Monthly Archives: December 2012

Ringing in the new

Lang may your lum reek. May the fire on your hearth burn on. —Scottish New Year toast Dropping a possum at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve is most definitely not a traditional Appalachian custom. Please note that the folks in Brasstown, NC, self-proclaimed “Opossum Capital of the World,” have only been dropping—well, […]

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How a newspaper hoax became ‘The History of the Bathtub’

BATHING THE CROOK Middlesboro Daily News Middlesboro, KY. December 29, 1920 By Dr. Johnson Archer Gray “As Mr. Dooley would say: ‘I see by the papers,’ that the Middlesboro police department are going to inaugurate a new feature in cleaning up the crooks in and around the city; they are going to give them baths […]

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The mule I drove was called Old Red

You hear young folk singers today sing happy work songs about mule drivers and mule-skinners. I sometimes wonder if any of them know what driving a mule is really like, and if they’d still sing so merrily if they knew. 
My first job was carrying water on the Interstate Railroad grade at Josephine, about a […]

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Breakin’ up Christmas

Hoo-ray Jake and Hoo-ray John, Breakin’ Up Christmas all night long Way back yonder a long time ago The old folks danced the do-si-do. Way down yonder alongside the creek I seen Santy Claus washin’ his feet. Santa Claus come, done and gone, Breakin’ Up Christmas right along. The “Breakin’ Up Christmas” tradition is credited […]

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