Whitesburg KY

Dogwood trees say welcome home

Southern Ohio

Hello again everyone! Spring is here! It is finally here! Life is good.

Did anyone miss my column last week? I wish I had a good excuse, but I have to just tell it up front. My friends Art and Joann Peters along with Norma Ashcraft held a benefit for me due to my recent surgery. It bothered me so bad as I haven’t ever been in a situation to need help from anyone, and it was very hard for me to accept.

I hadn’t slept at all Saturday night as it drained me emotionally, so Sunday evening after the benefit in Fairborn was over I came home emotionally and physically exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch, forgetting I was down to the nitty gritty of the deadline.

A huge thanks to all the bands for volunteering to give their time for me: Ma Crow & the Lady Slippers, White Mt. Grass, The Grace Bros., Nightflyer, Dixie Ryders, Baracah Valley, Evan Lanier & Bluegrass Express, Lee Elliott, Larry Efaw & Friends. Larry is from Akron.

Thanks, Gary Eldridge, for doing a great job of emcee.

I appreciate every little thing and any way that anyone helped in this event.

I am so thankful I have been able to take care of my own personal affairs for 19 years of being on my own. Over the years I have purchased three brand spanking new cars, and managed to do a little traveling, all by myself. I’ve not had to ask nor depend on anyone!

Friday afternoon, I decided to head for the hills of home. The scenery was once again breathtaking.

As I got closer to the mountains I could feel the tension drifting away and such raw emotion feeling my heat and soul, as the redbuds were so beautiful gracing the sides of the highway.

Dogwoods were just starting to share their beauty as if to say welcome home. The trees are starting to show their elegance, making a backdrop of their greenery, and of course the pines that withstand all elements of the changing seasons.

Going to the mountains to breathe in the fresh mountain air, to set my feet on the rich mountain soil seems to revive and rejuvenate my inner soul.

As I was on the way home, I glanced at the side of the road there was a small valley of green grass and a dogwood tree, and oh the serenity I felt, and I could feel the tears welling up.

We slipped into Campbell’s Branch just in time to see 7 South Bluegrass Band with a couple of band members who have become like extended family to me, Jon Caudill and Libby Day Smith. I really do enjoy this band.

I was in for a complete surprise as someone sat down beside me, and they were surprised too. Jeff Adams and my cousin Beverly Adams chose to sit in the vacant chairs next to me. Bev looks wonderful. She is such a sweet person. I believe she is going to beat that awful cancer.

I really didn’t get to spend as much time with Jeff and Beverly as I would have liked. It seems there’s never time for everything.

During the band’s break there was a makeup band called Garbage Can Band with Larry Roark, Gary Eldridge and my little cousin Jack Adams along with someone else, but I didn’t catch their names.

Actually this was some mighty fine picking and grinning.

It was again such a pleasure to see Carl Boggs at Campbell’s Branch, and oh how I miss my dear sweet friend Willa Mae Boggs. Carl didn’t recognize me as I had my hair down and I’ve lost a few pounds, plus I have a few wrinkles that decided to appear in the past couple of years. Oh I forgot, they are laugh lines.

Willa Mae Boggs would have loved me if I had wrinkles so deep that I would have to put cement in the lines of my face, and would have told me how beautiful she thought I was.

While at Campbell’s Branch a very special woman came to talk to me, Dorothy Roberts. Actually I had met Dorothy some time ago at Hemphill. Dorothy was gracious enough to share her handsome husband with me at least for a few minutes as he asked me to dance.

I can dance free-style all night, but I have never really danced the two-step. Thanks, Manus, for the lesson.

Saturday I planned to go to Relay of Life but somehow my plans went awry as my sister Loretta Church became very ill and was taken to Whitesburg Hospital, then sent on to Pikeville for kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

I spent time at the hospital with Loretta, then some time with my brother Jerry Hall and his wife Mattie. After that ordeal I wasn’t in a frame of mind to do anything.

It was rather ironic that I was down home unexpectedly and just at the time when Loretta was admitted to the hospital.

When I arrived back to my house my son, Keith Ballard came over to mow the grass. Keith used the push mower last year as my riding lawn mower needed repairs. Keith went to Sears to purchase new blades, but the ones they have now don’t fit the mower so he decided to improvise and drilled the holes where he need them for the screws and made them fit. Now the riding mower is once again working fine.

Maybe, just maybe I will get to sneak and mow some.

My sympathy goes out again to the family of Glendora Eldridge in the loss of a brother, Phillip Bryant of Hot Spot.

Last week her husband Kenneth Eldridge lost another sister-in-law, and recently a cousin, plus they both have lost a brother and sister in the last couple of months.

While in the mountains I did get to go to the cemetery where my family is buried, and oh boy did I goof, as I passed the little road that turned off to the cemetery.

Have you ever stood on a mountaintop and felt like jumping off, because you felt plain old stupid? Well I can say I know that feeling!

My brother Richie Hall had taken care of this cemetery for years, but now he is gone. I wonder who will go there and keep the weeds cut down.

I think someone stole the concrete bench that used to sit at the Hatton graves. If they did, I hope they fall off of it.

While going through the dearest place I know of in Letcher County, a little place called Roxana, I looked up toward the hillside where I lived as a child. Looking at the point where I had spent many a happy hours to escape from reality, and live for a few precious hours in my own world. Looking up at the place where I came into the world, in my Grandma Rosa Hall’s bed, while my grandfather Alec Hall lay dead in the next room.

Going up Tolson Creek and knowing my little feet had walked those old roads as a child.

Monday night, I will get to see another favorite band. Special Delivery Bluegrass Band with Tony Hale will be performing at Hunter’s Pizzeria so this means double the pleasure, double the fun for me as I get to see Les and my special stepsister Pat Wagner, along with Larry & Becky Hasty, and maybe Polly and little Kelly too.

Les and Pat along with Larry and Becky attended a special ceremony for Polly as she is in nursing school. Congratulations, Polly, on your choice to go back to school.

Hello to my new readers James and John Ison. I hope you boys are enjoying the beautiful weather.

Gwen Huff Farmer has been out and about in her garden and yard. I really do hope I get to visit Gwen, as she isn’t able to drive long distances any more.

Shirley Wells, there’s not a thing wrong that you can’t get in that car and drive. If I can do it, so can you.

Doyle and Betty Ison are enjoying this nice spring weather we are finally having, but Betty is having a lot of pain with her other knee.

I haven’t talked to Johnny and Ann Calihan this past week except for a few minutes, and they are doing alright.

I finally found out Thelma Brooks is getting her Mountain Eagle.

I would like to know if Roxana is going to get the prison built or what is the deal with that? Yes, inquiring minds want to know.

I’d better get this on its way before my time runs out.

I know there’s something I am missing that I wanted to write, but please look over me as I am still a little bit tired tonight, but I will be alright tomorrow!

Until next time. Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@ al.com, telephone: 513- 367-4682.

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