Appalachian Thursday – Decoration Day

Monday is Memorial Day–the unofficial start to summer. And in Appalachia it means time to start planning for Decoration Day. Usually held on a Sunday in June, this is a day when cemeteries would be tidied and flowers placed on the graves. I’m not talking about those silk monstrosities either. I’m talking roses and daisiesContinue reading “Appalachian Thursday – Decoration Day”

Appalachian Thursday – Mother’s Day Started in WV

Yup. That’s right. The woman who invented Mother’s Day was born in Grafton, WV. Anna Jarvis campaigned for the holiday in honor of her own mother Anna Reeves Jarvis. Mother Anna was a social activist who organized Mother’s Day Work Clubs during the second half of the nineteenth century. The clubs raised money to helpContinue reading “Appalachian Thursday – Mother’s Day Started in WV”

Appalachian Thursday – Legend of the Dogwood

I’ve always loved to bring wildflowers in the house. As kids we’d pick daffodils and forsythia, then wild azalea and lilacs, then daisies and black-eyed Susans. I even got in trouble for breaking off a branch from my mother’s redbud tree! But we never cut dogwood. It’s a holy flower–especially around Easter. I worked theContinue reading “Appalachian Thursday – Legend of the Dogwood”

April Fool’s in Appalachia

Just in case you didn’t notice, today is the first day of April. OR April Fool’s Day. I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s jokes, but there IS a long-standing tradition of natives of the mountains (or most any place) playing tricks on outsiders who aren’t familiar with the local habits. Take Snipe huntingContinue reading “April Fool’s in Appalachia”

How to Celebrate the Lenten Season

Okay, so not many folks think of Lent, which starts this Wednesday, as a celebration. This is, after all, a serious time when we’re meant to reflect, repent, and ponder Christ’s sacrifice for us. But I love Lent and, for me, it’s a somber celebration. I relish the notion of having a time set aside toContinue reading “How to Celebrate the Lenten Season”

Groundhog Day (and an even lesser known holiday)

You probably know that last Saturday was Groundhog Day. Not exactly one of the big ten holidays, but still, there was a bit of hoorah around Punxsutawney Phil who did NOT see his shadow which means an early spring! Of course, French Creek Freddie, a resident of the West Virginia Wildlife Center located not farContinue reading “Groundhog Day (and an even lesser known holiday)”

New Year’s Evolutions – Hope for 2019

What is it about the turning of the year that makes us want to reassess our lives? To pledge to do better or to, at least, not make the same mistakes we did last year? I’ve never been a fan of new year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of making plans. This yearContinue reading “New Year’s Evolutions – Hope for 2019”

Christmas Eve 50 Years Ago

Five decades ago on Christmas Eve astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were the first men to orbit the moon. This flight–Apollo 8–is the one during which Anders snapped the famous “Earth rise” photo. But they did something else as well. They broadcast to the largest audience that ever listened to a humanContinue reading “Christmas Eve 50 Years Ago”

Christmas in Appalachia

While I suppose we were relatively modern when it came to my childhood Christmases, the old-timey traditions are still hanging on in the mountains. And there are some I very much think we should revive for broader use. Here are a few of my favorite Appalachian Christmas traditions: VISITING – My 85-year-old cousin and IContinue reading “Christmas in Appalachia”

Appalachian Thursday – Christmas Countdown

Guess what? It’s 12 days ’til Christmas! Yup, Christmas is less than two weeks away. Are you ready? Are you counting down with joy and anticipation? Or is there a little how-will-I-get-everything-done dread mixed in there? When I was little, we had a count-down to Christmas wall hanging my mom made. It was in the shapeContinue reading “Appalachian Thursday – Christmas Countdown”