The day I spotted the help wanted ad I was three years into a dead-end job relocating displaced families for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. My low-paid position was a stepping-stone to nowhere; Tennessee’s unofficial motto, as 49th in state pay, was “thank God for Mississippi.” The regional boss, aContinue Reading

As the young woman walks away, Tim points to my beer, “You’re almost done with that. I’ll get you another. You’ll want it for what I am about to tell you.” “Great. Thanks!” I holler as I throw back my first gooey cheese stick. I’m enjoying the conversation and wonderingContinue Reading

I like watching birds in the rain. I’ve a good view of some crows now as a steady patter falls and splatters over the Appalachian Mountains on a chilly, wet, dreary, mid-October afternoon. The rain fell heavy in the early morning, but, now the water lingers as a cool, constantContinue Reading

Growing up in the shadow of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city socially stratified according to altitude, I fell under the spell of native author Christine Noble Govan, whose specialty was children’s mystery novels set in or near the city’s scenic attractions. A prolific writer of more than 50Continue Reading

Our hike continues on in humid air with welcome breezes when, all of a sudden, I sense someone running behind me before hearing a terrified scream. “Ah!” Katie yelps. “Oh my God, Casey! Help!” I’m in the lead of our pack, but, startled, I turn around to my wife. Katie’sContinue Reading

“Do you have it?” Aunt Debbie sounds hopeful and looks to Mom with a soft smile. “I do,” my mom whispers stoically, reaching her hand into her purse. Aunt Stephanie curiously watches as an old handkerchief, a memento of their Grandma Shorty, is carefully lifted for the three sisters toContinue Reading

  All aficionados of Southern literature know that William Faulkner’s literary landscape was the alluvial soil of the Mississippi Delta, the author’s “postage stamp corner of the world,” in his own memorable phrase. However, Faulkner’s biographers often overlook or downplay his connections to Tennessee. For instance, Faulkner’s great-grandfather and namesake,Continue Reading

I am genuinely amazed when outsiders view Appalachian people as nothing more than incestuous (or inbred), uneducated (or lacking),  violent, “pillbillies,” (also here and here). To a good portion of people, we are poverty porn, and a host of caricatures. These views are psychologically brutal and personal. And we doContinue Reading

The absence of regional, independent bookstores in Appalachia and the South is similar to an urban sprawl in a bone-dry, flowerless space. We are all, in one way or another, readers for life. And readers search for some kind of respite, or thirst for a more tangible knowledge, or craveContinue Reading

Below are the answers to our Appalachian English Quiz 2. A bit of information about each word is given, using the following dictionaries:           Oxford English Dictionary (OED)           Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)           Dictionary of Smoky Mountain and Southern Appalachian English Other resources are linked within the definitions and information.Continue Reading