Tipping the quaich

jim_tom_quaich.jpg Originally uploaded by Suffering the Benz Tom sips Scotch from a quaich while he, Jim (right) and Jenny regale us with tales from their recent trip to Scotland. I’ve always been fascinated by Scotland and it’s high on my list of places to see. Apparently, Tom and Co. got to spent time with Phil […]

Steve Turner’s life

Don Dudenbostel’s portrait of Steve Turner, who raises bear hounds and gamecocks in Cocke County, Tennessee. The photo is part of Dudenbostel and Tom Jester’s Vanishing Appalachia exhibit at the East Tennessee Historical Society. “The constant crowing of gamecocks and baying of hounds fill the air day and night, but it is a sound that […]

Praying in Tongues

Don Dudenbostel shot this portrait of Rev. Jimmy Morrow, a serpent-handling preacher. The photo is part of Dudenbostel and  Tom Jester’s Vanishing Appalachia exhibit at the East Tennessee Historical Society. Tom and Don gave me permission to run a few photos and audio clips from the exhibit. Here’s an audio file that Jester recorded of […]

Serpents on the Bible

Two copperheads lie on Rev. Jimmy Morrow’s Bible in this photo from Tom Jester and Don Dudenbostel’s Vanishing Appalachia exhibit  at the East Tennessee Historical Society. Tom and Don gave me permission to run a few photos and audio clips from the exhibit. Here’s an audio file that Tom made when this photo was made: […]

On moonshine and serpents …

I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this. The Rev. Jimmy Morrow was approachable. Kind. Sincere. A small group gathered around him at the opening of the Vanishing Appalachia exhibit today while Morrow talked about everything from local history to, well, snake handling. Or more correctly, serpent handling. I guess what I really […]

Meet a mule skinner

Tom Jester passed along this photo of Arthur Bullington, a mule skinner in Cocke County, Tennessee. I’m assuming the photo is by photographer Don Dudenbostel, whose work never fails to stop me in my tracks. This is yet another example of the way Tom and Don are documenting disappearing Appalachian lifestyles. They also knew and […]

Popcorn Sutton and the art of moonshine …

“Jesus turned the water into wine. I turned it into damned liquor.” That’s legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, talking to my buddy Tom Jester during one of Tom and photographer Don Dudenbostel’s visits with Popcorn. The duo ended up with an amazing chronicle of the ornery, contrarian mountain alchemist. The News Sentinel’s Fred Brown did a […]