Whitesburg KY
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Gwen Farmer celebrates 80th birthday

Southern Ohio


Hello there everyone. Can you believe another week has gone by? I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a little visit so let’s sit down and chat for a spell.

I went to Eastwood Metro Park in Dayton for Mountain Days. They have three stages, a country stage which is huge and draws big names such as Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, and this year the Kentucky Headhunters, the traditional stage, and the bluegrass stage, where you will find me. Ralph Stanley has played there and several big name bands.

I wanted to see the Dennis Barrett Band with Marvin and Rosie Davis. This is a band from the Richmond-Connersville, Ind. area. I really enjoy hearing them.

East KY Tyme was on the schedule. I only got to listen to a little of this band which is based out of Whitesburg. I had met Astor Taylor a couple of times, however musicians see so many people there’s no way they can remember everyone!

When I spied Astor, of course I had to go speak to him. Astor knows my brother Jerry and his wife Mattie Hall! Astor did remember meeting me after a few minutes and he reads my column in The Mountain Eagle.

Bright and early the next morning found me heading back to Mountain Days. I went especially to see a very special little guy who has stolen my heart, 12-year-old Evan Lanier & The Bluegrass Express. Band members include his proud grandpa Noel Bolen, who has played music for many years, Red Spurlock who has a band called Red Spurlock and Rainbow Ramblers, and Bob Hamblin who has a band called Dixie Riders. I have seen the other bands lots of times over the years. Noel Bollen, Red Spurlock and Bob Hamblin teach bluegrass music at Sinclair College in Dayton.

I had the pleasure of seeing and listening to another eastern Kentucky celebrity. Orbin Slone plays the fiddle for Vince Combs and Shadetree Bluegrass. Vince is from the Hindman area. He used to have a bluegrass festival at Xenia and travels all over.

Orbin is a very pleasant person to talk to. He has aged gracefully as time has sure been good to him. I never met his mother however I had read a lot about her.

Orbin stopped by to visit Jerry and Mattie Hall. He told me that he was going to, and he did as he said!

I did hear some very sad news. Gerald Evans who has played with several well known musicians and has a band called Gerald Evans & Paradise has cancer and is need of your prayers. Gerald is as nice a person as you would ever want to meet. He met Jerry while they were visiting us a few years ago. Those of you who would like to send him a card, his address is Gerald Evans, HC 70 Box 767, Sandy Hook, KY 41171. I know he would appreciate this small gesture of kindness. Gerald will be 50 years old.

Gwen Huff Farmer had a very pleasant weekend as she celebrated her 80th birthday Aug. 16. Her children had planned a get-together for her. They all showed up at her house arriving at different times. Her daughter Ruth from Florida was the only one of her children not able to come for this special occasion.

Gwen was really surprised by them doing this as they slipped in and she had no idea anyone was coming. Gwen said they had the largest cake for her. She said there were kids sleeping anyplace they could find and a great time was had by everyone. Gwen said she was overjoyed at having her family all together.

I wish I could have been there to see it, and to help her celebrate this special occasion.

Gwen has a dehydrator so she made dried beans for shucky beans, which she plans to have for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Willa Mae and Carl Boggs are doing all right. Carl won’t stay out of the heat as he is always out mowing the grass. Willa Mae is always into something or other. I really enjoying talking to her.

My daughter Anna and her husband Scott Nottingham spent a week at Lake Erie. We had some bad weather hit our area and their neighbors’ tree was hit by lightning. The tree came down on top of their van, lucky all it did was damage the luggage rack. The van was completely covered by the tree. All that saved it was the neighbors’ television cable. The neighbors couldn’t understand how they were receiving television signal. At least the children weren’t outside when this happened.

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Shelby Bockover and family in the loss of her husband Bob. Shelby and Bob were the first ones to come to Letcher County Day two years ago. They were there last year and Bob was looking forward to this year.

Belated happy birthday to Shelby Bockover on Aug. 18. Bob would have been 71 Aug. 31. They would have been married 49 years Sept. 5.

Belated happy anniversary wishes to Johnny and Ann Calihan who celebrated 62 years of marriage Aug. 16. Johnny took a very special trip with his friend Alford Hicks. They were flown to Washington, D.C. with a group of veterans. Johnny met up with two Army buddies that he served with. They hadn’t seen each other in 62 years.

Alford also got to meet a couple of guys he hadn’t seen in about the same amount of time. Johnny comes from a military family as his dad Lloyd Calihan was in service. Four of the Calihan boys including Johnny served our country, plus several of his relatives and in-laws.

I am so proud to call Johnny and Ann Calihan friends of mine; they are really my extended family. It has nothing to do that they share their garden with me. I can call them friends in the wintertime too.

Johnny has been there to help me different times when I didn’t want to ask anyone else. I know if I need him he is there. The same goes, if they need me all they have to do is ask!

My granddaughter Jodi Gray and her boyfriend Sam came to visit me. I fixed supper for them. They rode Sam’s motorcycle here. I tried to get Jodi to baby-sit with Bennie so I could run away with Sam! Just kidding! I am too scared to ride a motorcycle anymore.

I am only keeping my little sidekick Bennie Wiederhold one or two nights a week since my daughter Angie hasn’t been working very much. I miss Bennie yet I really do need the rest.

Betty and Bill Kelly’s daughter Missy slipped on her porch and got injured. Missy and her husband live in the Premium area now.

Betty’s sister Leavenna has been visiting with Betty and Bill.

I hope Angie Hall is improving. Angie is a faithful working for WMMT along with her brother Lil Willard and all the Hall family.

Hello to my brother Richie and Wanda Hall. I finally found a couple of gingerbread novelties that I had bought for Wanda then put them away and couldn’t find them.

Richie met up with an old friend from Blackey that he hadn’t seen in over 30 years.

Hello Jerry and Mattie Hall, my brother Wallace Lee and Georgia Hall, and my sister Loretta Church.

Enjoy your days and love your life because life is a journey to be savored.

Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email Bluegrassmama4 @aol.com, (513) 367-4682.


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