I Hope My Kids Appreciate Growing Up Appalachian |The Bourbon Soaked Mom

We all have things we want for our children. I want mine to realize their own potential and use that for whatever reason they deem “right”. However, a close second is my want for them to understand that the most important things in life are not derived from material or wealth. I am not a cultured person who as been around the world, so there may be a million ways for a person to come to this realization, but I know how that truth came to me, and it was from growing up in these mountains.

When I remember growing up, a lot of imagery rushes to my mind. A slight breeze brushing through the mountain pine. The smell of freshly mowed grass in the summertime. The wafting aroma of fried-something seeping out of a window in my Grandmother’s house, pulling children to the kitchen way before the parents had need to stand on the porch to yell for us. Sweet cherries and wild strawberries eaten ripe and dirty, straight from the tree and vine. Taking a salt shaker to a garden tomato patch, wiping off a dusty heirloom and taking a ripe, juicy bite right off the plant. Rough, dirty feet from running barefoot on gravels and wading through cool, clear creek-water. The smell of bug spray (preferably Skin-So-Soft, if you had an Avon lady in your family), and citronella candles on a back porch at dusk. The sound of a Caywood Ledford or Tom Leach blaring from a television set on a Saturday night, coupled with the randy, hostile, and sometimes poetic cuss-word- laced shouting of adult cousins, Aunts, Uncles and even parents that accompanied any call deemed “not in the favor of the CATS”. Even though those may be some major memories that have been burned permanently in the back of my brain, it’s more than just that. My mountain raising has continually cast an enveloping state of consciousness on the way I hope to raise my kids. The way I AM raising my kids. It’s heritage. It’s a way of living. It’s a lifestyle.

I look back at a childhood unmarred by the presence of social media. A childhood where if you wanted to speak directly to someone you had to call them on a landline and go through the unspeakable horror of hearing their parents pick up first, and then put them through. We actually had to speak to our friends in person by going to their home. A childhood where there was no such thing as “cyber bullying” and the only real worry we had was that the street light would come alive on too early an evening and we’d all have to go on home without finishing our game of “Annie over the mountain”.

A childhood where you crowded around the kitchen table with Mamaw or Pap and listened intently while you were taught how to roll out a dumpling, or can a quart of berries. A childhood where you learned to peel an apple with a Case knife when you were 12, the peel curling in an unbroken chain. You were proud to be able to shoot a pop ( or occasional beer) can dead-eye with your Red Ryder BB gun.

I hope my kids appreciate growing up Appalachian. I hope they look at these green hills with a sense of reverence and pride, just the same as my parents and Grandparents taught me to do so many years ago. I hope they fly down gravel roads with scraped knees and dirty bare-feet and revel in the raw and rowdy beauty of a summertime spent picking black berries and killing copperheads with garden hoes. I hope they relish that same sense of freedom. I hope they are poked with briars, and pick fresh mint from the garden to put in their peach sweet tea. I hope they help their Grandparents mix the perfect sugar water concoction to pour in red hummingbird feeders, and watch in awe as they flutter their wings, sip after sip. I hope they stay up late on a porch swing and hear the howl of coyotes, screeching hoot-owls and shrill-toned whippoorwills.

I hope they learn how to grow an heirloom tomato, and recognize ginseng root. I hope they love going dry land fishing, and learn to soak them in a salt water bath before cookin’ em up right. I hope they walk into the woods and feel a sense of kindred appreciation and awe for these mountains, but at the same time, fear and respect. I hope they love these hills for what they are, beautiful and mysterious, fabled and completely mystifying.

I hope they grow up to brag about being sons of Appalachia. I hope they roll in dark kudzu, and catch a lot of craw-dads. I hope they climb under sounding rocks and find arrow heads, fossils, and brag about how they (not so accurately) have “Cherokee” blood running through their veins. I hope they love this land they were raised on, and never forget it.

I want my children to have this same care-free childhood.  I want them to revel in the kind of freedom I experienced as a barefooted, stringy headed, hill-baby in the mountains of East Kentucky. Just a simple kid who enjoyed the finest, but simplest pleasures that life had to offer me. The cool creek bed, the itchy grass, and the pleasure of roaming an Appalachian mountainside unrestricted with limitless possibilities. I want them to remember their heritage, and pass it down. It feels like a simpler time, but I look around and many of my Appalachian brothers and sisters are finding the joy and beauty in teaching their children to appreciate, value and respect their heritage. To not only cherish it for themselves, but to be proud of it, and to advocate for their towns and region. To me, an Appalachian upbringing in not complete without a sense of pride, and an urge to defend the region we call our home.

When they are grown and possibly move away, I want them to feel excited at the first glimpse of those mountain ridges when they are coming home. I want them to feel relieved when they see those soft, rounded hills and lush green valleys. I hope they never lose their ability to see the beauty in how life is lived here. I hope they tell stories to their friends of life “back home”, and how there’s not another place in the entire world like Appalachia. Because there isn’t. I hope they remain stubbornly proud to be privileged enough to have been raised in an area where you’re taught to work hard, respect and love people, and enjoy the life you’ve been given.

Words were not made to truly convey these feelings. I believe that being apart of it is the only way to experience Appalachia. My only hope is to provide the roots for my children and trust they will one day understand how important they were to their fruit. Even for me, it has been an idea that has been so ingrained that it took quite a few years for its true importance to finally dawn. My feet have been so connected to these hills for so long that their own heartbeat has harmonized with my own; slowly, unknowingly, but detrimentally, to the point that I often have the fleeting feeling that should my heart not beat with these hills, that it may not beat at all.

“God knew that it would take brave and sturdy people to survive in these beautiful but rugged hills. So He sent us His very strongest men and women.”-Verna Mae Slone 

Annie’s Frugal Finery, Whitesburg KY |The Bourbon Soaked Mom

I have discovered the holy grail of consignment shops, nestled right here in Eastern Kentucky. Yes! I said, EASTERN KENTUCKY! Our region houses one of the finest upscale consignment stores that (in my opinion) rivals any I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to many. Annie’s has been in business since 2009, with the big pink building being their 3rd location. A member of NARTS (national association of retail thrift stores), they have over 2500 cosigners, including myself! Not only is their business thriving, but their beliefs and vision includes giving back to their community while promoting the growth of their small town and surrounding rural counties.

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Located across from the Pine Mountain Grill in the pink brick building, Annie’s is both unique and quirky. The store has a boutique feel, and houses brands including, but not limited to Lilly Pulitzer, Mud Pie, designers like Hermes, Coach, Kate Spade, and Louis Vuitton. Depending on how long things last, usually items sale out without minutes! (Honestly, if you haven’t followed them on Instagram and gotten their notifications, I suggest it!)  Annie’s has not only women and men’s clothing, but purses, wallets, jewelry, shoes and household items such as glassware, furniture and wall decor. Not to mention, Annie’s is also fully stocked in baby and kid’s clothing, toys and accessories! I recently purchased a large bulk of Greyson’s school clothes, name brand items like Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, Children’s Place and Under Armor. I also like to buy some of my husband’s golf clothing there because it is so expensive if you purchase it from somewhere like Dick’s or Taylor Made. Each item accepted at Annie’s is hand inspected and looks basically brand new for a fraction of what it would cost me to buy it out right. The last items I purchased for myself were a couple of shirts from J. Crew and Loft and one still had tags on it!

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Annie’s is locally and family owned, with the real life Annie (the name sake, and daughter of owner Debbie Campbell) working full times as the store’s sale manager. Debbie Reyn Campbell, the owner was both gracious enough to allow me to come and photograph her store, but she and Annie were also there to take my consignment and meet me formally. I’ve been going places and doing blogs on local EKY business for almost two years and this was best reception I believe i’ve ever had. After some warm conversation, it became evident that she and I both share the same love for our area, and truly believe in the shop local, buy local movement, Campbell added:

“We put money back into our community everyday. Half of every purchase goes back into the hands of a consignor. We make a difference in peoples lives by helping them to create supplemental income and by offering a place to purchase nice quality items at an affordable price. I love the fact that we not only provide jobs for our area (we’ve had as many as 4 employees even though we only have two right now). I don’t count myself. I love that we re-purpose and recycle items that otherwise might be wasted. And I love that we are a vital part of our area.”

 

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If you’re interested in becoming a consignor at Annie’s there are several guidelines to follow. Annie’s accepts consignments on Wednesday and Friday. You receive half of whatever the item sells for when it sells. They keep it on the floor for 60-90 days. Annie’s only accepts in-season items and are currently accepting summer. Any items that do not sell are donated at the end of the selling period unless they are priced $50 or more in our store. In which case, we call you and you have 5 days to pick them up. We accept brand name only. We do not take formals, maternity, or scrubs.

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I suggest making a trip to Annie’s and making a day of it. Go check it out and enjoy Letcher country. There are several places to eat, and Annie’s is close to down town. It’s easy to spend a few hours in there just browsing and chatting. I enjoy it every single time I stop in. I believe it’s such a great idea to help people feel beautiful, and dress nice at a fraction of the cost, while also helping put money back into the pockets and businesses of the people of Eastern Kentucky. I would 10-1 rather give my business and money to a place where I know they are going to turn around and funnel their profits back into their small town instead of sending it out of state. Campbell insists her favorite part of running Annie’s is helping others and meeting new people.

“The main thing I love about our store is that we get to meet lots of people that we wouldn’t otherwise have known. And so many of those people have made our lives nicer and better. We love our store and we love the people of Eastern Kentucky. Its just a blessing to get to do what we do.”

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Add Annie’s Frugal Finery on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anniesfrugalfinery/?fref=ts

Instagram: @anniesfrugalfinery

From now until the end of August, if you go in to Annie’s and either mention this TBSM article, or show them on your phone you can receive 20 percent off your purchase! Happy Shopping!

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The Bluegrass Box Brand Ambassador|The Bourbon Soaked Mom

We have some exciting news from TBSM! The Bourbon Soaked Mom is now the first official brand ambassador for The Bluegrass Box! What is even more exciting is that I’ve learned the September box will be FULL of “Appalachian” goodies.

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The Bluegrass box is a quarterly shipment filled with ALL “Kentucky” based products that coincide with a theme for that month. I am so excited to be promoting their products, because nothing makes me proud like being a Kentuckian. The Bluegrass Box really gives local businesses a chance to showcase their best and brightest products and ship them around the state, and the country! Another great deal for all of my TBSM readers is that now you can use the code BSM25 and get 25 percent off for all new subscribers!

How it works: The Bluegrass Box can be purchased two ways. You can opt to do a yearly subscription, or a quarterly subscription. The quarterly subscription renews every three months and is 35.00 dollars plus 5 dollars for shipping. The yearly subscription is 135.00 plus shipping and covers the entire year. You may also choose to cancel this anytime you’d like, but I wouldn’t see why you’d want to! All you have to do is sign up, and Bluegrass Box takes care of the rest!

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The Bluegrass Box is a family owned business who truly loves and takes pride in their products and in the state they call home. Their mission is to showcase Kentucky proud artisans and allow their talents to shine.

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“Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the artisan makers across the Commonwealth who are making amazing products, and introduce you to some of them along the way. Some may be new products, or some may come from a recipe that has been handed down through generations.  Kentucky is about tradition!

Daniel Boone once said, “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” And our family feels the same way.  There is no place we would rather raise our sons. We are both life-long Kentuckians and have no plans to change that! We love that there are so many hard-working people that are making things with their hands across the bluegrass everyday.  Every three months you have the opportunity to receive a box of products that are uniquely Kentucky in The Bluegrass Box!  Our family loves the products that we include in each Bluegrass Box, and we feel confident that yours will too!”

After receiving the “June” box, it was clear to me that the theme was summer centered. Think cookouts, sweat tea, kids playing on the lawn and eating a nice, juicy steak. Southern traditions, but of course with a Kentucky twist. In the June Bluegrass Box I received:

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  • Integritea Bluegrass Breeze- This amazing tea is flavored with passion fruit and mango which gives it it’s unique flavor.
  • Bourbon Barrel Foods NEW Barbecue Sauce-The tagline for this says it all, “Eat Your Bourbon”. You don’t have to tell me twice.
  • Shell-Bee’s Gourmet Steak Seasoning-This awesome steak seasoning can make ANYTHING taste good! I recently used it on cube steak in the crock-pot and it will absolutely knock your socks off!
  • Funky Junk Gifts Kentucky Coasters-Funky Junk gifts takes things that would normally be thrown away and turns them into works of art! These unique “Kentucky” coasters were formally a fence post. My husband ended up sneaking and stealing these from my house and are now proudly displayed in his law office waiting room! You can’t never have too much “Kentucky” stuff in your area!

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If you’re a proud Kentuckian and want to discover amazing products that are from our great state, and support the shop local movement, be sure to subscribe to The Bluegrass Box! I look forward to my quarterly shipments because I absolutely love each and every single product they send me. Plus, getting to support small, local businesses who will be keeping their money in our area is something I always try to do, and obviously something I stress to my readers. It is SO important to buy local. Our communities THRIVE on this concept. Keeping our money in state and helping our locally owned shops will enable our small towns to grow!

You can also grab one of these super-soft Kentucky farm plate tees for 24 bucks! I absolutely love mine, and I’ve gotten so many compliments when I’ve worn it out!

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To subscribe to The Bluegrass Box, please visit their official website at:

www.thebluegrassbox.com & don’t forget to use the discount code for TBSM for 25 percent off!

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