Whitesburg KY
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Jean Ison celebrates her 81st birthday

Southern Ohio


Are you having a good day? So far I am, however it is only four o’clock in the morning. Give me a few more minutes and I am sure something might mess it up for me!

I stopped to check on my daughter Angie and my little sidekick Bennie Wiederhold. Little Bennie thought he was coming home with me. He got to the door and looked up and asked, ‘Are you ready to roll?’

My friend Vickie Power and I finally had a night out. We ventured to the Coon Hunters Club on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ohio. I really needed this night out as a group of us danced all the fast ones.

Vickie and I went to Flatland Bluegrass Barn. The featured band was Common Ground. We were joined by Polly Ann Maucher. Polly and I were very surprised and needless to say pleased as we listened to a song called ‘They’re Tearing Pine Mountain Down’! The song mentions Letcher County.

I had met the guys of Common Ground at Versailles Bluegrass Festival last year; it is a very good band. Ronnie Deaton is from the Buckhorn area.

Flatland Bluegrass Barn is such a nice place to go Sunday afternoons from 2- 5 p.m. It is located on Barkley Road just a short ways from Bath, Ind., which is a hop and a jump from West College Corner, Indiana and Oxford.

Belated happy birthday to Polly’s sister Jean Ison who was 81 years old.

Gwen Huff Farmer sent me some fall scenes of her yard. I wish I could be there to share that with her. She finally got to go her church with her grandson, which she enjoys very much. Each Sunday she listens to her church services on the computer.

I met Vickie at Harry T. Wilks Conference Center in Hamilton. They have been showing films on Appalachia. This time there was a famous person there, Ron Eller was the guest speaker. Mr. Eller is a Hallam Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and a consultant on Appalachia. Ron has spent more than 40 years writing and teaching about the Appalachian region. He helped Diane Sawyer with the documentary about Appalachian children.

He had a few minutes of discussion which consisted of pictures of West Virginia where he is from, and then photos of the mines in Lynch, and the devastation of mountaintop removal! He also promoted his latest book, “Uneven Ground.”

After the presentation Mr. Eller asked for people’s opinions. Ready or not, he got one from me! I mentioned the Diane Sawyer film, and that I believe she picked out certain ones to make it look bad on the people of the mountains. I said I know there’s need for dental work among the mountain people, but it is not all caused by drinking Mountain Dew!

I, for instance, had never seen a dentist until I left the mountains. I’ve had dentures since in my early 20s, but my grandmother Rosa Hall died at the age of 97 and had her natural teeth.

Mr. Eller shared a short story with the audience about some lady telling him that he had beautiful teeth. That was too tempting a comment for me to let slip by, so I asked him if he took them out to show them to her. That caused a good laugh.

I really can’t understand why there are not more films done on the people who have succeeded in their lives, whether they stayed in the mountains they loved so much or took the choice to leave. It is always negative things.

Mr. Eller also made the statement that a teacher of his told him he would have to change his way of talking if he wanted to make something of himself. I recall not so long ago someone saying something about that. I don’t think anyone should be told they have to change their way of speaking!

There was mention of the books by Harry Caudill. Someone asked me if I knew him. I said that it was pronounced differently back home. I did not know Mr. Caudill personally, but I had seen him, and no, I have never read a single book of his.

Willamae Boggs is reading the book that I published in 1990 called ‘The Beauty of A Rose.’ It was hard for Willamae to believe that I wrote all the things in the book.

Willamae told me that Carl is reading my book, and as I have mentioned several times before I really envy these two special people for their profession as teachers. I am glad they have touched my life.

Hello to Willamae’s brother-in-law Jesse Frazier. It was nice meeting you!

I haven’t talked to Ann nor Johnny Calihan. I hope all their family is OK. Belated happy birthday wishes to Ann who had a birthday Oct. 7, although I don’t think there was any celebrating at the time as her family has been ill.

Janey Calihan Whitaker sends a big hug to her uncle Johnny and Ann.

Janey and her sister Lesa Turner send a shout out to their mom Genita Calihan who lives in Paradise Valley (Paices Branch). My brother Richie Hall had a brief conversation with Genita Calihan. I am glad all is well in her little corner of the world.

Richie still isn’t feeling very well, but Wanda doesn’t ever slow down. I wish she would send me her energy.

Hello to my sister Loretta Church, and to my brother Wallace Lee Hall and his wife Georgia.

A big hello to my brother Jerry Hall and Mattie, and all their friends who read my column in The Mountain Eagle.

Congratulations to a young lad who picks the banjo and made his first CD. Jack is the grandson of our uncle Boyd Barton. Thank you very much, Lee Sexton, for seeing so much in young Jack.

I haven’t seen Jack’s mother Beverly or her family since they were children. It pleases me very much that I heard of this young child being so talented. I enjoyed talking to Beverly on the phone very much, and hearing about her family. I am so sorry that so many years have gone by and I haven’t kept in touch with Bev and her siblings. The same goes with my uncle Ted Adams’s children.

Shirley Wells is trying to stay ahead of the flu bug since she has some health problems. I was hoping I would get to see Shirley and Gwen this summer.

It’s too late for care packages to be delivered from gardens. I may have to go raid Gwen Huff Farmer’s deep freeze.

Hello to Betty and Doyle Ison and to Betty’s sister Bessie Shepherd.

My daughter Anna Nottingham gave me a new tip about putting pillowcases on pillows. Anna folds her pillowcases wrong side out. She told me it is much easier to flip the pillowcase to the right way while inserting the pillow inside.

Anna is going to fire me as her mother as I haven’t spent much time with the girls, Sarah, Jessica and Katelyn.

My grandson C.J. Gray and his wife Shannon have sold their beautiful home. They have decided to move to Sarasota, Fla. C.J. and Shannon are both young, in the their late 20s, with no children.

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


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