Tag Archives: appalachian culture

It’s seed month!

The snow’s been collecting on the garden and the blooming season seems very far away. Of course the seed catalogs have started trickling in already (January is ‘seed month’ in the industry) and by Valentine’s Day gardeners have piles of choices. Appalachian gardeners during the 1930s could count on catalogues from Stark Brothers Nurseries, Thompson […]

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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 […]

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Ahh-CHOOOOO !

Cold and flu season’s here. These days a quick trip down to the local Walmart will arm the grippe sufferer with every pharmaceutical weapon imaginable. But in 1937 Sam Walton, age 19, was still 25 years away from opening his first Walmart store. Aspirin tablets had already been around since 1915, but there were still […]

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Chinese firecrackers provided plenty of Christmas joking

Clarence Nixon wrote of his father’s store in his book Possum Trot, “We stocked up with fruit in December, and I still think of Christmas when I smell oranges in the country.” The South was a land of deep sentimentality. Family ties were close, and the hard years following the war tended to knit them […]

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All I want for Christmas is a whimmy diddle

The whimmy diddle (sometimes called a Hooey Stick or Gee-Haw) is an Appalachian folk toy that has been around for centuries. It’s fashioned from two sticks of laurel or rhododendron into a rubbing stick and a slightly thicker notched stick. The whimmy diddle makes a characteristic sound when the one stick is rubbed back and […]

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