Whitesburg KY
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Helicopters, tanks honor veterans on July 4

Southern Ohio

Hello everyone!

As dawn breaks and it is the beginning of a new day, the beautiful hillside across the hayfield is framed by the skylight. Again I take time to say thank you, God, for waking me up to see a brand new day, and for giving me the vision to see the beauty that surrounds me.

Can you believe July 4 is once more just a memory? I hope each and every one had a wonderful time with friends and family. At least we have regained some sense of normalcy in our lives, fewer masks, and families get together.

As written before, this is one holiday in which I don’t feel any pleasure, as July 4 Dad took his final voyage. Johnny Calihan’s dad Lloyd Calihan passed away on this date.

No matter how many years slip by, I still find it ironic that Johnny knew my great-grandmother Nance “Ma Coots”, and my parents, Clayton and Ora Hall, as my mom would go square dancing at Johnny’s parents’ on Paces Branch. In fact that is where Daddy and Mommy met.

Down through the years we end up in Harrison, Ohio, about a mile apart. Johnny and Ann both mean more to me than words can ever express.

This sure has been an unusual week in this little section of this area. Saturday my son Keith Ballard decided to do replace the gutters as the fascial boards had deteriorated. I had grown used to the noise of hammering, then all of a sudden I heard a loud sound. I wondered what the heck was he doing.

I actually thought he had plugged his air compressor or something up, as who knows what he will do. As I walked outside Keith’s truck wasn’t in the parking place, as he had left without saying anything.

I walked around the house to see what the heck the commotion was. To my surprise a military helicopter was descending to the ground in the grass next to the VFW Post, which is next to my house.

I let everything go that I should have been doing, as I was as excited as a kid, wondering what the heck was going on.

Yes, inquiring minds want to know. I called to find out what was going on. VFW Post 7570 held the first Vet’s day, to honor our veterans, by having several military vehicles that have been used, such as the helicopter, a couple of small tanks which were on a flat bed, and a couple of Army Jeeps.

A program was held for the veterans who were attending, honoring each one.

I was very sick, so I didn’t have the energy to go over. I could hear, what was going on. I couldn’t see as the trees blocked my view, which means I can’t be seen from there either.

There was music and food was available. As I said, I didn’t go and that I regret as I could have driven my car.

I finally came into the computer, and checked the VFW website. It described the event that was taking place. I sure wish I had known about the event.

Then all of a sudden the sound of shrill sirens filled the air. I could hear them as they were getting closer. Finally an EMT vehicle and fire truck came screaming past my house. In a few seconds they went back in the direction from which they came, then in a heartbeat the ambulance, and a Hamilton County police car were in the lane next to my house.

There’s a gate across the drive is locked to keep traffic from entering, so I was asked if I had a key. Of course I didn’t but Keith was on his way home. In fact he got here just as they were getting ready to cut the locks. No one said what was going on, and no one lives back the lane.

Then all heck broke loose as there were numerous fire trucks and EMT units filling the VFW parking lot. I finally saw someone walking close to my house. I inquired as what was going on. There was a report of a drowning in the river back down the lane from my house, and a woman had drowned.

There’s no one that lives back there. So help me it never occurred to me that there are kayaks on the river all the time.

The water was high and muddy. In dismay later I found out the kayak a 60-year-old woman was using had flipped over. Several tried to save her. Yes, she was wearing a life jacket. At least someone was close enough to try to help her until the paramedics got to her, and was able to keep her body from being swept away.

As I sat on the back deck, the EMT units began making their return. As they passed the house I didn’t realize the first ambulance was carrying her body.

When the park ranger came out, I asked what was going on. That is when I found out what happened. Needless to say this upset me so bad that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the day.

This isn’t the first tragedy that has happened back the lane over the years as there have been a couple of suicides, a woman who burned to death in a trailer fire, and a natural cause of death. However this is the first time a tragedy has been this up close and personal. I hope nothing like this ever happens this close again.

Sunday, Keith decided he would like to have a cookout, so I made potato salad and deviled eggs. I cheated and opened a can of baked beans. Keith grilled hamburgers that were loaded with green peppers and onions. Keith also placed corn on the grill, and this is the first time in years that I bought a watermelon. Knowing watermelon would hurt me, I had to have a piece. I must say it didn’t have a very good taste ,although it looked delicious.

Childhood memories do slip in as Daddy always tried to get a watermelon and a gallon of vanilla ice cream each year on July 4. I continued that for many years. The same way making snow cream. As old as I am I feel I have to make snow cream when I see the first new fallen snow.

Now who thinks of snow in the hot summertime weather we are having? At least it isn’t as bad as other states are having it.

My two granddaughters Jessica and Katelyn Nottingham are sure having a good time touring Greece with the Latin club. I must admit, it is wonderful to be that young and travel the places Jessie, Katie and Sarah have been. However I never had the desire to go any farther than I have been. I would like to go back to Florida before my daughter Kay Gray closes on the sale of her home in Destin.

My heart aches every time I turn the television on with the tragedy that hit Surfside, Florida with the building collapsing and all the deaths. I don’t know if I want to go anywhere anymore, except to the mountains of eastern Kentucky that will always be home in my heart.

For the remarks made about Mike Watts not doing anything about the license situation, having to go to Prestonsburg for one thing, in my opinion that is a bunch of bull crap, having to drive that far. However Mike Watts did everything in his power to stop this. Blame it on the higher ups in government you voted into office. Oh now tell me what a great person Mitch McConnell is.

Mike Watts wrote an article months ago, trying to stop this. People in Letcher County, please be glad you have someone like Mike Watts.

Oh please, don’t waste your time sending me a message saying don’t mix politics in my column.

Hello to Jim Adams and his wife who live in Isom. Jim’s wife reads my column. Jim has gastroparesis, which I sure can relate to. Please just hang in there as you will have good and bad days, Jim. It was great corresponding with you. When I am back in the area I would love to meet you and your wife.

My niece Sue Hall is still recovering from her badly burned feet and legs. This will take some time to heal.

Johnny and Ann Calihan are still in need of prayers and please keep their daughters Sue Wagner and Carol Dieckman in your prayers also.

Sunday, Johnny and Ann were able to go to church. Thanks for Sue Wagner being able to take them.

Hello to Buddy and Bernice Grubb, and a big hug goes to their grandson Mike.

Hello Mike and Marcia Caudill. Is it August yet? The first Carcassonne Community square dance will be held in August.

Hello Pat and Les Wagner and the whole family. I hope everyone is doing alright.

Well, time has caught up with me.

Until next time.

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