Whitesburg KY
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Rose Ballard listens to mountains calling


Hello everyone! As I start this column a commercial comes on television, a woman is singing a Willie Nelson song, “On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.”

Such an ironic time for this to be shown, as it is the way I am feeling at the present time. As some of you know, I have a favorite saying, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”

I haven’t been in the mountains of eastern Kentucky since the last Carcassonne Community Center Square Dance, along with visiting Campbell’s Branch Community Center.

With the closing of every music event, then quarantine, in my case, “being in time out” by my granddaughter Jodi Gray, then no traveling from state to state.

When springtime arrived I almost had to glue my shoes to the floor as my brain and heart were in my feet and when my feet want to go bad enough, I’ve gotten in my car and been in the mountains in a few hours.

Friday morning, after a restless night of trying to decide to head for the mountains or stay home, I left my house at 9 a.m. For those who think I lead a boring life, by about 11 a.m. I was on I75, a few miles from Lexington, in the fast lane. Traffic was bad of course, then I saw something in the middle of the road a distance ahead; a gallon gas container sitting upright.

I couldn’t get over since there was a barrier on my left. I straddled it. I literally thought I had torn the bottom from under my car.

I glanced to see if it had hit a car, but I couldn’t see anything. I drove quite a distance and heard an awful sound. I thought I had punctured a tire, so as soon as it was safe I changed lanes until I could get off the side of the road to safety.

The trucks were shifting my car they were going so fast. I got back in the car and got as far as possible off the side of the highway.

The gas container had lodged, so I tried to get on my knees, which I finally managed. I got hold of the nozzle, which broke off.

I was about ready to call Triple A to come help me, but I did some thinking, and finally decided to turn my wheel to the right for a little ways, swing the left tire on the edge of the berm, then get my long handle floral shovel that my son gave me to see if I could pry the container loose.

Once again, I got on my knees to look again and to my surprise I had gotten a little leverage, and the container came loose. I was able to squeeze and release it from under the car, and while I was on my knees I thanked God for keeping me safe while I was in a dangerous situation on the busy interstate, and thanked God, the container was empty.

When someone lost it, it was probably from a trailer that was pulling four-wheelers. Had it been a full can of gas I wouldn’t be writing this.

It took me driving quite a distance before I could relax to enjoy the drive, that is if you can relax with traffic speeding like you on a racetrack somewhere.

Each time I get to the area and see the mountains forming in view, I still see and hear my brother Jerry Hall rolling his back window down saying, “Ahh, I can almost smell home.” Jerry had spent a couple of weeks with us. Jerry enjoyed being with us, but he was ready to be home also.

I finally arrived at my destination at 2 p.m. It seemed as if this had been one of the longest and most tiring trips for me. After unpacking I decided to go get the car filled up as gas prices were at an all-time low price from Ohio. Then I called Annette Akers to see if she was going to be home.

Earlier in this area I couldn’t find lettuce seed, then it became available at a local place. I was talking to Annette who said she wanted to sow a late lettuce bed, but she couldn’t find lettuce seed anywhere.

Southern Ohio

I replied that I would send her seed through the mail, but as I was playing with the idea of trying to venture to the mountains the next day or so, I decided to take it instead of sending the lettuce seed.

First thing I want to say that was the best decision I have made in a long time. While Annette and I were talking, her husband Russ sort of motioned for me to come to the end of the yard where he was sitting in the shade. I started walking towards Russ laughing and saying to Annette, all Russ had to do was crook his finger and here I start beckoning to the call.

As we sat talking Russ asked if I liked cabbage, and of course I love cabbage, it just doesn’t agree with me, I still fix it for my son Keith.

Annette and Russ grew the old type of salad peas that Mommy raised when I was growing up at Roxana. Annette had frozen quite a bit and she said if I had some way of bringing them home with me she would give me a bag.

In the meantime, Russ gave me a bag of beautiful corn they had frozen. I didn’t have a cooler except a thermal bag in which I carrying yogurt with me. I wasn’t smart enough to thinking about going to get a cooler.

I thought of placing the bag of peas and corn in between layers of ice, wrapping them good so they would stay frozen while traveling home. The vegetables were still frozen when I arrived home, so the black Simpson lettuce seed sure was traded for much better value.

I cooked part of the peas, and I shared with Ann and Johnny Calihan, as I know they haven’t enjoyed that kind of delicacy in a long time.

After I spent a couple of hours with Annette and Russ I decided to get on my way. Of course I couldn’t bypass Roxana, so once again I drove down to the mouth of Mill Branch to turn around.

I always go slowly to relive walking the railroad tacks to school and back. How I loved to see the passion flower that grew wild along the tracks, along with the dew berries, and I would stop to pick a few. You would have to be careful of snakes, as they seemed to love the tracks. Yet we seemed to be safe even when we went berry picking.

Saturday morning, I met my niece Sue Hall, then we ventured to the flea market at Wise, Va., to which I had never been. I knew that Bernice Grubb was there with her son, Chuck Grubb. This is a huge place. Of course I had no cell phone reception, so I had no idea where Bernice was sitting up, but it didn’t take me long to find her.

I spent some time with Bernice, and then Sue and I looked around for a bit, and headed back across the mountain. Sue took me to the overlook above Jenkins, as I had never been there before. The view is beautiful to look over the mountains.

Now our adventure had just begun as we continued to Fishpond Lake, as I had never been there either. The drive was magnificent as you observed young children fishing. Several people were camping. Actually a tent was set up real close to the road, which was a surprise.

Now there was one thing that Sue and I disagreed on vehemently, as she wanted to drive down a steep incline to a boat ramp. You have to back up the steep hill, and I said no. Sue is one of the best drivers that I’ve ever been with, but since my accident on June 1, 2019, I am a mess.

Sue finally understood that I really didn’t want to go down that steep incline, and no amount of persuasion could get me to change my mind.

On the way back to Whitesburg, Sue stopped at a small place to get a bite to eat. I made a mistake, as I nibbled on a couple of fried mushrooms, plus broccoli and cheese bits. Then the dust storm hit Whitesburg and surrounding areas. The dust was so thick you couldn’t see the top of the mountains.

We stopped at Sue’s place for a couple of hours, and by the time our trip was over and I returned to my room, I knew I was in trouble. As evening became dark, I was one sick person. It is a good thing Carcassonne Community Center wasn’t open, as I was so ill I couldn’t have gone.

What am I saying? I would have gone to listen to music I regardless how sick I was. I spent a quiet evening alone, with plenty of rest.

Sunday morning, I awoke ready to rock and roll. I had made plans to meet Lil Willard Hall and Angie at McDonald’s. It was great to see Lil Willard and Angie for a few minutes, even in the pouring rain. Lil Willard is an avid music lover like me, except Lil Willard has all kinds of records, CD’s etc. I am more of bluegrass.

Several months ago I had been given 30 plus albums of Mikey Gilley. I contacted Lil Willard who said he loved Mickey Gilley, but didn’t have any of his music. Now he does!

Someone asked me why I didn’t sell the albums, as they hadn’t been used very much, and a couple were still wrapped. The person they belonged to would rather I gave them to someone who would enjoy them, and that is what I did. I know how much Lil Willard enjoys music, plus I really love and appreciate all Angie and, Lil Willard, and their dad have done to support music through the years. The Hall family was very good to my brother, Jerry Allen Hall.

Sunday morning, Sue and I ventured to London, to the flea market. That was a wasted trip except for the drive as I have more junk in my house and basement. At least I didn’t leave broke.

Sue and I did stop at Frisch’s where I enjoyed part of a bowl of vegetable soup, at least for about half an hour. Again, when I returned to my room, I never ventured out.

Mike and Marcia Caudill, I am sorry. I meant to get touch with you but something happened to my cell phone. I couldn’t even text. I didn’t have your number except in my cell phone.

Jack Adams, I couldn’t get in touch with you either, although I started to come to your place since I would drive by Blair Branch.

Libby Smith and Delana Banks, I really wanted to stop by your place, it was either too early or too late.

Sunday morning I intended to try to be there to listen to the church bells, but of course I missed that too.

Some time ago I found a radio station WSGS in Hazard that I usually enjoy. This was a taped segment of the program. To my surprise the DJ mentioned my brother Jerry Hall’s CD’s that had been donated. I had heard this before, and I didn’t need to hear it again.

I’m still disappointed that so much as been cancelled this year. Of course I was looking forward to Blackey Days. That has always been the highlight of the year for me. Blackey Days is like a huge family reunion, even though I was not raised in Blackey. I did visit my grandmother Betty Coots Barton. Of course Daddy and Mommy lived at Blackey for many years, until someone burned their house.

Monday was a beautiful drive back to Ohio. Tuesday, I awoke to my right foot swollen so bad I couldn’t get my shoe on from walking so much, plus driving. Something good came from all the walking; I had gained a little weight, and I lost it from the walking.

I really can’t express how much it meant to get away a few days, not to listen about coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, protestors, rioting, looting. Believe me, I take the coronavirus very seriously. I am tired of being afraid to live, for fear of dying.

Sort of sick of hearing that we’ll get through this together. Also, where are people when you are confined to a hospital or nursing home? How are you treated in a nursing home without family being allowed to visit? All you have is the medical staff in a hospital. There are several who are caring, devoted nurses. There are also some that don’t need to be working in that profession.

Saturday, July 4, was a difficult day, as 37 years ago about 6:15 Daddy took his last journey form this earth.

I decided not to stay home feeling depressed. I knew that Jericho Road Old Time Band with Warren and Judy Waldron, Dale Farmer and Amy Coogan Clay was performing at Oxford Farmers Market in Oxford from 10 to 12. I enjoyed two hours of beautiful music.

My day didn’t end there as I had an errand to do. I don’t usually drive through Harrison, as I slide around the outskirts. When I drove through town, people had started to gather along the streets to watch the parade. I decided to stop and watch the parade too. I drove around the block and got a parking spot, and now it is in the 90’s.

I looked across the street, and there was a bench in the shade with one man sitting, so I asked if I could share his seat, which he obliged. The parade was small, and as I watched a group the Harrison Wildcat Marching Kittens, oh the memories came cascading through.

My youngest daughter Anna Nottingham was in this group for several years. Of course this meant I was involved as I walked with the group to make sure they stayed in line, along with other volunteers.

One time in particular as we rounded the corner from State St. to Harrison Ave., I was concentrating on keeping the girls in perfection, and I accidently I walked into an extended truck mirror which set me back a couple of steps. I was stunned for a few seconds, brushed it off, and kept right on going.

Saturday evening, I received a phone call from my 13-year-old sidekick Bennie Wiederhold, asking if we could go to the fireworks. Bennie surprised me by asking could he bring a mask to wear if we were in a crowd. He even asked if he could bring one for me. I replied of course you can, and I have a couple of masks in my purse.

As it happened we didn’t need masks as I found a place to sit away from the crowd. I’ve never had such a close seating at fireworks. It was really neat and to be able to share with Bennie. Bennie and I enjoyed several hours together, and it was a wonderful time. I didn’t get Bennie home until 11 p.m., and then we watched fireworks in Angie’s parking lot.

Johnny and Ann Calihan spent the day with their daughter Sue Wagner and her family, along with their two-year-old twin greatgranddaughters Claire and Olivia. When Sue brought her parents home, Sue enjoyed the fireworks by sitting on the deck. Sunday morning Sue came back to take Johnny and Ann to church.

Hello to Les and Pat Wagner and the family. Hello Hayward Day and Kim.

Thanks everyone who has purchased my book, “The Beauty of a Rose.” I am down to a very few left. The books are $15 plus $6 shipping.

The Mountain Minor will be shown on KET July 24, at 9 p.m., more on this later.

I’m sorry, the clock is catching up with me so until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com.

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