Whitesburg KY

In Blizzard of 1978 Ohio River froze solid

Southern Ohio

Howdy everyone, I sure hope you still have those long handle underwear handy, as you sure need something for the past few days in this part of the Ohio Valley area where I call home.

It is a good thing that my son Keith Ballard is limited on thermal underwear as he wears them every day as he works construction, or I might have to borrow a pair.

Keith has done this kind of work many years so he is very proficient in knowing how to keep warm, then he has coveralls plus rain gear, and tries to always buy waterproof boots.

I think of the homeless who are out in this cold all the time. I know I could never survive a few hours much less years.

Who remembers the Blizzard of 1978? The Ohio River froze solid and people were walking across the Ohio River. I wouldn’t have walked across the river if it stayed solid for a year.

We bought our house in 1973, and there was a Sears coal furnace in the basement along with a gas furnace, which we used at first. Then the gas furnace went down and we switched to the wood and coal furnace. During and after a lengthy divorce I used a wheelbarrow to push coal from the back of the yard, filled the coal bin, placed a board that was between, then put wood in the wheelbarrow.

I placed it on the windowsill, then when that was used up I had to do it all over again. In order to clean the ashes out of the furnace I had to climb on a ladder and place the ashes out the window. One cold winter day, the ashes blew right back in my face and hair.

No one but God above and I know what I went through, as I wouldn’t ask for help. Keith finally realized my situation and wanted to help me. I didn’t want to give him my house key, so one extra cold evening while I was working, he came and pushed the basement window out and filled my wood and coal bin.

Keith replaced the basement window then went through the house locking the door. When I arrived home my house was so warm, I could smell the furnace pipes it was so hot. Keith didn’t realize you couldn’t fill the furnace to the brim.

In 1996 I had emergency surgery so I couldn’t lift anymore, and I had a gas furnace installed.

Sunday, Vickie Power and I took another adventure to Urban Appalachian event, which was held at The Sanctuary, a church that has been turned into a place for different events. It is a beautiful old church with stained glass windows and the floor is amazing.

There were several different groups scheduled to perform, along with a potluck dinner. As I have said before, you get a bunch of people who have any mountain ties at all you will find food galore.

This event was no exception. As I walked through the line with Vickie there were several long tables with fried chicken in by the boxes, pans, etc., and everything from a huge pot of soup beans, different types of cornbread, and a bowl of greens, with about a hundred more dishes of all kinds of delicious food.

No, I didn’t even taste of anything. There’s only one problem. The room was so large it was uncomfortable for Vickie and me, as we were very cold.

I wanted to see Jericho Old Time Band with Dale Farmer, Amy Coogan Clay, Warren and Judy Waldron, which were featured way down the list or we would have left an hour after we arrived.

Dale Farmer produced the movie “Mountain Minor”, and Warren and Judy Waldron along with Amy Coogan Clay are actors in the movie. They play the kind of music that I am addicted to, and are friends of mine.

I have tried with no success to get “Mountain Minor” to be shown at Appalshop in Whitesburg. At every venue the “Mountain Minor” movie has been shown there has been a sold-out crowd.

Patsy Adams, would you please give me a call if you are reading this column?

This past weekend was sort of difficult for me, as I planned on a trip to the mountains I call home as a benefit for Kenny and Wanda Whitehead was at Blackey Community Center. I was informed that it was a huge success. Of course I would have been at Campbell’s Branch Community Center for Friday night, as Kentucky Friends of Bluegrass was scheduled, another great band I love.

The weather here locally was too unpredictable for me to plan anything, as we had rain all day and night, along with snow mixed with the rain, and some icy roads. Saturday had a lot of snow showers, and Sunday was cold but dry.

Campbell’s Branch Community Center has lost three wonderful people in the past week or so, Wanda Whitehead, then the Campbell family lost their dad Frank “Nub” Campbell, then another faithful person, Bethel Church.

Bethel knew Oma Hatton many years ago. Bethel had a favorite place to sit, at the end of the table so he could view the band, which just happens to be next to the dance floor. I asked if I could sit across from him, and Bethel and his friend were kind enough to share their spot with me.

From that time on that is where you would find me sitting when I attended. It will not be the same when I return to the center without Wanda and Bethel.

Jack Adams is recuperating from his bout with AFIB. He is on medication to keep his heart in rhythm.

Saturday, Sunrise Ridge Band was very excited to perform at Carter Fold in Virginia. There was a great response to Sunrise Ridge, and they are asked to return again. My heart longed to be there, and if it is warm weather I may just head to the mountains and find my way to the Carter Fold venue.

My ankle still hasn’t completely healed, and I am beginning to wonder if it will ever be. My wrist is still giving me problems, as I can’t lift without dropping things and it looks abnormal.

I really try to keep an upbeat attitude as I have so often said, so many others are worse than me, but it is very difficult at times with my other health issues, like not being able to digest food because a doctor damaged the nerves in my stomach.

As Vickie enjoyed her food, I tried to enjoy the music while everyone ate the delicious food. I had a cup of tea, while everyone else ate. Oh well, that is my everyday life, as I still manage to get in my car and go.

Johnny and Ann Calihan enjoyed a visit from their daughter Carol Dieckman. Carol, along with Johnny and Ann, went to visit Hayward Day. A good time was enjoyed.

Hayward’s daughter Kim was there too. Hello to Les and Pat Wagner. Somehow it seems we have lost touch as I haven’t heard from them, and I have neglected to call.

Well folks, it is time I get this on its way, so until next time.

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