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Coronavirus cancels Letcher County Picnic

Southern Ohio

Hello everyone!

The Letcher County Picnic is cancelled for the third week of September this year. I think it is best due to the coronavirus pandemic. I will miss seeing everyone. If God permits we will try again next year.

There’s definitely a feeling of fall in the air this morning. In fact the last couple of days have found me searching for a sweatshirt in the evenings.

My son Keith Ballard stopped by the store. He came home saying Halloween decorations are already out. I laughed and replied he was behind times as they’ve been out a couple of weeks in certain stores. I wonder if Halloween will be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While reading things on the contraption called Facebook, I read how they were raised in the eastern Kentucky mountains I called home. It brings back so many memories, especially reading about what the students carried to school and enjoyed for lunch. There was many times Mom put milk and cornbread in a four-pound lard bucket. After many times of using, the coating inside the bucket would eventually come off. I would just spit the little pieces out when this happened.

Sometimes I wonder what kept the milk from spoiling. I do remember Mommy melting lard and sugar in a skillet, then cutting a biscuit open, placing the mixture on the biscuit to make a sandwich for me to take to school that tasted like the doughnuts you eat today, in the same little lard bucket. A few times Mommy would make chocolate gravy. If there was a dab left, Mommy would cut open a biscuit, and slather with the chocolate gravy. On those days it was so good, it was difficult to wait for lunchtime. Oh no, I am not complaining, as there were a few children that didn’t have anything to eat.

I never knew there was such a thing called peanut butter for school lunches. After I left home at a such an early age, Mommy somehow discovered peanut butter, and she would make peanut butter fudge.

When I read about the girls wearing saddle oxford and bobby socks, I can remember the shoes that Daddy bought for me. Mommy would measure my foot with a stick, and Daddy would take the stick to Amburgey’s store, to buy me a pair of shoes. I never was allowed to pick out a pair of shoes. One winter Daddy bought me a pair of boy’s high top brogans that had the metal brackets at the top. Yes, I wore them without complaining although I was ashamed, as some kids would skate on the ice that formed on the creek by the school. I couldn’t skate as the shoes had tacks around the soles.

Daddy bought me a pair of brown shoes. I was in the sixth grade, and the shoes were too big, plus I hated them, they looked like old women’s shoes. If Daddy only knew how I tried to destroy those shoes, he would have whipped me.

When the soles of our shoes got holes in the bottoms, I have put in cardboard, which would last a couple of days. Finally Grandma would manage to get a piece of leather, and then put a half sole on the bottom. Now there was a problem there also, as the tacks would sometime come through and Grandma would have to try to get the tacks down.

Mom made my dresses from feed sacks or a dress that someone had given her, if the material was in good condition. Once in a while she might be able to get a piece of material someplace. How proud I was to wear a dress that Mom made, especially if she had managed to get a bit of rickrack to add to the neckline, or make me a pair of bloomers with lace or rickrack around the legs. Now I said bloomers, as they were different than under panties. Bloomers were a little longer and puffy.

I was always clean in my personal hygiene. From the time I can remember, we never knew there was such a thing called shampoo or crème rinse, so I used hand soap. Then someone told me about putting a little vinegar in a glass of water, and pour it over my hair while rinsing. It was supposed to make your hair shine. I had long hair that was almost waist length until I was 12 years old. Cuma Jean Mitchell cut her sister Alice Faye Mitchell’s hair. I liked it so much that I let Cuma Jean cut mine too. She cut it short as a boy’s. Every time my hair started to grow somehow I would manage to trim the back a little. It took several years for me to decide to let it grow.

That was a problem lots of time during my marriage to Jack as he would get mad every time I cut my hair. I told him right fast that I had one dad and he wasn’t telling me how to wear my hair.

I started babysitting and staying with older people and finally left home for good, and the rest is history as I married so young and started my own family. I worked very little when my kids were young, then started working when my youngest daughter Anna was sixteen and working. I have never stopped working since as, at the age of 75, I still work one day a week. So when you hear and wonder in my older years, why I am on the road again, I have the freedom, the time and enough means to pay my own way. As long as I am able to drive I am going to continue to do so.

Recently someone was teasing me about finding a man for companionship, to drive me places. No offense to any man who may be reading this, I love my life just like it is. I can go, and I can come back without asking or telling. There was a way made for me that I have a new car, I own my home, enough to live fairly comfortably. With my health issues, I have enough trouble taking care of me. As I said, I love my life as it is. No, I don’t envy anyone that has a loving husband or wife. I just like the things like they are.

Saturday afternoon was a wonderful few hours visiting Bill, Mary, and their beautiful daughter Beverly Halcomb in Hamilton, Oh. Bev and I have been in touch with each other.

Saturday, Jericho Old Time Band cancelled its appearance at Oxford Farmers Market due to the spike in coronavirus at Miami University, as several of the students attend the Farmers Market. In fact I think they are the only ones who don’t bring their dog to the produce market. Bev was planning on attending to listen to the music and especially to bring me a few peaches from her parents’ peach tree. Bill and Mary have a tree that bears white peaches; these are delicious.

Since we decided not to go to the Framers Market in Oxford, Bev said she would meet me and show me how to get to their residence as Bev lives directly across the street from Bill and Mary’s. A few years ago my ex-husband Clayton and I had gone to Bill and Mary’s. I had almost forgotten what a beautiful home they have. We spent time out back in the privacy of a gorgeous yard.

In all my life, I’ve never seen tomato plants as tall and large as what Bill has growing right next to the concrete patio. Farther back in the yard, Bill has stakes so high with half runner beans growing on them. The beans are hanging in pods. Bill actually had to get a stepladder to pick the beans.

Mary and Bev had made tomato juice that was still warm and sitting on the counter. It was so beautiful to see, a reminder of what I used to do. I think Bev said they put up 30 quarts of green beans.

Bill and Mary were generous to send me home loaded with peaches, beans, and tomatoes, which I shared with Ann Calihan. On my way out, Bill asked if I would like a pack of fresh caught fish, as their annual church fish fry was cancelled. Bill didn’t know that I have a digestion problem, and here he brings out a plate of sliced tomatoes, crackers, and cheese. Yes, I took half of a tomato slice, a cracker and cheese. It didn’t hurt me like I was afraid it would.

Mary has several glass prisms hanging on her glass door that make beautiful rainbow colors in the room. I really love that. Their home is so beautiful and comfortable looking at the same time.

Bill sent Johnny and Ann a package of fish too. Plus Bill even gave us two pieces of lean streak back for the green beans. There was only one thing. I wish I had asked Bill to spare a couple of green tomatoes as Keith loves fried green tomatoes. We are getting a couple of tomatoes every now and then from the three plants on the deck. They are small tomatoes, but it is still so good just to look at the plants.

I owe Bill, Mary and Bev an apology. My phone was in the car and I didn’t realize what time it was getting to be. As we sat talking, I remarked that Mary is so fortunate coming from a large family. They’ve only lost two siblings. The surprising fact of this is I remember Mary’s parents, Watson and Alma Whitaker, from when I was very young. Also I remember the names of the Whitaker brothers Pearl and Martha, Watson, and Alma, Bee and Alice, and Jeff and Hessie. Actually I just remember Pearl’s name and knew where he and Martha lived. I can remember most of Mary’s family, except the older ones Bud, Sis, and Wilma.

If I had it to do over, when I would see their brother Woody, I would have stepped on his toes or threw a rock at him. Just kidding, Woody. You know I love you and Wendell and the whole family.

Mike and Marcia Caudill better keep some wood dry and handy, plus a bag of marshmallows. You know that saying I go by, the mountains are calling and I must go. When and if I make a trip I intend to let you know beforehand. If you aren’t busy you will see a little red Honda come up your driveway. Do bears like marshmallows? I am not sharing.

Buddy and Bernice Grubb, I have a face shield so I will try to see you two if plans work out.

Hello Les and Pat Wagner, I hope you two are doing alright.

Johnny and Ann Calihan and family are doing as well as can be expected.

Remember you can still view the Mountain Minor movie on Amazon.

I still have about 5 copies of my book The Beauty of a Rose. $15, $6 shipping, Thanks to everyone who has purchased.

Until next time.

Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030, email Bluegrassmam4@aol.com

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