWN AND
    SHE GOT TO GO TO MEMPHIS FOR A
    SPELLING BEE I DON’T THINK THAT
    I WILL EVER GET OVER IT.
    JUST KIDDING!
    JOHNIE IN ARKANSAS.

  • Reply
    Luann
    March 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Years ago, we had friends help us with a ‘barn raising’ so I’d have a barn for my horses. We hired one person who really knew how to do it properly to direct everyone. We fed everyone and had a fun time in the process. But now I know another name for the process!
    Was driving by there awhile back and the barn is still there….now over 30 years.

  • Reply
    RB
    March 19, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Never heard of a Working Bee (outside of a bee hive that is), but I sure do like the term. Reminds me of a Quilting Bee, Sewing Bee, etc., so why not a – Working Bee!?!
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Here is the dialog:
    What do I owe you?
    You don’t owe me a thing!
    But you have been here all day, you better let me pay you something.
    Well Beulah fed me the best dinner I think I ever eat. That’s more than enough for me. Besides, I might have to call on you sometime. If I let you pay me I’d have ask what I’m worth and I don’t think you’ve got that much.
    All right, but I still think I ought to pay you something! If there’s ever anything I can do for you, just let me know, hear!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Tipper,
    Pap sure is proud of his son-in-law
    and grandsons. He’s told me stories
    about them with that gleam in his eye.
    When I was just a little feller, my
    older brothers would have their friends come and help out with hoeing our big cornfield. Mama would have a Special Supper for us all at the end of the day. But like others have said in their comments, you’d have to pay ’em in today’s world.
    …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Tipper,
    Save a spot with a couple of hooks in the corner for me to hang my hammock. If I am ever back in Brasstown, when it is rainin’, I can slip in and sleep under the music of the rooftop rain drops!
    Busy bees, working bees, quilting bees, social bees, etc. ect. etc.
    Those bees sure are busy!
    Back in the day, I suppose that would have been a garage raisin’ opposed to a working bee of repairs to the garage.
    I’d love to have a barn-raisin’…I would love to have a barn!
    I am sure that helping out Pap and Granny paid real good…besides just the feel good feeling of helping family. I could go for some of that good food I hear that Granny cooks up!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Great post….
    PS…Last day of winter and it sure is trying to make it last. I think they missed the forcast for today. It is cold and windy…was supposed to be 60 or more degrees, but NOT, at least so far.
    I am so ready for a few warm days…
    PS…2…My lettuce it up…hope it don’t freeze! Funny how it just pops up, cold or not…I guess the longer daylight hours contribute to the groove! LOL

  • Reply
    Lola Howard
    March 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I remember “quilting bees” ,ladies would come to our house and stay until it was time for school to let out, then they’d go home and cook “supper” .
    You hardly find people helping like that anymore,things are easier to go out and buy than make,and there are people that you can hire to do the work for you.
    I like the old way of doing things like your family did with the garage, and getting together with lady friends and quilting.

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    March 19, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Working Bee…not called that in NW Arkansas where I was raised, but we did the same. Work and equipment was shared across families and neighbors, and pay was not expected, except a return favor when needed. I wish we could get back to lending a helping hand when we see a need. Most people now are either too private or too busy.

  • Reply
    Shirla
    March 19, 2014 at 9:41 am

    The women used to have quilting bees and probably still do. I would gladly feed and entertain anyone who is willing to form a working bee at my house. If I’m lucky enough to find someone to do the things I can’t, they expect to be paid with cash and lots of it.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I love this concept of helping others. I have often participated on the doing end of things, both within the community and for a neighbor

  • Reply
    dolores
    March 19, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Oh, an antique auto! I would love to see the car uncovered. I bet it is gorgeous and has some really great memories, that is, if it could only talk. Old cars are a great talking device; just attend a car show in one of NC towns, like Lenoir. Trying to drive one of those is probably a bit of work, but I would love to ride in it. My husband is into old, old cars.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 19, 2014 at 8:13 am

    There are some things that only two hands just can’t do, no matter how skilled. It is amazing how much more work two people can get done. It is like 2 + 2 = 6!

  • Reply
    Gina S
    March 19, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Other than neighbors and friends helping string beans or shuck corn I don’t know much about working bees. Never heard those types of activities called bees, but the term makes sense. I laughed so hard when I read about your Atlanta trip. When I drove through rush hour traffic with my fussy mother riding shotgun and two irritable children in the back seat, I vowed never to tackle Atlanta again. That was years and years ago. I’ve kept my word, too.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 19, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Jobs always go faster and better when you have a team effort. The Deer Hunter is great to have on your team if your building, demolishing, cooking, canning, or hunting. He does it all with quiet efficiency….and he’s pretty to look at too. You’d never know I’m a proud mother, would you.

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