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Ohio residents visit Letcher County



Hello everyone!

As I start this column it is a clear crisp morning in the Harrison area. I think I would feel refreshed if it was 0 degrees. I have so much I want to say that you may see a ‘continued until next week.’

Polly Maucher and I headed for the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Roxana and Kingscreek that we both call home. After a few pit stops we crossed the bridge at Roxana. I told Polly she had given me the best birthday present that I could get.

As I looked up towards the woods above Lee Gentry’s mobile home, I told Polly that 66 years ago I was born somewhere in those woods. I had to choke back tears and couldn’t really tell her some things that I would have liked to have said, like my dad losing his dad just a few hours before his first baby was born. I started creating trouble from the time I was born!

My brother Richie Hall met us at Polly brother’s Michael Ison, the ‘Frick’ of ‘Frick & Frack.’ I did get a hug from Michael but didn’t have time to hold his hand!

After unloading things into Richie’s car, we went to Nora Frazier’s Cemetery to decorate the graves, Richie drove to the cemetery on Big Branch and from there to Richie and Wanda’s home.

I could tell Richie wasn’t feeling well but he insisted on taking me so I could listen to music as he knew I had talked to William Caudill of Route 7, Jon Caudill and Libby Day Smith of 7 South.

Will and Libby were playing in two different places. We decided maybe I could hit both as Richie could go to his daughter Tina’s and rest while I was at Hemphill Community Center. As I started to walk toward the door, a car pulled up and when the couple got out of their car I asked if I could walk in with them. It was Homer Kiser and Frances ‘Ladybug’ Johnson. I sat with them and nothing pleased me more as they danced.

I recognized Will Caudill’s wife Mary by her picture on the computer. I introduced myself after teasing her. Mary is such a sweet person. Will and the band were practicing a little before the show so Mary dragged him away to meet me. I am very pleased to have met both of them!

Will has an older sounding voice. I wish him a very successful career. I can truthfully tell Mary that I hope Will has a good job because there’s not much money to be made in the bluegrass music business. I speak from experience on that subject!

I was in for another treat. I kept watching for Wanda Watts Whitehead, who came in and sat close to where I was sitting. It was a pure delight to talk to Wanda. Richie knew Wanda’s dad Green Watts and remembered her sister Juanita Hensley. He didn’t remember the other siblings as there was quite a space in their ages.

The surprises didn’t stop there as Astor Taylor and his lovely wife Mabel were there. I only stayed a short time, but I did squeeze in a couple of fast dances with Homer and Ladybug Johnson. On the way out I disturbed Astor and Mabel and pretended I was going to dance with them. After hugs and more hugs, I headed out. Southern Ohio

Will was playing music and I didn’t want to disturb everyone at Mary’s table so I left quietly as I knew Richie was waiting for me. We then drove to Campbell’s Branch so I could meet Libby Day Smith and Jon ‘No Show’ Caudill. I’m just kidding, he had company.

I really enjoyed myself there and I danced a couple of times. As I was getting ready to leave the band played “Going to Rocky Island” picked claw-hammer style so my purse got to sit in a chair real fast. I am sorry I didn’t get the woman’s name who was so kind to dance with me. She is a very good dancer.

While at Campbell’s Branch someone recognized me, telling me how much her mother, Irene Brown, enjoyed my column in The Mountain EagIe. I met Irene in Letcher Manor, and I was so impressed how her family loved her so much and had her room decorated.

Irene was really a beautiful lady and though I only talked to her a couple of times, she left an impression on me. I wish I were as beautiful and as kind as she was.

Once again the surprises didn’t end there as another woman came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed my column. This time it was Sandra Back who taught Richie in the fourth grade, then later my brother Robert. I walked with Sandra Back outside to meet Richie; the two hadn’t seen each other in about 45 years.

Saturday was the KC Reunion. Richie and Wanda loaned me their Mustang. I was about ready to take it back as my feet would barely reach the pedals.

Bruce Jones, ‘the best looking man on Ingrams Creek’, was the first to speak to me, and hug! Actually I didn’t recognize Bruce yet he remembered me since he lives up the road from Richie. Bruce’s son Larry recognized me as I had met him a couple of years ago.

I was rather disappointed as there was only one person that I went to school with there, Louise Cornett. We had class together. I was in a room of total strangers except for a handful.

Clarence Halcomb from Hamilton; Thelma Halcomb Brooks, her daughter Lavonne Brooks, and grandson Ben ‘Cornbread’ Brooks of Fairfield; and Andy Bates, daughter Norma Jean and her son from Winchester, Ind. were there. Norma had come to Letcher County Day here in Harrison a couple of years ago.

I did meet Glen B. Ison and his wife Thelma. Glen was a brother to Harding and Evadea Ison, along with three of Gwen Huff Farmer’s nieces Ruby Jean Roark, Mavis, and Lena Thompson.

I met Gwen’s sister Grace. I had to leave again or I would have liked to talk to her more, and maybe danced with Grace as ‘Cornbread’ brought his banjo.

Gwen Farmer didn’t get to make it to the reunion as her daughter and greatgranddaughter came from a Florida for a visit.

My sympathy goes out to the family of Alf Tolliver. I met his wife Glenna Sue at the reunion. They are neighbors of Richie and Wanda’s.

I will say one thing, as several found out I wrote for The Eagle, I felt like a celebrity. No joking, it was wonderful to hear the great compliments.

Wayne Whitaker, if you and your wife would like to call me sometime maybe we can finish the conversation we were having when we were interrupted. Wayne came to Hamilton some time ago and bought part of a gristmill from Clarence Halcomb. Wayne sure makes good molasses also.

I recognized Berniece Baker from her picture on Facebook on the computer, but I didn’t know she was going to go to the reunion and of course no one knew I was going either.

Ray Lewis and I had made plans to meet at the school, but I left before he got there. I called his home and his wife Peggy told me he had left to meet me, but by the time I got back Ray had left again. Peggy is having some serious health problems so please keep her in your prayers.

Bonnie Ingram told me she had to have the money for dinner before the reunion so I had made other plans since I hadn’t sent her money. As it turned out there were quite a few who hadn’t paid as a table was set up and you paid before you went through the line.

I left as people were getting ready for dinner. I had too many things I wanted to do, and eating was not on my to-do list!

Everyone needs a sister in-law like Wanda. She made chicken fajitas for me, along with several other good things to eat.

Wanda and I went to visit my brother Jerry Hall, then on to Letcher Manor Nursing Home to visit my brother Wallace Lee Hall and my sister Loretta Church, then back to Wanda and Richie’s. By this time I am tee-totaled exhausted, and I was too tired to sleep.

Sunday morning I was awake before anyone. This was a very special time for me as I sat on the porch and listened to the birds and the night creatures so early, then the sound that I love to hear as the roosters started crowing. Wanda joined me on the porch for a little while then it was time for Wanda to take me back to Michael Ison’s to meet Polly for our long journey home.

Polly was at her nephew Kevin Ison’s house. Polly and I walked around in Kevin’s yard while he was sleeping. I must say Polly isn’t a lot of fun, as I tried to talk her into going skinnydipping in Kevin’s pool before he caught us! (Just kidding.)

Polly and I stopped at the food/ service station at Isom and ate, then we stopped at the nursing home in Hazard to visit Polly’s sister-in-law Pat Ison. Polly and I made it back to Harrison about 6 p.m.

There are several people I haven’t mentioned to whom I talked at the reunion. I am sorry right now I am having a hard time concentrating as so much has happened since I came home.

My heart is absolutely breaking for Shirley Carol Niece Wells, a former Marlowe girl of Clarksville, Tenn., in the sudden loss of her son Tommy Wells of Pennsylvania. Shirley’s son-in-law had died about a week before this happened.

Shirley and I haven’t seen each other in over 50 years, yet we have shared a close bond for several years with the connection of phone calls, the Internet and my column in The Eagle.

My sympathy goes out to the family of Bernice Grubbs as her sister-in-law Brenda Fields lost her battle. Brenda used to live Deane, and she and her husband lived in Seco for many years.

Thelma and Lavonne Brooks received word of an accident in Danville that injured several family members after they came back home.

Belated happy birthday to my brother Jerry Hall on June 3. Thanks, Jerry, for the William Caudill & Route 7 CD.

Linda Whitaker Day, I hope you are doing better. Hello to all Linda’s family.

I did talk to Betty and Doyle Ison for a little while to tell her of the trip to the mountains.

I hope each and every one had a safe Memorial Day and got to visit the graves of your loved ones.

Well folks, it is getting time for me to get this on its way. I will try to touch more on the reunion next week.

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



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