Whitesburg KY
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Families and friends

Blackey Days draws Ohio visitor

Happy Halloween everyone!

It feels as if I could almost say merry Christmas as the weather sure has changed in the last day or so. It is downright cold with lots of rain!

Here I go griping again! Once again it is time to have my bulk gas tank filled up and that is enough to me hate cold weather that much more.

I need to lose quite a few pounds so it may be forced to go on a diet as gas for heating is rather expensive, though I could keep the house cool and exercise to stay warm.

I use to hear remarks heavy people don’t get cold. Well, you know what, that is a bunch of boloney, I am as cold now as when I was thin.

I left home early Friday morning, and a few short hours later I was in Whitesburg. There were some beautiful patches of autumn colors along the way. I could hardly drive for wanting to look at the colors.

My plans were to go straight to my brother Richie and Wanda Hall’s. My mind changed as swiftly as the wind, as I decided to go to Letcher Manor Nursing Home to visit my sister Loretta Church. I knew it was going to be a short visit so I didn’t even take time to stop to pick my brother Jerry and his wife Mattie Hall up.

Loretta was surprised when I walked in, and we enjoyed a good visit. I did go by Jerry and Mattie’s for a while, and Jerry really made my day as he reminded me of how much weight I have gained, as if I didn’t know it.

I drove across Cowan Mountain and oh it was absolutely breathtaking, then when I got across the mountain on too a narrow strip of road it became a nightmare as a coal truck was driving over the yellow line and almost put me in a ditch.

So help me if I could have gotten hold of the driver I would have met Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb personally, as I would have busted the driver right in the mouth with my little fist!

There are several spots that are broken off along the edges of the road that needs to be fixed so bad. It is really a shame that nothing is done about the roads, and people have to drive over them in that condition.

I finally made it to Richie and Wanda’s. After spending a little time there Richie and I went to Partridge to a place called The Stables to see East KY Tyme. I had no idea what this was and had I known it was outside I would not have ventured there as Richie isn’t able to be in the cold.

I must say I believe it was one of the best shows I have seen East KY Tyme do. Of course I love being outside for music.

Astor and his wife Mable are very nice people and so are all his band members.

When Richie and I first got to the place there was a tractor and wagon to take you from the car to the places you wanted to go. The driver of the tractor, Bobby Adams of Eolia, was surprised to see a car from Ohio pull in. I told him I wanted his name and address so I could find out when they were having chicken and dumplings, I was heading that way!

We also met Pete Broersma who was a very nice guy. Pete’s family is originally from Canada.

Before I go any further, The Stables at Creekside Glen is a very unique place as they had hayrides for the family, a horse show and a drama put on by young people for everyone to enjoy. They even had free food and beverages. This is great place for families to attend as there is no drinking.

When I first arrived at Richie’s I was told by him that Wanda was going with me to Blackey Days, which was a surprise to me as she hadn’t said anything at all. I was really pleased as I don’t get to spend much time with her.

My brother Jerry wanted to go, however he didn’t want to get up so early as I wanted to be there to see the first group perform.

Wanda and I got there in plenty of time. I was mean as I asked Wanda to drive since we were going down that road from Roxana to Blackey. Had I been by myself I was going to go across Mill Branch and down Pratt Fork. Oh I haven’t gotten above my raising, I just guess I am a citified driver as I really don’t like narrow roads, especially that one close to Woodrock. I had a wonderful time at Blackey Day as I met up with my cousin Beverly and her husband Jeff Adams who are the parents of Jack Adams, the young banjo picker. Jack doesn’t talk very much but he is a good musician and it was a pleasure meeting him and listening to him pick that banjo!

Jack also picked with a group that included Taylyn Combs, Shawn Stamper and Shawn’s young daughter Whitney Stamper. This little girl not only plays an upright bass but also plays a guitar. It was great to watch someone as young as Jack and this young girl. Southern Ohio

I really enjoyed 7 South Band. I have teased and said I have adopted Libby Day Smith as I admire her so much. Another member of their band, Jon Caudill, whom I had never met in person until Saturday, may never want me to come back to the mountains. Libby and Jon are both teachers and for some reason that is so special to me. Jon teaches adult education and if I was in his class he would ban me as a student because I would say, “Hey teacher, did you bring your guitar and will you sing ‘Hello Trouble’ for me?”

Jon, it really was great meeting you, he whom I so often have referred to as my adopted son. Yes I would be very proud to have a son like you since you are the same age as my daughter. Now that will cost you an RC Cola and a moon pie!

I have to live up to the remark you made saying I am the meanest woman in five states. Remember I told you when you and your wife come to Indiana I will take you to the Coon Hunter’s Club. If it wasn’t for her being with us, I would drop you off in on a country road and you could sing ‘Down In The Boondocks.’

Will Caudill and Route 7 Band did a great job despite the wind and rain. I have met Will and Mary Ann Caudill, and found out that Will has a new CD that is available.

Will is another one that I tease about adopting as he is the same age as my son. I am so proud of all the musicians that are from the local area, and it is a great pleasure meeting them.

East KY Tyme played at Blackey Days, and Astor Taylor sang ‘South of Cincinnati’ for me. This is a favorite song of Richie’s.

I danced with a woman and after spending so much time with her, I finally got her name. She was Ardealia Branson from Jeremiah. Ardealia was sitting in a chair and moving her feet so I asked her if she danced. She doesn’t know it as we didn’t talk that much, but she really made my day. I hope we didn’t interfere with the bands as I don’t think Ardealia and I stayed sitting too long.

I have gained weight and I get out of breath real easy, and haven’t got enough sense to sit down.

Richie came to Blackey Days for a little while then Wanda rode home with him, and, yes, I did drive back around the road that I was afraid to drive earlier.

While at Blackey Days I also got to see my cousin Nancy ‘Sis’ Sparkman and her youngest sister April, and April’s daughter, Beverly. Sis and April are my Uncle Boyd and Mary Barton’s daughters.

I haven’t seen Bev or Sis since they were young girls, and I barely remember seeing April. They have two brothers, Kenny and I believe the other one’s name is Tim.

My uncle Charles Barton was there, and he asked me if I remembered Winfred Wheatly from Woodrock. I remembered the name but I hadn’t seen him since I was 10 or 11 years old. His mother Dora Wheatly was friends with my grandmother Betty Barton and her husband John Barton, who was actually the only grandpa we kids knew as our grandpa Ben Adams lived in Lawrenceburg, Ind.

As I was talking to Winfred I asked him if he remembered Gene Morton. Gene made a homemade coffin and kept it in a building a little ways from his house. There was a spring just past there that Mom Barton got water from, and Uncle Charles would make me go past that building then try to get me to look in and I was afraid. Winfred and stood there and laughed about that, but I was all of 10 or 11 years old. Winfred lives in Florence.

Wanda Lene Watts Whitehead, it was great talking to you and I finally met your sister Juanita Hensley. I remember our grandma Betty Barton and Mommy talking of Nannie Mae Rogers. I also spoke briefly with Phyllis Adams.

Mavis Huff Johnson came from Somerset and Leanna Sparkman Dixon came from Lexington, so I got to meet both of these ladies.

Mavis is older than I am and moved to Roxana about the time I left there, though I do remember some of her family. I remember seeing her dad Varsh Huff around Roxana and hearing talk of him.

When I left Blackey Day, I forgot my jacket as I had on a Blackey Days sweatshirt. When I got up to leave I picked up my purse and my chair and left my black soft fleece jacket on the back of my chair. I am glad it wasn’t something I couldn’t live without.

Linda Hall, it was nice seeing you and your sister Dorothy Tackett. Bessie Shepherd, it is always such a pleasure to talk with you. When I come back again we are going to get together and kick up our heels. Bessie is a sister to Betty Ison

Late Saturday night Richie mentioned that if it wasn’t too late when Wanda got up for church he would like to have some fried apples, gravy and biscuits for breakfast. I woke up early and slipped into Wanda’s kitchen. After some searching I found everything I needed and very quietly I peeled and sliced apples, fried them, fixed gravy and found a can of biscuits in the refrigerator. When I had breakfast ready, I woke up Wanda and Richie.

That is the first time I have ever done that. If you noticed, I didn’t say I made coffee!

Richie and I went to the graves as we wanted to see the headstone for Wallace Lee. Oh how I wanted to sit on the little grassy mound and just let the wind blow through my hair, but I declined as I was afraid I couldn’t get up. I stood there and had to hold back the tears as I looked at Daddy and Mommy’s grave and now Wallace Lee’s.

His first wife Ann is buried there. I believe Ann has a brother in Florida. I didn’t know Ann but I am going to try to get a marker for her grave. There are so many graves on that hillside that have nothing but a rock and some that have nothing, and probably no one knows who is buried there.

Wanda cooked some fresh picked mustard greens and though I am not crazy about greens I do believe this was the best I have ever eaten.

I did have an incident happen that made me almost roll on the bed laughing. My CD player isn’t working in my car so I took a portable DVD player to listen to CDs and it quit working. As I was fooling with it, at 5 a.m., it blasted out and I thought I had awakened everyone in the house. I shut it off as fast as I could to plug in the headphones, but I got that messed up and turned the volume up instead of down. Oh my goodness, I just knew I had awakened everyone plus maybe Rick and Barb Jones who live down the road from Richie and Wanda. It didn’t disturb anyone so I just laid back down on the bed and giggled like a kid.

I called Oma Hatton and made plans to stop by Sunday evening to say ‘trick or treat.’ The treat was mine though I missed her driveway and went up the hill to turn around. If I go see Oma again I will walk up that hill.

My brother Jerry and Mattie wanted to go to church at Hotspot and Jerry asked me if I would take them so I only had a very short time to spend with Oma. Her house is so beautiful and so is Oma, and I wish I had picked a different time. If I had been thinking I would have said, “Come on, Oma, ride down to Hotspot and I will bring you back.” I really would have enjoyed sitting on her porch and hearing about Marlowe days gone by.

I can remember going to the commissary there. I bought a red cardigan sweater from there when I was young and oh how I loved it as they had a few clothes along with everything else.

Billy Hatton, sorry I missed you at your mom’s. I wanted to visit several people and time got away from me though I did manage to talk to Frieda Boggs Johnson on the telephone. I drove by Annabelle Wright’s house Saturday evening but she was gone so I didn’t stop. Shirley June Whitaker, I didn’t know which driveway was yours and it was getting dark as I came through Roxana.

Merlene and Doyle Day, I did speak to your son Kevin Day in Roxana and he sure is a nice kid.

Marlene Day Blair, I didn’t get your telephone number or message until I got home Monday night.

I stopped to check on check on Carl Boggs and was sorry to hear about his brother Junior Boggs dying. Somehow I missed that in The Mountain Eagle. I meant to tell Carl I wanted a picture of him and Willamae.

I didn’t get to stop by to see if Frick or Frack Ison, who would hold my hand and get it warm for me. I wasn’t still long enough to get my hands or feet cold.

There was a sad ending to my wonderful visit to the mountains. Bill Profitt, a dear friend from the Cincinnati area who was from Camp Branch on Rockhouse or Isom area, died.

I became a fair weather friend again as I hadn’t gone to visit Bill in the hospital for quite some time. I can make any excuse and it wouldn’t make me feel good.

Bill came to Letcher County Day a few years ago and we became friends. I did go visit him a few times but then I let things get in my way and didn’t go. I couldn’t find out where he was and it worried me so badly that I finally located him.

Thank you, Junior Kuracka, for calling my sister Loretta Church and telling her to give me the information.

Monday afternoon I stopped by the funeral home to see Bill one last time. It was hard walking into the funeral home as my brother Wallace Lee had been there.

I went to Springfield to a fall festival put on by OKI, which is a bluegrass organization. Norma Ashcraft, a former eastern Kentuckian girl, is president of this. At first I wasn’t going to go as the Harrison area was fogged in and I couldn’t see across the road. My feet have a mind of their own as before I knew it I was in my car heading for Springfield.

It was a beautiful day and Tim Cahill used his golf cart to pull a trailer that had hay in it. There was a pitch-in dinner, and later a marshmallow and wiener roast under the shelter. Oh you talk about a wonderful place. A few musicians entertained the crowd with music and song.

Tim built a huge bonfire and everyone left as the evening turned chilly after the sun went down. I have to admit that even though I enjoyed the music and everything, this was my favorite part of the day as Norma, her granddaughter Jamie and her two daughters Courtney and Angel and young son, along with Noel Bolen and Tim, enjoyed the evening. As it started to get dark Noel left and poor Tim was stuck with us women who didn’t even ask if he had plans himself.

Norma brought candy bars, marshmallows and graham crackers to make s’mores, which I hadn’t even thought of since my youngest daughter Anna Nottingham was in Brownies.

Tim was taking all our stuff to the car and the others were riding the hay wagon. It was pitch black except for the bonfire, and Norma started laughing and said, “Oh Lord, Rose, here we are alone in these woods.” She said a bear could get us. Well it could have roasted us as the fire was burning hot.

It was 8 p.m. when we left the park, and Springfield is 100 miles from Harrison. When I got home I called Norma and so help me we talked and laughed for almost a half an hour.

I finally went to see Doyle and Betty Ison and spent most of the day with them. Doyle is doing a little better, but he still has a long way to go. It is always like a mini vacation when I go there, like a luxury resort as their house is so nice. I get to gaze out the back over a sight that thrills me so much.

Betty had a roast in the oven that smelled so good. I told her if I was a burglar, I would have to stay for dinner as her house smelled so good. Her dining room is so huge you could make a bowling alley in it. Then there’s my favorite part of course, that huge deck which never ceases to amaze me.

Doyle picked me some green tomatoes as it is supposed to turn cold. Betty fixed me a care package, which included an orange dessert which is delicious. Oh yes I needed the calories.

Gwen Huff Farmer and I enjoyed some music on the computer. Gwen is having some trouble with her legs and she is going to have to get some tests run.

Shirley Wells, I hope you are getting along all right. If your ears were burning, it is because Oma and I were talking about you.

I haven’t talked to Johnny and Ann Calihan so I hope all is well with them.

Congratulations to Mark and Teresa Roark on the birth of a granddaughter, Addison Nicole, born Oct. 22. Both baby and mother Brandie are doing fine. I bet Teresa and Mark were nervous wrecks along with Aunt Wanda.

Thanks for the visit. I better get this on its way. Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, telephone 513-367-4682.



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