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Lee Sexton performance goes out over Internet


Howdy, folks! It is a fall feeling morning in the Harrison, Ohio, area! I have some flowers to plant; right now it is too chilly for me.

My husband, Clayton, says that my brother, Richie Hall, and I aren’t normal when it comes to being cold. I just consider the source. I have never been considered normal since I dance to the music of different drums. Life is more fun sometimes to be different!

A big thank you to the staff of WMMT for broadcasting Seedtime on the Cumberland via the Internet. The bands on Friday night did a great job, however Saturday night was my favorite. I am so thankful to my sister-in-law, Mattie Hall, for calling me, asking if I had the Internet on. She said Lee Sexton was picking. I called my little friend, Shirley Wells, and for the next couple of hours we really enjoyed WMMT.

Lee Sexton can really play that banjo. I enjoyed the other band, too, and Charlie Louvin brought back so many memories. Shirley and I even quit communicating, as we listened with our hearts as well as our ears.

Charlie Louvin has been around for many years. I can remember him and his brother, Ira, singing “The Family Who Prays” on WTCW when I was just a kid.

I always enjoy WMMT, however Seedtime on the Cumberland was extra special, so thank you, WMMT.

Shirley Wells’s grandson, A.J., graduated from high school. Happy birthday, A.J., on June 23.

Clarence and Arlyn Halcomb of Hamilton, Ohio, had some special guests. Aryln’s cousin and his wife from California have been visiting them. There was a cousins reunion with other cousins who live in the Hamilton area.

Arlyn says Clarence is planning a trip to the mountains very soon with their son. She said Clarence gets homesick for the mountains, says he left part of his soul there and needs to go back and get in touch with it.

I can relate to those feelings, as I am made fun of all the time. After being here 46 years, I still refer to the mountains as down home!

I live in Harrison, Ohio, and have for 46 years, however that little spot called Roxana and Letcher County will always be home to me. It makes me feel very good to know I am not the only one who feels that way. I have been asked why I don’t go back there, if I love it so much. For one reason, my children live in this area, though that in itself sometimes is reason enough to run away, as some parents can relate to. Another reason, I am a habitual person. I hate change and since I own my home, I hate to think about moving.

Clayton and I watch a program called “Jubilee” on KET. After “Jubilee” was a program about Appalachia. I called Richie to tell him what I was watching. Lee Sexton was playing the banjo at a square dance at Carcassonne, close to Blackey, someplace I want to visit.

Along with an interview and pictures of Lee, it showed his uncle, Morgan Sexton, also Shawn Stamper who has picked with sever al big name bands such as Ralph Stanley!

I am so thankful I had a tape handy. I had taped “Jubilee” for my friend, Shirley Wells as she can’t pick up KET in Tennessee. Now she has something else. She is so much like myself when it comes to loving mountain music.

Clayton Durham & The Bluegrass Addition Band did a show at the Whitewater Center on Dry Fork Road. By the time this was decided, I didn’t have time to put it in my column.

My sister, Loretta Church, spent a few days at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington. She had stents in her leg as her arteries were completely blocked.

I decided on the spur of the moment to go see her and I grabbed a few tapes to listen to. I had forgotten about a tape of our mother, Ora Hall, talking of growing up, I had recorded in June 1993.

As I listened to this tape, I laughed and cried. A man had asked Mommy to marry him when she was 14 years old. His way of proposing was asking Mom would she like to have a home. Mom’s reply to him was, “I have two homes, what do I need another one for?” She told this young man she had a home at her mommy’s and at Ma Coots.

Mommy said she could not bear the thought of getting married at the age 14 since she would never be able to look at another boy or hold hands with him, or get out and play with all her friends on Big Branch.

It is a different experience listening to your own mother talking on a tape, knowing she has been dead for almost 12 years. She talked about her sister, Nora Adams Gulley, and the Calihan girls, Hattie and Jettie, and how she used to go to Nora Calihan’s to square dance. Mom talked of meeting our dad, Clayton Hall, at a dance at Nora and Lloyd Calihan’s at the same house that Genita Calihan now lives in, a place I love called Paradise Valley (known to others as Paices Branch).

She talks of what a good dancer Thurston Davis was in their younger days. I get my love of music from Mommy. I get some of my mischievous ways, too.

Emma Engle, who writes for The Mountain Eagle, called my sister-in-law Mattie and me nuts in her column. She didn’t use Mattie’s name, however she described me in the right way. I had rather tease someone, leave a smile on their face, than go around looking like an old possum, or a dried-up prune, as they used to say in the mountains. I hope I never lose a sense of humor, as long as there’s breath in this body! I will be the first to admit, when and if I get riled up, I can be a pain in the backside. I will stand up for myself or someone else being mistreated.

Keep your calendar marked on Sept. 29 for the Letcher County Day at The Harrison Community Center, 300 George Street, Harrison, Ohio. Bring a picnic lunch, drinks, any pictures you want to share, and a lawn chair just in case you need it. Let’s revive what Dovie Elderidge had going years ago.

Gwen Huff Farmer tells me her brothers, Gary and Lindell Huff, are improving a little bit. She also said a bad storm hit through Harrodsburg, Ill., doing a lot of damage. That is not very far from her place.

It sure is dry here. People’s yards and gardens are drying up. I am trying to keep my few flowers alive.

My daughter, Kay Gray, has green tomatoes almost as big as softballs. She will be having ripe tomatoes before long. She has her tomato plants next to her fence in her beautiful yard. This woman could make sage brush bloom!

Johnny and Ann Calihan’s garden is about gone, so there goes my free vegetable deliveries!

Thanks to Elaine Adams of London, for sending me a mess of peas. They weren’t tough like some I bought while I was in the mountains from a local merchant, who got tough peas from Virginia.

I haven’t heard anything from our little mountain mama Alma Whitaker in a while. I hope everything is going alright for her.

Hello, Renevae Day. Maybe I will get to see you at the Letcher County Day in September.

I owe an apology to Minnie Paige’s daughter, Chelsie, for not mentioning that I got to talk to her a few minutes while she was visiting her mom over Memorial weekend. Sherry is my brother, Jerry Hall, and Mattie’s neighbor; Minnie lives in the back part of the complex.

Shirley Wells bought a book that Wid Paige had written; she really enjoys it.

Anna Jones, stop by sometime. Better call first so I can clear a path for you.

I hope all you dads had a good Father’s Day. I always think it doesn’t make you a father just because you can produce a baby, nor a mother because you can give birth!

Hello, Bruce Jones, I bet you cooked a big dinner for your family Sunday. Levine Jones, I hope you had a good day also.

Betty and Doyle Ison are both doing alright.

Keep in mind the first Sunday of each month is Old Time Fiddlers at the Fire House on 128 at Miamitown, Ohio, 12-4 p.m. What better way to spend a few hours than with friends and good picking?

Until next time. Rose Ballard Durham, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email Bluegrassmama4@aol.com.


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