As I begin to write this column, we are expecting our first taste of winter weather. There’s a snowstorm that is heading across several states, and the Ohio Valley area is right dab in the center.
There are several counties that are under a winter advisory this morning, so I hope everyone has hoarded enough toilet paper to last for the next year or so. Please let me know what kind of soup or casseroles are being made with toilet paper.
It sort of makes me laugh as all the news media are telecasting, as if this is the first time they’ve ever heard the word snow or bad weather. At least they are slowing down on the election, which is never going away. I consider we are lucky, as December is staring us right in the face so what is the big hoopla over the first snow?
Thanksgiving was a difficult day for me. I awoke in the wee hours of the morning with another issue with this thing called gastroparesis. For those who have never experienced this health issue, do some research. You will find it is horrific to deal with. You can feel good, then a few minutes later you wouldn’t care if you were taking your last breath because you are so sick.
I did manage to get the turkey and dressing in the oven, and over a period of time, I made the rest of the dinner. My granddaughter Jennifer Gray, and my 13-year-old great grandson T.J. stopped by to deliver sweet potato casserole that my daughter Kay Gray had prepared for my son Keith Ballard. Jennifer and T.J. ate while they were here, as I had just removed the turkey and dressing from the oven.
Kay had Thanksgiving dinner early as Clarence and Kay decided to spend Thanksgiving at their home in Destin, Fla.
Keith had something to attend to, so when he finally got home, everything was ready, and all he had to do was reheat it. By that time, I was curled up in my recliner with the electric blanket.
This is the first time I can ever remember staying in my pj’s all day on a holiday.
How was your Thanksgiving? Here is hoping everyone really had a great time, as I know if guidelines were followed it wasn’t as spectacular as other Thanksgiving family gatherings.
I really strive to understand everything that has transpired for the past nine months with this coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, or whatever else it has and is being called. I don’t understand the need of separation and family not being able to see loved ones that are confined in a hospital and especially in a nursing home.
Oh, I know there’s good caring, trained people in charge, however there’s still a need for families to visit without notice, especially if a patient has dementia or Alzheimer’s who can’t distinguish how they are being treated.
Now I will get on with more of a light mood to begin this column.
How many have already got your Christmas decorations up, along with your tree? Are you finished with your Christmas shopping?
It is in the wee hours of the morning, I am thinking how good chicken and some fluffy dumplings would taste at this present time. I may heat a cup of chicken broth to see if that will take away the longing. After all, it is only five in the morning.
Several years ago, I attended the Calihan reunion at Kingscreek Fire Department. As usual when a bunch from the mountains get together, there’s enough food for Cox’s Army! My little “extra mountain Mama” Alma Whitaker brought chicken and dumplings. Oh they were so appealing for everyone to see, the dumplings were yellow in color.
The only time I recall dumplings being that yellow, was when Mommy used to raise chickens and killed a big fattening hen for chicken and dumplings. I knew they wasn’t like that in the grocery stores.
My husband and I used to visit Alma when we were in the mountains. One time during our visit, I asked Alma how she made her chicken and dumplings so yellow.
Alma replied, “Why, honey, I use a little yellow food coloring.” I can still hear this wonderful woman laughing.
Our last visit to Alma, she gave us a quart of her green beans. I kept them for a long time after she passed away.
Once again thoughts are going backwards on me.
I met Clarence and Arlyn Halcomb through writing my column in The Mountain Eagle. For years Clarence and Arlyn held an event called Open House at Christmas. We got an invitation to attend this event, but we were hesitant to attend as I was leery about going. After all, I didn’t know these people.
Their house wasn’t a huge mansion of a place, just an ordinary house, however when you walked through the door you were greeted by such warmth and a beautiful home decorated for Christmas.
I had a surprise in store for me, as I met Mary Whitaker Halcomb, a daughter of my little “mountain Mama” Alma Whitaker. I remember Mary and her siblings when I was growing up at Roxana.
This Open House led to a close friendship between Clarence and Arlyn Halcomb and my husband and me, and long after my husband and I divorced, I would visit Clarence and Arlyn, and right before they both passed away, they attended Letcher County picnic.
Their son Scott Halcomb would continue bringing Clarence. Everyone enjoyed listening to Clarence and seeing the things that Clarence had made. After Clarence got so he couldn’t see to read, Scott would read my column to his dad.
Someone gave me a recipe for a stack cake. I wish I knew exactly where I put the recipe. I believe the woman’s name was Delores; I hope I am not mistaken. If anyone has the recipe, would you please share it with me?
Thinking back in time spent with Clarence and Arlyn Halcomb, who had beautiful peach trees in their backyard. Clarence shared the peaches with family and friends. While they were away from home for a few days, someone decided to be greedy. They went to the Halcombs’ yard and picked every peach on a tree that was loaded. When Clarence returned home to see what had transpired, he got his saw and cut every peach tree down
Each time I would stop for a visit, Arlyn would pick me a bouquet of flowers from her yard, then Clarence would make sure I had several things from their garden.
I have been really blessed to meet so many people through the years of writing for The Mountain Eagle.
As I glance out the window, the yard is so pretty. I finally purchased several solar lights that change colors. A few are shaped like a large Christmas bulb. It is going to stay in the yard.
I finally tackled getting my Christmas tree from the basement. It was a struggle getting it up and branches straightened out, which was an event in itself. The tree is about 25 years old, which means I am that much older. My skin has become transparent, and I didn’t realize I was bleeding until I looked down at my left hand, which was covered with blood. I put a Band-Aid on, and a few seconds later as I pushed my sleeve up, I discovered my right arm was also covered with blood.
As if that weren’t enough, three strands of my lights won’t work, so whether I want to or not, I am going to venture out to get more lights.
I may throw this tree in the garbage and get a new one next year. Who knows? I may not take it down, if 2021 is like 2020. I really don’t see there’s going to be any change.
I’ve always enjoyed Hallmark movies this time of year. Hallmark and Lifetime have changed to showing disgusting movies. As you get interested in what you think is a good movie, then you see it is something that makes you sick at your stomach.
I am going to learn how to use my VCR so I can watch my VHS tapes and the Christmas DVD’s and of course the Mountain Minor movie. Don’t forget to check out Mountain Minor website, this would make a great Christmas Gift, or watch Amazon Prime.
Hello to Les and Pat Wagner. I finally talked to Pat for a short time. They had a quiet Thanksgiving with just the two of them.
Mike and Marcia Caudill, it was so good to hear from you two, hearing they had a good meal, including shucky beans. Of course that made my mouth drool. During our conversation Mike and Marcia were enjoying the fire in the pit. At least Marcia was courteous enough that she wasn’t having marshmallows.
Buddy and Bernice Grubb, I know you had a great Thanksgiving. Hello to your grandson as I know he is reading my column.
A belated happy birthday to Kim Day November 25. Kim shares her birthday with a twin brother, Tim Day.
Please keep the Calihan family in your prayers as they struggle through a difficult time.
Please be safe with this coronavirus spiking. Oh, I know there are some that think this is nothing, or maybe just like the flu, however I bet if you ask someone that has lost a loved one, or who has been weeks in a hospital they will tell you different.
Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair, to watch someone you love go through trying times. I feel so helpless.
I have a lot to do before the storm hits, if it does hit this area.
Until next time.
Rose Ballard 9110 Lawrenceburg Road Harrison, OH 45030 email Bluegrassmama4@aol.com