I got to visit my friend Donna up in Cashiers last week! She’s staying in a quaint mountain cabin with a fantastic library and pulled this book out for me because she knew I’d love it (:. The author, Joseph Hall, went around recording mountain music, learning from the mountain folk and writing about their ways. Crazy life. Here’s a clip from Smoky Mountain Folks and Their Lore:
On the hills and in the “hollers” I found people who, educated or uneducated, loved life amidst productive cornfields, rich grazing lands, and green mountains. These were a people who had never been worn thin by the tension of city living. It was not that these people, even the few prosperous ones among them, had not known hard times. Most mountain families had worked hard for a living, or for a start to better living. But there was something relaxed and easy-going about them–perhaps the result of working with the soil, or perhaps of making things go through thick and thin, or perhaps of taking life as it comes. There was an interest in each other’s welfare and in helping each other out– in work, in the pleasures of hoe-downs, music makin’s, and corn shuckin’s, in sickness and distress. There was an interest that extended even to a stranger like me when people said from Cades Cove to Cataloochee: “Come in and set a spell,” “Come in and have some dinner with us,” “Come back and stay a week,” and “Our latch-string is always out.” How could anyone fail to like such “old-timey,” “free-hearted” people? This is the way people must have lived in much of rural America before smart city ways began putting walls between us.