Hello again, everyone!
Oh my, can you believe this weather? I don’t care if the groundhog did see its shadow predicting six more weeks of winter, which I think it is about the dumbest thing I have heard, as this is one winter so far I really won’t complain about.
I met with three women who are close friends, with whom I have become friends on Facebook. Barbara Robinson Campbell lives not far from me, Terry Sylvia in Manchester, Ind. and Daphne Bradley in Brookville, Ind.
We met at Subway in Bright, Ind., which is just a hop and jump from me except I didn’t know where this Subway was.
Barb and Terry are great photographers. Terry is an artist and enjoys painting. Daphne loves sewing and you know I love to write, so we make up an unusual group. It was so much fun getting together with this bunch of girls. I hope it is a beginning of a long friendship as it has been some time since I have been out for lunch.
This past weekend has been one I won’t forget in a long time! Friday morning I drove to Englewood, which is on the outskirts of Dayton, to my friend Norma Ashcraft’s.
Just as I got a few streets from where Norma lives I was trying to see the street signs since it was still dark and the oncoming car lights were blinding, plus the street lights, so I passed the street up. As I made a left turn to get where I could call Norma, a policeman pulled in behind me.
The officer said he couldn’t determine if I was drunk or lost. I told him I was lost, but if I didn’t find where I was going I might get drunk. He told me I was about three streets past where I needed to go.
We were to meet Art and Joann Peters at Norma’s, then we were on an adventure to Nashville, Tenn.. for a bluegrass event called
SPIGMA is the place that bluegrass artists get the recognition they deserve and is held in the Sheraton Music Hotel.
Although Norma and I didn’t see the main attractions, SPIGMA would be the place for anyone that is a musician as there were hundreds of good musicians picking in the lobby, hallways, any alcoves and rooms of the hotel also, and to put it bluntly, every nook and cranny that was available. It was absolutely awesome! Southern Ohio
Norma has been active in bluegrass music for many years and knows several celebrities on a personal basis such as Ralph Stanley and all his family.
As we arrived at the Sheraton Music Hotel I was very surprised to see so many from the Coon Hunter’s Club. There was a young banjo picker that danced while he was playing the banjo. Evan Lanier who has the band Evan Lanier & The Bluegrass Express along with his grandfather Noel Bowling was there. Evan has finally reached the age of 14. This young man is an amazing musician.
Sammy Adkins joined in with a local group from the Coon Hunters Club and some beautiful music and singing was enjoyed.
Clarence Kelly and others had a suite with food and drinks. Norma and I stayed for a short time as there was so much going on everywhere you couldn’t stay very long if you wanted to see what was going on everywhere else.
One of my all time favorite groups, Larry Efaw and Bluegrass Mountaineers, didn’t get there until Saturday afternoon along with one of the best DJs I have ever listened to, Alex Leach of WDVX of Knoxville, Tenn.
Saturday was a repeat of Friday night except the crowd got larger.
Sunday we stopped for awhile, but there wasn’t much picking as it was early, and then we were on our way back to Dayton.
James King was standing in the hallway and Norma stopped to talk to him. I got a hug and had my picture taken with him. I met James King in 1994 when I was a DJ at a local radio station in Cincinnati.
As much as I loved the music and seeing everyone, there was something else happened unexpectedly that was the highlight of this trip for me.
Friday as we got to the outskirts of Nashville it dawned on me that Shirley Wells, whom I haven’t seen in over 50 years, lives in Clarksville, which is about a 50-mile distance.
I called Shirley Wells and thank God she answered. Shirley doesn’t drive very far any more, so she asked me to call back at 6 p.m. and talk to her daughter Loretta, which I did at the precise time.
Oh I was so thrilled when Loretta said she would bring Shirley to meet me Saturday.
I could write a book on the joy I felt to be able to see Shirley. I think we were about 15 and 16 or younger the last time we saw each other.
Shirley got to meet Clarence Kelly, and she loves his songs. We didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would have liked since Art and Joann were taking Norma and me sightseeing.
After a couple of short hours Shirley and I said our farewells, and since I had cried when I first saw Shirley I didn’t want to shed more tears. I had much rather have spent time with Shirley than go see anyone or do anything, but I felt like I needed to go.
Shirley’s daughter is so beautiful and has such a wonderful personality. Actually she could be my daughter in that perspective more than Shirley’s, as Shirley is a tad bit quieter than me
Art took us on a tour of downtown Nashville. I saw the Ryman, and Art drove down Music Row where Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop is, along with Tootsie’s, which is famous for big name musicians to go, I have been told.
There are some of the most exquisite buildings in Nashville along with churches. I actually felt like I was living in a fairy tale and I was a little orphan girl suddenly turned into a princess.
Friday night as it was getting bedtime, Joan said, “Now ladies, get your giggles and talking over with, I am going to sleep.”
That was a wrong thing to say, as I got so tickled. I could just hear Daddy saying, “Shut that light out and go to sleep.”
I actually pressed the cover against my mouth to keep from giggling.
I have known Art and Joann for years just casually, and I really never will forget how gracious they were. They invited me to stay with them in their motor home in October at a bluegrass festival.
I will share you one episode while in Sheraton Music Hotel that will make you laugh. Norma got a sub sandwich, and we sat down in a place for her to eat, or so we thought.
Then here comes a very smiling waitress saying we can’t sit there, so she told us where we could go.
Just as Norma sat down and started to unwrap her sandwich, along comes a man and says, “You can’t sit there.” He directed us to a back room with tables and chairs.
All at once Norma says, “Rose this is getting on my last nerve, you can’t sit here, you can’t sit there.”
Afterward I said I wanted to stop by a restroom before we went back to the music.
Norma said, “ Well I wonder if someone will say you can’t sit there!”
Who says older women can’t have fun?
I will always be grateful I had this unexpected weekend. I am sure you may get tired of reading about it so I have just tipped the highlights.
I am sorry this is one time I can’t say how anyone is doing, though I hope the Callahans are dong well. Gwen Huff Farmer, I will check on you sometime soon.
Shirley Wells, I don’t have to say one thing as you know how much I enjoyed our visit. Thank you, Loretta, once again.
Though Art and Joann Peters will not see this column, thank you very much, and, Norma, I hope your pants dried out as you decided to punch a hole in the cup with that straw.
Hello to my sister Loretta Church and to my brother Jerry and Mattie Hall.
My brother Richie Hall is still improving. Richie did go to Johnson City for a test, and he won’t know the results for a little while. Wanda is still working, and I did get to speak to her for a few minutes.
Oma Hatton, did your ears burn Saturday afternoon? Shirley Wells sends her love to you and so do I!
So for now I will get this on its way.
Emma Engle, I hope you and Red are perking at top notch speed.
Until next time: Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030 email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com., telephone, 513-367-4682.