2017-08-23 / Families & Friends

‘Letcher County has lost beautiful person’

By ROSE BALLARD

Hello again everyone! Oh my how times flies when you are having fun. Are we having fun yet?

Southern Ohio

We are having fall in August as the nights have turned cool enough for a blanket for me, and the fan is turned off.

Mornings are so chilly that I’ve stayed in a couple of the mornings until I couldn’t take being cooped up, so again I grabbed a cover and sat out to enjoy the coolness, the fog and my new friend, the rabbit in my yard.

I lie awake at night after I read posts of the person in the mountains still asking for help paying an electric bill, trying to get someone to help. I’ve made a few calls to Whitesburg trying to find help for this person, and I would gladly help if it was possible, but since I have been sick I’ve not been able to work as much as before.

As time goes on it is almost time for gardeners to retire their hoe, put the gloves away, pick up the rakes, and get the snow shovels out.

Leaves are falling in my yard, and my porch is covered with leaves that aren’t even brown.

This time of year my mom would be busy making chowchow as she would be getting green tomatoes, cabbage, an onion and a sweet pepper or two, chop them real fine, then use a mixture of vinegar and sugar, and cook them for a while then can them.

I’ve read that a few women from the mountains make this wonderful concoction, how my mouth waters when I read about it. How my stomach would kill me should I eat it!

Mom used something called pickling spice to make some things, I don’t know if she used that in chow-chow or just when she made pickles.

My Grandma Rosa Hall made the best pickled corn that I’ve ever tasted. There are times I get to craving things from years gone by and wonder if it would be as good now as it was back then. Grandma would use a 25-gallon crock to pickle the corn in.

I’ve also seen her use that same crock to make something called home brew. I loved the taste of that murky looking liquid that had a bitter sweet taste to it.

How I wish I knew her recipe. Even though I don’t drink, I still would like to have a sip of what she made.

How many of you grew up with your mom fixing green beans, or any kind of beans, placing a chunk of salt meat for seasoning? You ate that meat with fat and streaks of lean, and it was good. In our home we didn’t throw food away.

Nowadays I can’t stand a piece of fat meat in my mouth. When I was able to eat bacon, which I crave so bad now, I wanted the bacon to be almost burned, or brittle enough that it is crunchy.

When I was in the mountains the last of April, I fixed a mess of green beans along with a pot roast for someone, and they said that was the best green beans they had ever eaten. I cooked the beans with small piece of smoked jowl bacon. The roast looked good, but I couldn’t eat any of either.

Les and Pat Wagner decided to make use of their retirement from the Nazarene Church food pantry. They took a doughnut tour through Middletown. It starts out with getting a card and going to several bakeries, have the card stamped, and on to the next, over a period of time. When finished you receive a tee shirt. I forgot to mention that you get a couple of free doughnuts at each stop you make.

Sounds like my kind of thing to do if I was able to eat.

One evening while I was watering my flowers, for some reason I took a good look at the siding on my house. It was a mess with green mold or whatever that green stuff is called.

I sprayed the siding and it wouldn’t come off, so I rubbed a small spot with my bare hand. Then I got a broom and started to scrub.

I did a small amount, as it was humid, and I did some more the next evening. Now I only have one side of my house left to do. It felt so good to be able to do this by myself.

Thanks to my friend Vicki Power for loaning me her scrub brush that has an extension handle so I could reach instead of getting on a ladder. In 1999 I scraped and painted my two-story house by myself, using an extension ladder. I am too weak to do this any more.

I am so thankful to have the strength and courage to do things for myself without calling my children or paying someone to help me.

I am looking forward to try to attend Isom Days, providing my health is all right. If I can’t make it, if God lets me live until October, I will be at Blackey Days. This will make about eight years that I’ve been attending Blackey Days.

My daughter Kay Gray is talking about another trip to Destin, Fla., sometime this fall. Again I hope I am able to do this adventure once again, as we had so much fun last year.

Johnny and Ann Calihan’s daughter, Sue Wagner from South Carolina, is visiting for a while. Sue shared a small amount of peaches with me that she brought for her parents, and oh my goodness, had I known they were that delicious, I would have told her to bring me a small basket. I’ve eaten peaches that I thought were good, but there’s no comparison to these peaches.

Sunday afternoon Johnny and Ann Calihan, along with their family, met at Red Lobster to celebrate Johnny and Ann’s 70th anniversary. I was invited to go, but I was too sick to attend.

Ann’s brother, Hubert Caudill from North Carolina, spent a short time visiting Johnny and Ann, her sister Lavonne Halburnt from North Carolina, her brother Bill Ison, and Hayward Day and daughter Sis, spent time with Johnny and Ann to celebrate this special occasion.

Their daughter Sue Wagner is here for a couple of weeks.

When I thought my day couldn’t get any worse, I read a post that broke my heart a million times. At 2 a.m. I sent Billy Hatton a happy birthday wish. A few hours later I turned on my computer once again and read of the passing of a dear and sweet person that I have learned to love very much, Oma Hatton.

My heart goes to her sons and family, and to all her friends who knew her. Letcher County has lost one of the finest people that I have ever come in contact with.

I’ve read Oma’s column for many years, but only had the pleasure of knowing her for six short years.

Oma came to my brother Wallace Lee Hall’s funeral to meet me when he passed away. We became friends from that day on.

She came to the Whitesburg hospital to be with me when my brother Richie Hall was sick, and later to the Cowan Church to be with me there when Richie passed away.

Seven months later she was at the funeral home once again to be with me when my sister Loretta Church passed away, and a year later at the funeral home with me again with my brother Jerry Hall.

I’ve visited at her home several times, enjoying sitting on her porch when it was warm, and in her beautiful house when it was too chilly to be outside.

Letcher County has lost a beautiful person. She lived for her family, and never forgot people that she came in touch with.

I had made plans to visit Oma in October. I guess I thought she would be around forever.

I could write forever and never really convey how much Oma meant to me. In closing to the Hatton family, as you go through this time of your life, remember how much she loved you. If you had her for another 10 or 20 years, it still wouldn’t be enough. Love to all.

This morning as I sat on my deck out back, it was so quiet the birds were singing, I remember what Oma had said to me the last visit we shared. The birds were singing and chirping, and she said they were talking to each other. As we sat quietly not saying a word, a bird started singing, and in a second another bird chimed in. This went on for several minutes.

Not ever dreaming this would be my last visit with her, I want so bad to get in my car and head to the mountains to be at her funeral, but I am not physically able to drive that far right now, and I keep reminding myself, I didn’t take the time to go see her in July when I was there.

I did talk to her a couple of weeks ago.

Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030.

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