This time of year always makes me think of time spent with my grandmother Rosa Hall as she would take me to pick up walnuts and hickory nuts to put back for winter months. Grandma showed me how to hold the nuts on the end to crack them with a hammer. If you use a rock ,it really doesn’t matter as it is sort of difficult to do.
Fall also brings to mind pumpkins, persimmons and pawpaws, along with pears that always seems to taste better after a frost has hit them.
A country song called “Detroit City” seems to keep echoing through my thoughts as it says I want to go home! Each year about this time my heart gets a longing to head for the hills that I call home, after actually calling Harrison ‘home’ for over 50 years.
My feet almost have to be anchored down. I feel this same longing in the springtime, though this spring I knew it was an impossible dream as I wasn’t able to drive that far.
Had I been able to predict the future, I would have driven a few miles then pulled over to rest. We so often are given hindsight to say “I wish I had done this or that.”
I am just thankful I chose to go to the mountains when I did so as to spend a little more time with my brother Richie Hall.
I have neglected to say thank you to so many people for the beautiful cards that I have received.
Somehow I had put mail away and just ran across a few of them. I appreciate this act of kindness so very much.
I received a most delightful phone call from a relative who lives in Hazard.
Thanks to Oma Hatton for mentioning the name of Scrub Holland, actually Hollins, somehow names have gotten changed.
If there’s any doubt, you can go to Big Branch Cemetery and look at Harlan Hollins then go to anyone who knows genealogy. My grandmother Rosa Hollins Hall and Harlan Hollins were brother and sister, also a brother Sherman Hollins who was married to Phoebe, who are Joann Cole’s grandparents. Joann is the daughter of Arch and Tessie Mae Cole.
I am looking forward to meeting Joann. As we talked it seemed as if I had known her all my life as we had so much in common.
I met Lois Ison while I was in the mountains. Her grandmother Martha Jane Coots Cornett was a sister to my grandmother Betty Coots Adams Barton. They also had a sister named Ida Holbrook. I hope I am not getting the last name wrong.
I received a phone from another woman from Jeffersonville, Ind. She was a sister to Scrub Holland, who died just a short time before my brother Richie. This is entirely a different set! This set is from Sergent area and so help me they are related to Halls. Nope not my set, though I wouldn’t mind.
I think we need to get together to have a cousin reunion, as just about a year ago I was reunited with my uncle Ted Adams’s daughter Teresa Griffin, who lives in Virginia. I haven’t seen Teresa in so many years since she was a tot and they used to come to our house.
Last year at Blackey Days I had the pleasure of seeing my cousin Beverly Barton Adams, her husband Jeff, and Jack.
Then Nancy ‘Sis’ Sparkman, as she has always been called.
I decided to go on the spur of the moment to Coon Hunters on the outskirts of Hamilton. I got tied up in traffic as there was a parade and almost turned around to come back home. I did the same thing a year ago.
I am glad I didn’t as my friends Shirley Godbey and Alphine Stacy met me there along with Alphine’s sister-inlaw Annie. Of course Alphine and I danced several times.
Saturday, I spent the day at a bluegrass festival in Versailles, Ind. It was sort of a chilly, but a wonderful day. Had it not been for two bands, Rural Route 2 and Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers, this is one year I would have skipped.
Rural Route 2 was great as usual. The only thing was no one was dancing until Rural Route 2 played the last tune, ‘Orange Blossom Special.’ I got tired of sitting and somehow I found the nerve to walk to the dance boards and started dancing and soon another woman joined me.
Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers performed and I danced to ‘Angeline The Baker’, a fiddle tune I dearly love. Two little girls were standing close so I asked them to dance with me.
The same two little girls came later to ask me if I would dance with them again. Oh how pleased I was to have the honor and pleasure of dancing with these children as I dance with my granddaughters.
This festival was a happy yet sad occasion for me and several others as Thursday morning a former Letcher County friend, Carl Crase, went to his final destination.
Carl was the grandson of Riley and Sally Crase of Kingscreek in the Roxana area. My grandma Rosa Hall and my parents Clayton and Ora Hall knew Riley and Sally. Then there’s the connection to the Calihans as Sally was a sister to Lloyd Calihan, who is Johnny Calihan’s dad. And the list goes on and on.
Carl is a cousin to my favorite musician and I’m proud to call a friend, Gary Eldridge of Rising Sun, Ind.
The first time I met Carl Crase was at Dearborn County Senior Center, someone said Carl was from Whitesburg. That was all I had to hear so I asked Carl where Whitesburg was. Of course I was just being mischievous!
As he started to explain to me I started laughing, and Carl said you hillbilly, you know where it is, don’t you? Hillbilly became Carl’s name for me. Carl explained his family was from the Roxana area, his parents John and Louanna Day Crase moved to Indiana when Carl was eight years old. Carl was not a musician though we shared the love of music, and the love of the mountains.
Carl was at Letcher County Picnic, then I attended Farmers Fair at Aurora Ind., and, Carl and his wife Mary sat close to me.
Through music I have met so many people who are from the mountains, and those who may not have been raised there, but through families the love of the mountains is deeply rooted in their heart and soul.
I have been reminded numerous times that I have been away more years than I lived there. Let me say I don’t need a reminder, but my roots are there. My few years living there are so deeply implanted in my very being, and it makes me who I am today.
The saying country to my roots, oh no you can’t even use the word country to describe me, as mountain is more like it.
I prefer the older things of life. Yes, I do enjoy modern things, and I can also survive without them.
Sunday was Old Time Fiddlers meeting and the crowd was small yet the music was good. I decided on the spur of the moment to make soup, in fact I made one kettle of beef stew and a pot of vegetable soup. It was good or people were hungry as there wasn’t any to bring home.
One of the members wanted to know who made the beef stew, as he wanted to take the person home with him so I told him my friend Alphine Stacy made it.
We had a very special musician to attend as Gary Eldridge of Rural Route 2 Band came for a while. Gary wasn’t feeling up to par and didn’t sing. The band had played at Versailles in the chilly weather and he had a busy weekend. That didn’t stop Gary from playing the mandolin.
I wish I had the option to handpick a bluegrass band. My first choice of someone to play a fiddle would be none other than Marvin Davis. In my opinion Marvin is not one of the best, but the best fiddle player that I have ever heard.
Gary Eldridge would be the mandolin picker, as not only is Gary a great musician, he has a good personality and stage presence.
Oct. 13, Rural Route 2 Bluegrass Band will be playing at the Navy Bean Festival in Rising Sun, Ind. Dec. 8, Rural Route 2 will be opening for Grascals in Milan, Ind. More on that later, along with another update.
Don’t forget Blackey Days is Oct. 12 and 13.
When I go to the mountains, I love to see three bands in particular: Sunrise Ridge Band, the one my little cousin Jack Adams picks with; 7 South with Jon Caudill and Libby Day Smith; and Route 7 with Will Caudill.
I always enjoyed East KY Time with Astor Taylor, and I hope Astor’s health improves so he will back out again.
Gwen Huff Farmer has been very busy for the past week with company as several come to enjoy hunting at her place and surrounding areas.
Gwen’s cousin Susie, who lives in Arizona, has been so gracious as to invite me to come spend some time with her and her husband this winter. As Susie knows, I dread cold weather.
As tempting as that is, I guess I will stick it out here as it is too far for me to get back home when it gets close to bedtime or starting to get dark. Oh heck, what am I talking about? I am sure I can get a flight back. Oh I forgot I have never flown before so I guess I’d better stay here.
Shirley Wells, I hope to see you in February again in Nashville, Tenn., as I plan to be there.
I have talked to my sisterin law Wanda Hall a few times. Wanda is still having a hard time, but at least she has her job to keep her busy.
I hope to be able to see Wanda, my sister Loretta Church, my brother Jerry and Mattie Hall, and other family members and friends before too long.
I think I better bring this to a close and get it on its way.
Remember to always give an extra hug to someone special, and don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them as you never know if that is the last time.
Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, telephone: 513- 367-4682.