Whitesburg KY
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Southern Ohio

Durhams visit Letcher County for Memorial Day


Hello, everyone! I really hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial weekend! I can remembered this was called Decoration Day. How many remember seeing your mom or granny getting out the red, white, and green crepe paper, a pair of scissors, and some small pieces of wire? They would cut small pieces of crepe paper and scrape it with scissors to make it curl, and use the green for leaves. Sometimes they would dip the flowers in melted wax.

I have seen Grandma Rosa Hall, my Aunt Tena Brown, and my cousin, Marcella Young, use clothes hangers to form pretty arrangements for the graves. Sometimes they were just made into a bouquet and placed on the graves.

I finally got to visit the place I hold so dearly in my heart. My husband, Clayton, and I headed for the mountains of eastern Kentucky. We made it to my brother, Jerry’s, at Whitesburg and picked up his wife, Mattie, then headed for Ingrams Creek to visit our brother, Richie Hall, and Wanda and their son, Derrick.

The next morning Mattie and I decided to stop by Pine Mountain Grill to see a sweet lady who writes for The Mountain Eagle, Emma Lou Engle, and her husband, Red. I had read in her column that she would be there. I recognized her when she and her husband pulled alongside our van.

Emma is a very beautiful lady, oh what I wouldn’t give to be as tall as she is! Her sister, Ann Goins, was waiting for her inside the restaurant. Mattie and I joined them for a cup of coffee. I really enjoyed talking to her. Red is like Clayton, he is rather quiet or could be; he couldn’t get a word in edgewise!

I did find out Red Engle’s aunt, Sarah Pack, is Jerry and Mattie’s neighbor. Sarah is a very sweet lady who has raised several children that aren’t her own. By talking to this gentle woman you can feel the love in her heart. Sarah says for Emma and Red to stop by and see her the next time they are down in the mountains.

I spoke with a real nice lady named Jean, who is from the mountains and lives in Ohio. Jean, I am sorry I forgot to write down your last name. I also talked briefly to Georgia Bentley from Alexandria, Va.

Mattie and I went shopping, then we picked up Clayton and Jerry. We went to spend some time with our brother, Wallace, and Georgia Hall, and we ran some errands for them.

We then drove back to Richie and Wanda’s. That night was Richie’s birthday and the next day was mine. We had a wiener and marshmallow roast and Clayton played the guitar. We had unexpected guests as mosquitoes must like me more than the food. A little black bug sure left its marks on Clayton

The next day Wanda fixed a great dinner for us, and baked a cake for Richie and me to share to share, an orange Dream cake! After dinner Richie drove his truck to the cemetery on Big Branch to decorate the graves. Mattie and I rode in the back, and I have to be honest and say I enjoyed every minute of it. Richie went up Big Branch then down Tolson Creek on to Roxana, and then to the Frazier Cemetery where our little brother and sister are buried, along with our grandpa, Ec Hall, and daddy’s sister, Opal. Richie keeps the graves cleaned off though he isn’t able too.

Clayton and I went back to Richie and Wanda’s on our way home, I went to the Halcomb family cemetery with her. We stopped by to talk to Bruce Jones, who is a faithful reader of The Mountain Eagle. Bruce is every bit as nice as Richie and Wanda said he is. Bruce has a way that makes you feel right at home when you meet him. He remembers my great-grandma and grandpa, Will and Nance Coots, and my mom, Ora Adams Hall, and some of her family. Bruce’s cousin, Levine, wasn’t able to make the trip from Bristol, Tenn. I hope he is alright.

I met Bruce’s son, Larry, and his wife and little girl, who is three years old. She sang her ABC’s for me.

Bruce did tell me he thinks he detects a little of Ma Coots in me, as I have a way of teasing. It seems everyone who met Ma and Pa Coots loved these two people.

Bruce is Rick Jones’s dad. Rick and Barb are really nice people. I finally met Mark Roark, who said he was the best looking man on Ingrams Creek, I hate to tell you, Mark, I still think my brother Richie Hall has you beat. It really was nice meeting you.

Before we departed for home, Wanda had fixed the best supper. Clayton is still talking about how good her cornbread was!

Mattie and went to the Appalshop to visit the one and only Country Gentleman, Ancil Trivette. Ancil was very busy with another band in the WMMT station. He was kind enough to play a cut from Clayton Durham & The Bluegrass Addition CD.

Shirley Wells and I listen to The Country Gentleman on WMMT. It was a pleasure meeting him. Thanks, Ancil, for your time.

I met Ked Sanders and enjoyed a conversation with him. Ked has published a couple of books, plus other writings. He is active in a group along with several others to bring an outdoor drama back to the area, John Fox Jr.’s “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.”

There’s a bluegrass music show, Pickin’ On The Mountain, at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre in Jenkins June 16, 1 to 9 p.m. Go check this out. The bands will be The Glen Ritchie Band, Mike Havens & Blue Mountain Grass, The Tommy Webb Band, and Dismal Pike. For more information, call (606) 832-1453 or (606) 832-4122.

Maybe next year Clayton Durham & The Bluegrass Addition will be one of the bands on this schedule.

Don’t forget the Sparta Bluegrass Festival June 21-23 at Sparta. This is just about a short distance from the racetrack. Clayton Durham & The Bluegrass Addition will be playing there.

Thanks for all the compliments about the Kingdom Come School freshman picture. A woman sent me an email and said that was the best issue she had ever read in the Kentucky Explorer.

D.R. Shepherd reminded me of a couple of the kids’ names, Ray Lewis and Renevae Riddle.

It is a pleasure hearing from Jowanda Davis. I spent quite a few nights with her sister, Elaine Davis, when I went to Mill Branch School.

Gwen Huff Farmer is needing rain for her garden. It is as dry in Illinois as it is here.

Shirley Wells spent the holidays with her family. Ann and Johnny Calihan are doing well.

I called our little mountain mama Alma Whitaker while we were in the mountains. I talked to her daughter, Cenia Faye, I also talked to Alma’s son, Hiram Ray, at Food City. He is always helpful to his mom and takes care of his wife who isn’t in good health.

I met Mathew Eldridge. This man never changes. I remember him from years ago.

I stopped by to see Jr. Calihan; he is doing some better. My sister, Loretta Church, is staying with her granddaughter, April Brown, at McRoberts. She isn’t doing well at all. Loretta will never be able to walk again, and may lose her leg, yet the people who owned the car had no insurance. It is not fair.

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


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