Tuesday, May 23, 2023


 I got these little scutters before my sister passed. I thought they would cheer everyone up in the house. Who knew the person I really got them for would be gone. And so it is me being nursemaid for a raucous crowd. They slept a lot at first. Now they are comfortable. They know their morning and evening walk. They are eating in the same room with the big dogs. I never thought big dog would be used to describe my chihuahuas. 

From left to right, they are Mattie, Bella and Winnie. A trio of dachshunds just planning an escape from their enclosure. Right now they are in the dining room playing with a plastic cottage cheese container. They have dumped the plastic recyclables and apparently, the cottage cheese container is a bit better from than the soda bottles they ususally work on. 

Originally, I was getting two. Two so they could keep each other company. The man recommended the Dachshund with the yellow collar over the one with the red collar. I thought about the one with the red collar that night. I called him the next morning and asked if I could get that one too. 

The yellow and red collar pups look so much alike. Originally, it was a light brown area between the shoulders of the red collar pup that indicated it was Winnie. I had to study them fast. Mattie had a yellow collar and the other two had taken it off her. 

They look different now plus there is that personality factor. Winnie is hyper and Mattie is much calmer. Mattie is definitely a bit redder and she is slightly bigger than Winnie. The prettiest one is Bella which is a very appropriate name. Mattie has green eyes which I did not know was common for those with the Merle gene. Since I have hazel eyes, we match.

My mom called her dogs little scutters. I decided to look the word up. Scutter is used to describe active small animals. My mom is from Appalachia. They have studied the speech in that there were sections that spoke Elizabethan English. With television, I am sure that is lost now. As a child, I had hard work to get my mother to call things correctly. She would call a bra a brassiere. My 11 year old sensibilities had my work cut out. As a 13 year old, my mother called a vest a waistcoat with the pronounciation of "wesket". My sister who is ten years younger than me never heard those words from my mother. What moms will do to please their children. 

One thing from Appalachia that I love but have rarely heard is a style of singing. It is not really singing in the sense of listening to a tune. It is the singing of a story in rhyme. The singing nature is a nmemonic device to help remember a story from when oral histories were the norm. One person sings a line and then another person sings the same line back to them. This goes on for quite a long epic poem. 

There is so much lost in time. I searched youtube to see if anyone had posted one of these poems. I have a copy of one that I got at Tremont which is an educational center located in the Smoky Mountains. I will post a copy of the poem in my next post. It's a two step process. Locate the poem. Copy the poem on blogger. 

I grew up in a military town and I have always called myself Southern lite. My hometown called itself an international city in that people were from all over the country and world. As a result, I never was exposed to so many of the idiosyncrasies of the people of Appalachia or the coastal plain. I've read so many of the unique qualities they have were borne of the need to survive in the rugged environments. One thing I know is that some of the wilder tales are truly just tales. 


  1. They are total cuties, but your enjoyment of them must be a little bitter sweet.
    I have read lots of tales about Appalachia - and mourn that I will not see it for myself.

    1. I have travels I would like to make that I know will never be. I have enjoyed blogging in that it allows me a bit of traveling. When I have vacationed, I've always enjoyed listening to people from other places. I'll follow a storyteller anywhere.

      The puppies are endearing. They are just 3 months old and I've made the big mistake of feeding them some of my food. It doesn't take much to make a pesty habit if it is something they enjoy.

  2. My dad and his family all are from Appalachia - Eastern Tennessee that goes back several generations. And I really am the daughter and granddaughter of a coal miner! My dad worked the mines before he enlisted in the army. My grandma used to wear a bonnet while she gardened and she would indulge in some singing - I thought she was just singing in tongues. There is so much to that culture that me, a California raised person has brought to my life, thanks to my dad who wanted me to know. I cherish those times as a child and teen driving back to spend summer with the family. Definitely not fancy people by any stretch but they were the most comfortable people I had ever been around. MY heart belongs to Eastern TN but sadly it is changing fast according to some cousins that still live there.

    1. In the last five years, I've noticed there has been a lot of cultural changes with the younger generations. Some practices have been pulled back and some are just part of fanciful imagination.

      I can't get over all the tattoos. I can see what my grandmother's reaction would have been. She would have said nothing. The person observed would never know what she was thinking. But we would have heard what she thought about it later that night.

      I wish I had paid more attention to the old tales.

  3. Funny how dogs that look so alike can have totally different personalities.

    1. True for people too.

      When I vacationed in Ireland, one of the tours were of a farm where we ate lunch. The farmer's dog was locked into a stall of the barn. Here the dog would have walked freely between the people. But this was a working dog. He was put up so he would not roam and develop bad habits from other dogs.

      The company we keep.

  4. How lovely to have such a poetic tradition! Poetry itself originated as a mnemonic device of course.
    Btw, my mother's generation also called it brassiere, not bra. My grandmother's generation mostly didn't use it, they called the undergarment they wore a 'chemise.'

  5. The trio are lovely scutters!
    That's interesting about the Appalachian style of singing a story in rhyme.
    Looking forward to the posting of such an epic poem.

  6. Those puppies are so adorable. I've never heard the term scutters for puppies but I sure did use the word brassiere when I was much, much younger.


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