I can say happy Halloween and merry Christmas. Thanksgiving has been left out as stores have Halloween and Christmas decorations out.
The weather has turned really cold in this area, and I am so not ready for this. I wish I could afford to get away for a little while, then I probably wouldn’t want to come back, or I might want to come back before it got dark.
I heard on the television that several people were wanting it to snow as we had such a mild winter last year. I really do think a snow at Christmastime is so beautiful, however it can disappear as fast as it comes.
When my daughter Anna was young, my mother came to spend Christmas with us. Anna and I took her home to Jeremiah. When we got there the weather forecast was for snow. This was New Year’s Day. After driving all that way I turned the truck around and headed right back to Harrison as I wasn’t about to get stranded in the mountains.
I can remember back in the early ‘60s I got so homesick to see Mommy that it literally made me physically ill. Against my husband’s better judgment he decided to take me back to see the family.
I know lots of you remember when there wasn’t an interstate, no Mountain Parkway. Here I am with two small children, nothing but a child myself. I guess my husband had rather take a chance with the weather than dealing with me so we set out on our way to the mountains of eastern Kentucky. As we got farther, the worse it became.
I do not remember how far we were when Jack put chains on the tires, then we continued on our way until the police said the roads were closed so we turned around heading back in this direction.
When the children were small Mom wanted us to come home for Thanksgiving as we had never spent Thanksgiving with her. We had bought a brand new 1972 Pontiac station wagon.
On the way back it started to snow. It was so bad that my husband could barely see to drive. As we got out of the mountains drivers got crazy; cars would go past us then we would see the cars in a ditch.
I promised God if we could get the children home safely, I would never put them in a situation like that again as all I could see was all the glass surrounding the children in the back. That is a promise I kept and that was the last Thanksgiving or holiday that I traveled to the mountains.
I bet Junior ‘Crockett’ Kuracka remembers bringing Daddy and Mommy to our house one Thanksgiving. This had to be around 1970 or ‘71. That was the only time that my family ever came to our house for Thanksgiving. I fixed dinner for 21 people as several of my in-laws were at our house.
I didn’t have a formal dining room as I have never had fancy things such as china, crystal or silver. We had folding tables for food, folding chairs to sit on. Children sat in the floor, grownups sat wherever you could find space.
My in-laws brought covered dishes as I fixed the turkey and main course. Daddy and Mommy talked about that for many years.
We tried to get Junior to stay but he went on up in Ohio to stay with his sister.
I think Richie might have just gotten his driver’s license and he brought Mommy and Daddy to our house to spend Fourth of July. I decided to make homemade ice cream since I have a five-gallon ice cream maker. It is so hard to handcrank a small one much less this huge one. This was a hard chore to do.
Richie would laugh about that right up to the last few times we were together. He said he wanted to throw that blasted thing away. That is one year that everyone got a turn at helping.
Polly Maucher and I went on a short, sad trip together to Greendale, Ind., to say goodbye to our friend Carl Crase. I am so thankful that I called Carl to tell him of Letcher County Picnic and more thankful that he was able to attend.
Carl and his lovely wife Mary had been married 59 years. It was a pleasure getting to know this couple.
Carl will be missed by his family and friends. There’s a song that says to know me is to love me. Carl Crase was one of those people, at least it was with me. Since the first time I met Carl about 10 years ago, he was such a sincere, down-to-earth person. I started teasing him from the beginning. There was mutual friendship.
Carl would look at me with his warm smile and say, “Hillbilly, now you behave,” and I would laugh and say, “No way.”
For quite sometime I would take Carl outdated Mountain Eagle newspapers. Carl would later tell me how much he enjoyed reading them. On occasion he would get a complete paper as I would buy one while I was in the mountains. I have a bag full of outdated papers I was saving for Carl.
While Polly and I were at the funeral home I was with so many people from the mountains who knew my parents and grandparents.
Renavae Roark Day, who was married to Kelly Day, originally from Kingscreek Roxana area, was there along with two of her daughters. I had only met Renavae one other time at a much happier occasion as we attended Hayward and Vivian Day’s 50th anniversary party. Kelly Day was the only person that I ever heard of besides Gladys Hogg of Frostproof, Fla., who knew my grandpa Alec Hall.
Renevae was telling how Kelly always wore bib overalls until he went to a square dance at Nora Calihan’s. He wore his first pair of pants. I guess Kelly felt out of place and wished he had his bibs on. I bet my boots that my mother was at the square dance.
Renavae said she could hardly wait to get the Eagle each week. Her daughters said they never disturb her until she is finished reading it.
Here I am at a sad event and all these people around me knew my parents. Renavae’s brother Warren Roark worked with Daddy in the logwoods when Daddy worked for George Ison, who is Polly Maucher’s and Frick and Frack Ison’s dad.
Hayward Day and his daughter Kim were there. Kim hugged me so tight and told me she was so tired of going to funerals. Kim lost her mother Vivian and Hayward lost his lifetime partner not long ago, then Jewel Calihan and now Carl.
Johnny Calihan and his son Gary came while Polly and I were there. Johnny never seems to age.
I met Bruce and Glenna Fields, who are from Kingscreek. Bruce and Glenna recently went to the Roark reunion on Kingscreek. I think he is related to my psychic friend Larry Roark. When you see Larry have him explain that remark to you. Glenna knows Doyle and Betty Ison.
Fulton and Evadean Knight live not far from me. Eva is a cousin to Carl Crase. I have known Eva ever since I have lived here, which is 39 years. Until several years ago I didn’t know Eva was connected to everyone I knew from the mountains.
Eva and I were in the same bowling league for a few years then I cleaned for her. Polly’s sister Edna and her husband Elwood Sturgill used to live in the house that I live in now when she was first married. Edna used to buy produce from my husband and me 50 years ago. I cleaned house for Edna for quite some time too. Like I said, there’s a connection though I am not related to anyone.
I am always amazed how my life has come full circle, also how many lives I have touched by writing a column in the Eagle.
By the time this issue of the Eagle is published, Blackey Days will just be a memory. If all things go as planned, I will be telling what a great time it was. I am looking forward to seeing all the great bands at Blackey Days along with getting together with cousins again.
My friend Alphine Stacy and I will be leaving Cincinnati early Friday morning. Alphine has never been deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky as she is from Liberty, which is in Casey County. That is pretty much flat land with some rolling hills.
I haven’t talked to Gwen Huff Farmer or Shirley Wells so I hope they are doing alright.
Bonnie Ingram, thanks for the kind words about my brother Richie Hall. I thought my tears had disappeared but they must have been just hiding as I couldn’t see to read all your article.
I did get to talk to Betty Ison for a little while. I am worried about her as she isn’t feeling very well lately. Doyle is perking along pretty well.
Hello Glenora Eldridge. I hope you and your husband have been able to enjoy a little of this beautiful fall weather.
I have a lot to do and a short time to get it done. I promise next time my column will be more interesting.
Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, 513-367- 4682.