Whitesburg KY

Rash of weddings happening now



Hello everyone! Here we go again on the rollercoaster ride with the weather. One day it is cold enough to freeze the horns off a billy goat, and the next day you can go running bare if you live where no one can see you or don’t care who will stop by unexpectedly.

A couple of weeks ago my niece Sue Hall, who lives in eastern Kentucky, said her granddaughter Brooke got a sunburn so bad from swimming that she had to be taken to Whitesburg Hospital through the emergency room.

Wednesday was nice here, but inside my house it felt cold. I had a sweatshirt on and when I walked outside I felt sort of silly as I had no idea it was that nice.

Vicki Power and I attended a benefit for the Mountain Minor, a movie that is being produced by Dale Farmer. The benefit was a success as it was a packed house. All the bands were great. Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers, Warren and Judy Waldron, and The Tillers were among the bands to perform.

Just before the show I had an unusual encounter as someone spoke to me as he sat down beside Vicki. As our conversation unfolded, he has ties to Whitesburg. Ray Rechenberg is from Hamilton. He is in something called shape note from Appalshop and he knows Ben Fink.



I met Ben Fink when Mike, Marcia, Ricky Caudill and I went to Campbell’s Branch a few weeks ago.

Congratulations to Ricky Caudill and Lisa Fields on their forthcoming marriage. I really don’t have details of their plans, whether it will be a church wedding or a huge blowout on the mountaintop, as I know there have been weddings held there. It seems like there’s a rash of weddings in the near future.

My granddaughter Jodi Gray will be having an outside wedding in her parents’ backyard. It is a beautiful setting

I wanted to go to Isom Days to a festival, but I can’t make it as I am invited to a wedding. It is too hard to make the trip to the mountains and back in one day although I am guilty of doing that very thing!

I missed the Carcassonne community square dance, and I hope Mike and Marcia Caudill had a great time and that they had a big attendance for this event. I really love to hear Sunrise Ridge. Maybe before too long I can venture back again.

The Appalachian Festival was once again held at Old Coney Island on Kellogg Avenue in Cincinnati on Mother’s Day weekend. It was a very busy week and weekend for me as I have volunteered at Appalachian Festival for several years now.

Friday was a full day, and it was very cool and the music was great. I am a seasoned festival diehard as I know to dress for the occasion, plus carry a blanket.

I ran into a couple of friends, Joe and Mona Parker, that I’ve not seen in a couple of years. I shared my blanket with Mona as she didn’t have a jacket and the weather took a drop in temperature.

Rabbit Hash String Band with Warren and Judy Waldron, played along with Russ and Barb Childers, who started the show off with some great music. Friday always has several groups of children to attend this event.

As they were listening to the music I did something I’ve never thought about doing before. I asked the leader of the children if I could ask them to dance. I had eight or more little first graders dancing.

All the bands were wonderful, and Tony Hale & 90TH BIRTHDAY — Johnny Bruce Calihan, formerly of Roxana, now living in Harrison, Oh., celebrated his 90th birthday May 13 at the Historical Society at Miamitown, Oh. He and his wife, Ann, also formerly of Roxana, will soon celebrate 70 years of marriage. They have five children, Carol Calihan Dieckman of New Richmond, Oh., Gary Calihan of Bright Ind., Dale Calihan of Brookville, Ind., Theresa Calihan Payne of Harrison, Oh., and Susan Calihan Wagner of Tega Cay, S.C.; 12 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Black Water had two sets. Their last show was absolutely electrifying as you could feel the effects, or I could, clear out in the audience. The last set Tony had a guest singer and the guy’s wife stole Bubba’s bass. It was really great watching and listening to Black Water.

Southern Ohio

It seems that the mountains haunt me everywhere I go. During Tony’s band’s performance, three women sat down behind me. Debbie Lyons, I’ve met before at a place called Cornbread Palace in Middletown, then at Hunter’s Pizzeria, and her friend Joyce Cottingim knows Paul Morris who was a longtime DJ on a radio station from Whitesburg.

Joyce has a place somewhere in Florida and goes to listen to bluegrass music, so she met Paul Morris there. Evidently there are several couples from Whitesburg that gather there also.

Debbie had been traveling to Corbin to get her bluegrass fix until she heard of the music at Hunter’s Pizzeria.

I have been going to Carcassonne Community Center to the square dances. I love the center along with the people, as it seems to draw me there for some reason.

There’s a square dance being held not too far from me with music by Rabbit Hash String Band, and called by Judy Warren.

Due to the cool weather and the prediction of rain Les and Pat Wagner didn’t make it to the Appalachian Festival. I really missed them.

Saturday morning, I awoke not feeling good so I stayed home. About noon I decided to mow my yard. I finally solved the problem of slipping off the seat of my lawnmower, since my behind isn’t heavy enough to hold me down. I got a piece of the shelf liner that holds your dishes in the cabinet shelves, and yep, it anchored me down. Now if I can just find some way to make my leg reach the brake pedal.

I really enjoyed doing this chore as my irises are such a variety of colors and my roses are blooming, along with my wisteria. The fragrance from the wisteria is amazing as you walk past the vine.

I really have to thank God for the vision that surrounds me. I wish I could share it with everyone.

Saturday evening, a celebration for Johnny Calihan’s 90th birthday was held at the Historical Society at Miamitown. All of Johnny and Ann’s children were there, along with their grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

There were so many people that I didn’t try to count them

My daughter Angie Wiederhold and my little sidekick Bennie and I all went together, and then later my youngest daughter Anna Nottingham, along with her husband Scott, Jessica, and her friend, and little Kyle, stopped by for a brief visit. I couldn’t tell Ann that Anna was coming as I wanted it to be a surprise.

Johnny and Ann’s daughter, Sue Wagner, and her daughter Lauren, were in from South Carolina. Their daughter Carol and Jack Deskman’s son Lee had flown in from somewhere that I forgot, and two of Ann’s nieces were there from Lexington. As I said, there were too many for me to keep up with.

Their son Gary did such a good job projecting pictures on a widescreen on the wall. Gary is a replica of Johnny, and their son Dale looks so much like Ann.

Ann’s brother Bill Ison, and his sons and daughter were there also.

The family did such a wonderful job of planning this party, and I hope I don’t forget something important as I try to recall a few details. They had pictures from Johnny’s growing-up years, his grade school, his years at college, Navy pictures, awards, Johnny and Ann’s wedding, and teaching awards from church as he was instrumental in starting a men’s soft ball league. As I was reading all the awards of what this young man from the mountains of eastern Kentucky has accomplished, I was overwhelmed with emotion and quiet tears started streaming down my face.

I had to pretend I was reading although I couldn’t see a thing as I kept my back to the crowd.

There was a catered meal, prepared by Pam Stapleton, which consisted of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and a delicious looking bowl of layered fruit salad.

The birthday cake was amazing. It was a combination of chocolate and white as it had a picture of Johnny on one side and another picture of him on the other half.

Oh how I wanted just a taste, but I didn’t give in to temptation of any food except a tad bit of mashed potatoes and gravy.

As I said the family did such a wonderful job of putting this birthday party together, and the decorations was so pretty. I am very thankful for being included in this wonderful event.

As everyone knows who reads my column, this is not blood related to me as I am a transplant from way back in the day.

To be privileged to be invited meant so much to me, knowing that as a youngster Johnny knew my greatgrandparents, my grandparents, my parents, and then in later years me and my family, and my grandchildren came to this celebration of life in his honor.

Again Ann had held me as an infant, and blew the breath of menace in me as I have teased her.

It is a miracle that this man named Johnny is even here, as he was just a month or so old when the flood of 1933 hit Letcher County. He lost relatives in that flood, and the only thing that saved Johnny’s family is his parents had started out of the house to seek shelter on higher ground. I reckon they changed their mind decided to go back in the house as the water sort of split around the house.

I am not sure what year that Johnny served our country, but I do know he was in the Navy, and several of his brothers Joe, Bill and Ira Calihan, served this great country we live in also.

Once again thank you for inviting me to be apart of this wonderful day.

When my daughter Anna and her family dropped in, Anna got to see Rev. Arno Wilson who is a retired minister from Harrison Nazarene Church, although he is still active in church, along with his lovely wife Pat.

My children grew up in the Harrison Nazarene Church. It had been quite a few years since Anna had seen Rev. Wilson. Rev. Wilson officiated my daughter Angie’s wedding, along with my oldest daughter Kay’s wedding also. Anna and Scott were married in Scott’s church.

My son Keith decided to slip away to a Justice of the Peace. He was afraid I would say I object.

Sunday, I returned to volunteer at Appalachian Festival as I’ve done this for too many years to count. It was a lovely day, music was good although I missed Ma Crow & the Lady Slippers not being on the schedule

The weather was wonderful and I guess I had too much celebration as I became sort of ill and left before the last two bands did a repeat of their show.

Thanks to my children for the beautiful cards and flowers. My daughter Kay and her husband Clarence Gray spent a week at their home in Destin, Fla. They flew to Florida, but decided to drive back as they keep a couple of cars at their place.

Kay called to tell me happy Mother’s Day, asking if she could bring my card and present down later as she was exhausted. I replied it sure was as I was tired and wanted to sit for a while and just enjoy my yard. I propped my feet up and was sipping sweet tea, listening to the birds sing before calling it a night.

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day as I know it is a sad and difficult day for some. I miss Mother as I grow older more than when I left the mountains as such a young girl.

Keep your head up and a smile on your face, and for all you single women, make sure you wear pretty pajamas as you will never know who you will meet in your dreams.

Pam, I am still trying to be good and taking your advice.

Benjamin “Ben” Franklin, 74, of Millstone, died May 13.

Born in Millstone to the late Bennie E. and Euna Creek Johnson Franklin, he was a grandfather of the late Michael Lee Franklin.

He had worked for Boone Motor Company and Royal Crown Cola, and was retired from Bethlehem Steel. He enjoyed fishing and loved spending time with his family.

Surviving are his wife, Cora Lee Sexton; two sons, Carl Everett Franklin and wife Colleen of McRoberts, and Edwin Lee Franklin and wife Melissa of Millstone; two sisters, Judith Carol Hampton and husband Paul, and Lela Ann Franklin, all of Millstone; two brothers, Roger Wayne Franklin and wife Marsha of Springfield, Oh., and Jesse James Franklin and wife Barbara of Travelers Rest, S.C.; a sisterin law, Louise Rose and husband Kirby of Millstone; two uncles, Jesse Franklin of Somerset and Bill Franklin of Peebles, Oh.; five grandchildren, Courtney Lynn Baker and husband Kevin, and Alyssa Danielle Franklin, all of Millstone, Christopher Benjamin Franklin and Jessica Maggard of Neon, Colin Everett Franklin, and Carley Noel Franklin, both of McRoberts; and two great-grandchildren, Isaiah and Brenton.

Funeral services for Mr. Franklin were held May 16 at the Elizabeth Old Regular Baptist Church. Burial was in the Chunk Craft Cemetery at Millstone.

Letcher Funeral Home of Whitesburg had charge of arrangements.

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