Whitesburg KY

Christmastime’s a’coming in the mountains

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmastime’s a’coming, and I want to go home in the mountains. By now I assume you have gotten all your Christmas shopping done and your Christmas dinner is planned.

I don’t do any shopping anymore. I just give money, as I am not able to shop. I do miss the hoopla, and I miss the crowds and most of all I miss not being able to go see the Christmas lights and simple things I used to be able to do.

I’ve been very sick for the past week with an upper respiratory infection that put me in a few days of bed rest, and the indigestion problems kicked back in high gear. Oh here I go complaining instead of being grateful.

I finally got my Christmas tree put together, except for some final decorations, and I’ve lost my Christmas spirit.

As I am getting the house ready for Christmas, again thoughts travel back to childhood years, when you didn’t even think of Santa Claus as there were times you never received anything, but I do remember a few gifts as a child.

I also remember the disappointment of being about the age of six or seven, wanting a doll, receiving a yellow plaid scarf instead. Another year, I remember getting a doll, and oh how I loved it. That same year Santa brought Wallace Lee a red wagon, and Wallace Lee and I both enjoyed that wagon for a very long time. That is really the only Christmas I recall Santa coming.

After I was married and had children, I always wanted a bride doll. Jack was going to surprise me with one for Christmas and his sister spoiled that for me. She found one on sale, and talked Jack into getting it for me. It wasn’t the doll I wanted, but I still have the doll to this day. It is about 55 years old. I kept it, but it wasn’t what I wanted, and still doesn’t mean that much to me.

Southern Ohio

I guess that is why over the years, I have collected so many Christmas decorations.

My grandson Jamie Gray has been going through a lot of problems, and at this present time is in the hospital. There are problems in everyone’s life, no matter who you are, and wherever you live. Please keep this young man in your prayers.

There’s something I want to address that has been bothering me for sometime. It seems that Appalachian people, especially from the mountains of eastern Kentucky, get stereotyped by outsiders who don’t know beans from rocks.

I’ve read and seen videos of the mountain children having bad teeth because of drinking large amounts of Mountain Dew, with pictures of the worst places the media could dig up, and then they say this is how they live in the mountains, the uneducated, and the list goes on and on.

I agree there are sorry people in the mountains, some that wouldn’t strike a lick at a snake unless it was going to bite them. I have my doubts about that part. Then there are the drug problems. Once again drugs are rampant everywhere, not just the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

All you have to do is turn on your television or radio, or pick a newspaper to read. I forgot the expensive cellphone that cost as much as a down payment on a car.

I’ve heard remarks about everyone on food stamps, and yes, I agree food stamps are abused, there are people who get assistance that do not need them, but again there are some people who definitely need them

I do wish the people who use their medical cards to buy and sell drugs would get caught and cut off. Again, that is not the majority of Appalachian people.

I remember as a child growing up at Roxana, and for 13 years that was my world. Dad worked as a coal miner for very little wages. We lived in houses where when it rained Mom had to keep pans and buckets sitting in places to keep the water from hitting the floor. Our house was spotless.

I also remember beautiful places like George and Minnie Whitaker’s, Monroe and Martha Whitaker’s, Hiram Mitchell’s and Blance Hogg’s white house was beautiful.

These are just a few that I recall in Roxana. On the way to Mill Branch School, Manuel and Laura Amburgey’s stand out in my memory.

Since traveling was limited to a child, I recall Jeff and Hessie Whitaker’s home, and Aunt Matt Frazier’s on the way to Tolson Creek. Mom and Grandma would take us to the graves across from Hiram and Nora Frazier’s on Kingscreek, just up the road from Roxana, and I remember that house also.

Again, I do remember one house in the holler above Nora Frazier’s that was such a bad, nasty place for someone to live in. That was an exception.

Not too many years ago, as we traveled on Daniel Boone Parkway, I was so surprised to see the condition of some houses.

So for someone to sit in a public place and say all the people in Appalachia sell drugs, or to have my beloved mountain people to be put down, take a look that what goes on in a city. Like Merle Haggard sings, “You Are Walking on the Fighting Side of Me.”

I was very surprised when I heard of the senseless killing of the blessed Hogg boy four years ago. It was hard to believe that such a horrific crime could be happened in Whitesburg. Over the years I’ve read or heard of a few crimes, again this has surprised me. As time passes things are getting a little more common. Turn on your television, where you can get Cincinnati media, and there are break-ins and murders every day and night.

I have one more thing to say for the ones who give Letcher County and the Appalachian people a bad name, stay away. Though you may have family who live there, enjoy your time and just keep your mouth shut, as you probably don’t have any idea how hard people have worked down through the years.

Les and Pat Wagner are having a hard time trying to stay away from the hospital as Pat is having trouble with health issues again. Let’s hope Pat is finally on the mend and they get to the bottom of her health problems. Christmas is always a bad time for them, so Pat doesn’t need this too.

Wayne Blair, if you and Lettie are reading this, please give me a call.

Johnny and Ann Calihan’s daughter Sue Wagner returned to her home and family in South Carolina. Sue isn’t doing very well, so please keep her in your prayers.

Last week I mentioned about Polly Ison Maucher deciding to sit down hard on the floor. Well, I must have decided to try to lie down on my stomach on the walk in front of my house, as my left leg gave way under me as I was going down my steps.

I hit the rock walkway on my knees, and I have a large scrape on my left kneecap, and a small scratch on my right leg. I am very sore through my ribcage. I had more trouble trying to get up as I was very weak and couldn’t get the strength to pull myself up by the fencepost.

I grabbed the handrail and was hanging on for dear life or else I would have gotten hurt badly. I’m grateful I wasn’t hurt worse, and even thankful no one saw me take the plunge.

Have yourself a very merry Christmas, and if you know someone who is alone, please check on them and maybe share a bit of your wonderful meal with them.

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

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