Whitesburg KY
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Letcher natives meet at Ohio Coon Hunters Club

Southern Ohio

Hello everyone! We have gotten a break from the bone-chilling freezing temperatures that have plagued this area and elsewhere.

I went to the Coon Hunters Club on the outskirts of Hamilton, and was very glad that I did. My friend Vickie Power was very tired and declined the offer to go. I was tired too, but not so tired that I was ready to stay home. I could feel the music pulling at my feet even though it was too far to hear.

You need to get to the Coon Hunters Club early to get a seat. I found a table with three women and asked if they would mind if I sat with them. Was I in for a surprise!

I introduced myself and a few minutes later I heard one lady make a comment about a young guy having ‘ants in his pants.’ I laughed and asked where she was from. She replied, “Kentucky,” so of course my inquiring mind wanted to know where, and she replied “Linefork, Kentucky,” so of course my next question was, “What is your name?”

She is Thelma Halcomb Brooks, who was there with her two lovely daughters Sharon and Lavonne Brooks and her grandson Benjamin Halcomb and his friend, Tom. I had met her grandson Ben awhile back, when I was at the Coon Hunters Club.

Thelma finally told me she had seen me at Clarence Halcomb’s 90th birthday party about a year ago and had written me a letter just after I started writing the column for The Mountain Eagle.

Thelma teased me about dancing pretty good for an old lady. I told her I rather dance than eat when I am hungry. Of course she said that was saying a lot, but I said I meant it. So she said what if it was soup beans and cornbread? By this time I was laughing, and I said I would pass up beans and cornbread to get to dance!

I went to Shandon Book Store to pick up 10 copies of my book, ‘The Beauty of A Rose.’ Even though it is a different color than the original one published in 1990, it is the same book. While I was at the store I sold a copy to a woman from Okeana. She bought it for her niece who is in college, and she had me sign it and write something.

As I picked my book up and started reading I wanted to call Willa Mae Boggs so bad. It was only seven in the morning, so I decided I better not. Miss Emma Engle, if you weren’t feeling puny I might have called you!

Grant Caudill, what do I have to say or do to convey to you that I do not mean to slight anyone in or around the Hot Spot/Premium area?

I mentioned before that I did not live at home with my parents, Clayton and Ora Hall, when they moved to Hot Spot, though I did go to visit Mom and Dad occasionally, and I did live with them for a short while. Everyone I knew was kind to me including you!

If you will recall, I was probably 14 years old before I met you, when you had the store and post office. I don’t have any emotional ties there as it was not my birthplace. All my brothers and my sister and I were born at Roxana, except for my Mom’s last baby, who was stillborn at home at Hot Spot.

That little place of Roxana will always be home in my heart, even though I have lived in the Harrison area for nigh on to 49 years. I have lived in my house for 36 years, but I refer to the mountains of eastern Kentucky as ‘home.’

So Grant, please never let it enter your mind that I have outgrown the roots of my raising. Had I been born at Hot Spot and knew the people like I did at Roxana, I would be writing about Hot Spot.

I often wonder about Eula Ison and her family. I loved this family, and in fact we are somehow related. I will say one thing, telephone lines and U. S. Mail go both north and south.

My tender years were influenced by my Mom of course, my grandmother Rosa Hall, Minnie Whitaker, who taught me to iron at the age of 10 years old and took me to church with her, Ora Burke, Alice Whitaker, Bernice Adams, Martha Whitaker, Mitchell, and as I got a little older I loved to be around Hessie Whitaker.

Blanche and Halley Hogg took me to Isom and bought me my first soft custard at the age of 10 or 11, after I mowed the biggest part of that big yard with a push roller lawn mower!

I talked to Polly Ann Ison Maucher about how long I was aware that she lived in New Trenton before I actually contacted her. Johnny and Calihan were connected to my family long before there were any plans for me to come into this world, but until my children were in school I had not been in contact with them.

Polly Maucher and her brothers, ‘Frick & Frack’ keep up with Big Blue Basketball. Polly was telling of a friend of hers who gets so depressed when Kentucky loses that he goes outside and lowers the flag to half mast.

I know nothing about sports, as I don’t watch it, but I do love Nascar Racing.

I am pleased to report Gwen Huff Farmer had her knee surgery and is improving every day. Gwen is still in for a rough ride I am sure, with physical therapy. You can’t keep this strong hillbilly woman down though. Gwen is a small woman.

I am enclosing Gwen’s address with her permission, so you can send her a card: Gwen Farmer, RR 1 Box 16, Herod, Ill. 62947.

It seems the web site called Facebook has some surprises for me. I received the following information from a special guy from the mountains, who a good singer and songwriter, Larry Roark.

“Here’s some items you might use in your column sometimes. If you are a ‘Hillbilly,’ then you know about these things: corn silks, mountain tea, rabbit tobacco, mint leaves on a creek bank, slingshots, paw-paw whistles, wooden sleds, a click wheel, scooter boards on sage grass hills, stir-off s, applebutter making, and hominy making.”

Larry says he is glad he grew up in the mountains, and that I can relate to. I can also say that I am glad I met this man named Larry Roark! Even with him being physic!

Not only did I get to correspond with Larry Roark, I found Daisy Manning, who is originally from Ingrams Creek. Daisy now lives in Lebannon, Mo., and her aunt Josie and I used to communicate via the computer.

In fact, by fooling with Facebook I have been in touch with several from the mountains.

My brother Richie Hall is still having lots of pain with his ankle since he broke it.

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law Wanda Hall on Feb. 5. Happy birthday to Destiny Jones, who will be three or four years old. Destiny rules the roost at her grandparents’ (Rick and Barb Jones’s) house.

My little sidekick Bennie Wiederhold is the boss around here. Bennie still won’t eat much and is very thin. Of course he is never still long enough to gain any weight!

Willamae and Carl Boggs are doing a little better. They finally got the water thawed out at their place, and they found out the true meaning of ‘you never miss your water until the well runs dry!’ Except in their case, it froze!

Jessie Frazier, I enjoyed the article written in the Lexington-Herald in 2007 about Hot Spot. It had a picture of you, Grant Caudill and another guy in it. Somehow I have saved it among other things.

Shirley Wells and I talked briefly. Shirley will be glad when spring gets here and she can get out and about.

Hello to my brother Jerry, and Mattie Hall.

Emma Engle, I hope you and Red are doing better by now.

I came home to find my son Keith Ballard had done dishes for me. He emptied my skillet in which I had fresh bacon grease that I intended to use, plus he did his laundry, washed his curtains and dried them when they didn’t need it. I am just glad he is doing so much better. Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and concern for Keith!

Hello to Sadie Hayes, Evelyn and Bertha in Taylor, Mich. I hope everyone is okay your way.

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


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