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Down on the holler

When I looked up the word “hollow” in the dictionary, it said it is a hole or depression in something.  I guess a hollow between hills or mountains is, in fact, a holler.  Kenny and I have had a discussion about why a hollow is called a holler in Appalachian culture.  I figured it was just slang or a mispronunciation.  He thinks it was because you had to “holler” at your neighbors if you needed something.  

down on the holler in Kentucky

Live sale theme

I did not grow up on a “holler,” but Kenny did and we live on one now.  My mom’s parents lived down on a holler as well, so I spent a lot of time there.  We both believe a holler is a special place with good neighbors and lots of fun to be had.  Those are the reasons we were inspired to do a down on the holler theme in one of our weekly vintage, nature, and art sales.

things we looked for

Leading up to the sale, we specifically looked for items that reminded us of a holler.  Items for porch sitting, playing in the creek, cooking, sprucing up the house or anything else that reminded us of home were included.  We thought about vegetable and flower gardening as well as ginsenging.  We thought of the animals that we might see or hear in a holler.  Also, thinking of chores that had to be done on a holler that other places might not be faced with was important.

Favorite items

vintage lunch bucket for down on the holler theme

One of our favorite items from the sale was an old lunch pail.  I could just imagine kids gathered around that bucket sharing lunch at school.  I could also see a coal miner tiredly sitting down to lunch or dinner outside the mine.  Another favorite was an old tea kettle.  My great grandmother made the tastiest tea from the roots of a sassafras tree.  I even liked the two ordinary chairs that we included.  My grandparents always had a plain kitchen chair as seating on their porch.  

Art for Down on the Holler

We always like to include some art in our sale.  Sometimes it is my own and sometimes it isn’t.  This time we had one of those large pictures that everyone kept behind their couch.  It was a creek or river scene with a boy going fishing with his dog.  Fishing and hunting fish bait is a big part of holler life.  I also included a few of my watercolor cards with birds you might encounter or hear on a holler.  It used to be a real treat to hear a bobwhite or whippoorwill.  We still enjoy seeing and hearing our owls.

Including nature

Our natural item for this sale was some small cedar blocks.  I can still remember seeing my great grandfather whittle something from a block of wood to pass the time.  Our grandsons are becoming interested in whittling now, mostly because it involves a pocket knife.  We also included a grapevine wreath made from vine that we gathered from our property.  My mom often talks of swinging from grapevines on the holler.  She also recalls some accidents from this particular passtime. 

Holler means home

 To many, a “holler” might just be another quirky sounding word that Appalachians have created.  For us, it means home.  It means catching lightning bugs in a mason jar or playing hide-and-go-seek in a dark yard with a bunch of cousins.  It also means hardworking neighbors and friends always willing to lend a hand.  

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