Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

Spring is good time to be alive

Southern Ohio

Hey there, everyone!

Oh it’s good to be alive this morning. I have been able to sit on my front porch to enjoy the birds singing. The redbud trees have lost their colors; at this stage of spring everything is just a luscious green. The dogwoods are bloom; the pink ones in yards are absolutely gorgeous.

My son, Keith Ballard, says I have gotten him to notice things he hasn’t really paid attention to before. Keith really loves to watch and listen to the birds. I sit on the porch swing and let little Bennie listen to the birds singing. When one flies close enough for him to see, he will say “bird!”

My great-granddaughter, Samantha Gray’s, dance class held a recital. Of course Samantha was too bashful to dance. I am surprised she even made it out on stage as she is very timid in a crowd. Now at home it is a different story. My granddaughter, Jodi Gray, was home from Ohio University for the weekend. Jodi and her boyfriend, Sam, and one of her friends from college came to the recital. Of course my granddaughter, Jennifer Gray Proctor, who is Samantha’s mother, and Tommy Proctor were there along with their 15-month-old baby, T.J.

This is the first time that T.J. and little Bennie had been together. There’s only three weeks’ difference in their ages. When the music was playing as the little girls performed, Bennie would clap his hands and say “yaaa”. Both little boys were really good.

I am going to try something with Bennie. I have decided to limit the cartoons and start reading to him. He is so smart to be this young, I believe he can comprehend some of the books. If not, nothing lost.

On the day for Old Time Fiddlers at Miamitown, Ohio, the weather really was beautiful. The music was some of the best I think I have ever heard. Those who couldn’t be there, you sure missed a good time. This was Music on the Gazebo time. To me this is always a special time.

We have a new member in the club, Dolly Bradshaw, who plays an upright bass plus she plays a mean guitar. A good singer, she is a great dancer. Dolly has a good personality and is a good entertainer. My friend, Elaine Doyle, who goes by the name of “Ma Crow”, and Natalie Cunningham came by for a little while. They sang a couple of songs.

Rick Stapleton did the sound for the club and stayed to sing and play the banjo. Rick used to perform at Renfro Valley. I only have one regret – I didn’t take my camcorder.

I went to the Olde Star Mall. I hitched a ride partway with my two anonymous friends. I met them at the Richwood exit. Gary Strong is the house band there, and his brother, Tim Strong, did the second show. Both bands are really good. Gary plays more traditional bluegrass music.

I am slowly making my way back into the music world that I love so dearly. I am a little embarrassed to dance by myself, however I sat until I was growing to the seat, so it felt when they played Reuben. Somehow I found the nerve to kick off my shoes and hit the floor. If my anonymous friend could dance his wife would have to tie him down as he sure keeps time to the music,. She might even join him if she was able. I can never understand how anyone can sit still and not at least want to move their feet to the beat of music.

I received a phone call from someone I haven’t seen since I was 13 years old. Charles Ratliff calls Morristown, Tenn., home; he is from the Linefork area. I knew Charles and his sister, Frances Ratliff, when we went to school at Kingdom Come High School. They are both older than me. Actually, I had a crush on Charles.

Charles told me of an incident that happened at school. He had a crush on some girl at school so he decided to write her a letter or send her a card. Somehow he had gotten some S&H green stamps. Charles put the S&H stamps on the letter. Thelma Cornett was the postmistress and threw the letter away. Some of the kids got it and opened it and teased Charles for a long time. The whole time I talked to Charles I laughed so much at some antics he told me he had gotten into when he was young. Of course he wasn’t the only one, there were a few others with him.

Charles has done very well with his life. He retired from law enforcement. He married a woman from Florida and has tried to change her to a mountain girl. She works in a nursing home. Charles is very involved with this also, as he goes to entertain the folks there. He gives talks and shows them how to some of the old-time things like making apple butter. I wonder if he bakes biscuits for them and shows them how good it is. I will have to ask him.

I went to visit Johnny and Ann Calihan. I took little Bennie to see them, which they both enjoyed very much. Johnny and Ann gave me green onions from his garden – the lettuce wasn’t big enough – sweet potatoes and a quart of pickled corn. Oh my goodness, it is so good. It tasted so much like what I remembered Grandma Rosa Hall and Mommy (Ora Hall) making. Needless to say, it was gone in a couple of days.

When Grandma would pickle her corn, she would put it in a 25-gallon crock, I can remember it having mold over the top of the water. You didn’t dare have a scratch on your hand when you stuck it in to get an ear of corn. If you did, you were too busy trying not to wet your pants to enjoy the pickled corn as it would sting.

Doyle and Betty Ison make good mixed pickles. They are the only ones that I know who do that old-fashioned thing around here. I looked for a relish called chow chow that Mommy used to make. The Amish make it but they can’t hold a candle to Mommy’s way of making it.

Clarence and Arlyn Halcomb are both doing well. Clarence and I have a date to sit under the peach tree in August and eat peaches. Clarence has planted another peach tree. Arlyn teases him about being almost 90 years old and still planting trees.

My brother, Richie Hall, is once again having trouble with his legs. It bothers me when I know he is in so much pain.

I was going to try to head for the mountains for Memorial Day. It doesn’t look I will be going anywhere.

Ralph Stanley’s Bluegrass Festival sure seemed good too, not that I have ever been there. I am sure glad there’s bluegrass music on aol radio on my computer.

I have really been missing Bobby Joe’s “Gospel Jubilee” and his ‘Classic” show that follows. Bobby has been having technical problems for the past two weeks. Of course I listen to WMMT too. Shirley Wells along with Gwen Huff Farmer and I listened to WMMT Thursday night for a while.

Shirley was planning a trip to Letcher County for a family reunion, but she had to cancel to go to a concert her granddaughter, Ashley, is in. Shirley hasn’t seen her cousin, Helen Caudill, in 50 years.

Gwen Huff is expecting her family from Arkansas. She is trying to get her garden planted but it has rained so much. Gwen finally planted a few things. She has been eating lettuce and onions. She did make me hungry.

Hello, Bruce Jones, are your peas doing okay? Hello, Levine, how are things going your way?

A special hello to my little friend, Devon Cornett, and his mom and dad, Monie and Colin Cornett.

Larry Roark, if you talk to Gladys Hogg in Frostproof, Fla., tell her to give me a call. I have tried to get her but something is going wrong.

I hope all you mothers had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

There are birds building a nest on my porch post. A group of birds started making a mess on my porch swing. As bad as I hated to, I let Keith tear it down. They were smart enough to switch sides on my porch and are rebuilding their nest. If they are that determined I guess I will leave them alone, let them homestead for a while!

Well I guess I have just about worn out my welcome so I will get this sent to The Mountain Eagle before that old clock catches me again.

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

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