By ROSE BALLARD
Hello again everyone!
To steal a line from Larry Sparks’s song 1949, I wonder if it’s raining in the mountains? I know it is and has been raining since Thursday night.
If there were awards for being a crazy woman, I would win the prize.
Yes I did it again. I left my home Thursday about 12 p.m., and by 4 p.m., I was checking into my second home, the Whitesburg Motel. I think they may as well hang a sign that says,” Welcome Back Rose!”
Hillbilly Days was scheduled in Pikeville for this weekend, and since I was already in the mountains earlier for the Carcassonne Community Center square dance, I had no intentions on going back so soon.
I will start out by saying this has been a very special trip for me for lots of reasons.
I’ve been told a couple of times that it doesn’t take much to please me, which is very true as I don’t have to have material things in my life.
Thursday night, even though it was sprinkling rain along with thunder and lightning, the sky was filled with the most beautiful stars that made me want to lie down in the grass, except I am too scared of snakes. I just wanted to drink in the beauty that I was once again privileged to see.
Yes, I see stars in Ohio, which is always fascinating to me. I believe Thursday night there was every star in the galaxy out. I could see the Big and Little Dipper; the others I don’t know the names of.
The only other time I have seemed to enjoy this pleasure was a night my brother Richie Hall took his wife Wanda Clayton and me to a place where he used to nightwatch, and we all sat in the back of Richie’s truck star gazing.
While they talked I lay down in the back of the truck just looking at the universe, trying to drink it all in.
Thursday night as I sat on Magic Mountain I really had to choke back the tears as I let in God’s beauty that He shares for the world to see. I could write this column and never portray what I really felt, so I guess I have said enough.
Friday, I went to Golden Apple to pick up some green beans, and a beautiful lady recognized me from this contraption called Facebook. Sue Holbrook, it was so nice to meet you.
I wasn’t feeling too perky so I spent a relaxing afternoon.
We ventured to Joe Pack’s for a bite to eat, then enjoyed a custard from Halcomb’s custard stand, which has the best custard in the whole U.S.A.
Wayne and Kim Watts, I owe you an apology. I knew your face but I could not place you and was too embarrassed to ask.
Wayne, I still have your thank you letter you wrote me in thanks for a poem I sent to you and about 20 other soldiers when you served this great country we live in.
Kim, if I am correct in my thinking, you helped some sweet lady publish a book. In fact, I met you and Wayne at Blackey Days.
I wanted to come back Saturday to tell you how sorry I was for not being more talkative.
Friday evening, we met up with Mike and Marcia Caudill then ventured to Campbell’s Branch Community Center to see Will Caudill & Route 7.
A good time was had by all. I even attempted to try the two-step, as a square dance caller sort of taught me a little. I am as awkward doing the two-step as a bull with three legs. You’ll notice I didn’t say heifer!
I finally did relax enough to not step on someone’s feet.
Now Marcia Caudill sort of told an itty-bitty fib, as she said she didn’t know how to two-step. As I was dancing I got dizzy, so I asked Marcia to finish the dance with Ricky. Oh my goodness they were so relaxed together and danced great.
A group was there from Ohio State, which is connected to the Appalshop. Last year part of this group was at my favorite place, the Carcassonne Community Center. A couple of girls recognized Mike Marcia, Ricky and me from a year ago, which was very nice.
Saturday, I stopped by Save-a-Lot and as I got out of my car to my surprise there was a high school friend from Kingdom Come High School when I was 13 years old, Genita “Cornett” Calihan and her beautiful granddaughter. It was a very good visit seeing Genita again.
Sunday morning, Ricky invited me to church at Premium Baptist. This is the second time I have attended there and everyone is really friendly.
Now remember this is two Sunday in a row for me to attend church, and so far the roof hasn’t caved in!
The biggest and most meaningful surprise was yet to come for me.
Someone walked in and I really had to do a double take. My mother’s half-sister, Ruth Gibson, walked in. My goodness, Ruth may be a half-sister, but she looks more like Mommy than her full sister.
I will say this before I finish describing how precious it was too see Ruth again, that it is a good thing the preacher wasn’t calling the altar call as it is down at the end of church. I may have been the first one there, I was so overwhelmed with emotions at see Ruth.
Now I haven’t seen Ruth in such a long time, for you see Mom and Ruth didn’t get together until they were grown, then they didn’t see each other a lot, yet the love was there for each other.
Yes, Mom told us children everything about her family. I was wondering the other day about Ruth, and even thought about mentioning her name in my column. I live such an exciting life that I let it slip my wondering mind.
Ruth had given me her address and telephone number and I had misplaced it over the years.
I had forgotten that Ruth came to Mom’s funeral 22 years ago, as Mom’s funeral was a nightmare that I still don’t recall much about to this day. I do remember hearing that Ruth lost her husband to a tractor accident while working on their farm.
Ruth sat beside me in church and all I wanted to do was hold her hand, as I would glance at her.
There’s a young woman who I knew slightly as a child and she has stood out in my thoughts as being such a sweet little girl. As I said she was a child, and I can still see her long hair as she passed the house at Hot Spot where Daddy and Mommy lived. Her name is Martha Caudill Breeding. Martha’s son Randy is married to my Aunt Ruth’s niece.
I spoke to Randy briefly after church and, Martha, you have every right to be proud of this young man. Although he only touched my life for a few seconds I can tell he is a fine young man as he was courteous enough to listen to my ramblings about you.
Ray Boggs, I could have hugged you for the kind words about my dad, Clayton Hall. It gives me such a good feeling when kind words are spoken. Thank you so much
As we continued our conversation you mentioned the scenery that I have shared from my house in my column. The redbud trees are gone this morning as I write, they are just a memory.
Sometimes that i s enough to carry me through the winter months, just thinking back.
As I am writing this column I can hear the sound of a train blowing its whistle just a short distance from my house. There has been a lull of silence for a long time, but once in a while you will see or hear a train go by.
If I had my druthers I would live on a mountaintop surrounding by trees. There are two houses across the way nestled in the lush green foliage, but I have never been to them. There are three houses I can see way across the hayfield, and the two houses on the hillside. They are all family. I’ve lived here 43 years and we’ve never been in each other’s house.
I know one man and woman. The man was a Little League Baseball manager when my son played in sports as a kid.
I literally fell in love with this house and spot of land when we bought it many years ago. There have been lots of changes as the traffic is horrible as I sit on my porch, but when I want peace and quiet I have my small deck out back to sit on. I still have the wide-open space all around me.
My ex-husband said I was weird as I love to be out and about with people, but I don’t want to be surrounded by houses and neighbors.
Sunday after church we stopped at Isom at the Kwik Stop or whatever it is called for breakfast.
I was in for another surprise as Cuma Jean was working. I always get a hug from her, and I love this woman as a sister.
I am able to eat a little solid food, so I tried a small portion of peach cobbler and a potato wedge.
Amidst a pouring rain I finally headed for home. I actually thought about staying until Monday morning, but then it looked like it may rain 40 days and nights, so I headed home.
As I got almost to Jackson and I sat in traffic for almost half an hour due to an accident. I bet traffic was backed up at least five miles or more. When I finally reached Lexington the rain ended and I made it home at my usual speed.
Hello to Les and Pat and all the Wagner and the Hasty family. Pat, I know the feeling of being too tired to talk as it has finally hit me this morning. I am tuckered out.
I can’t close this column without saying how beautiful the mountains were with the few remaining redbud trees and the snow white dogwoods just beginning to cover the mountains with their beauty.
Once again my heart aches for those who have never been blessed to see this creation, and for the misplaced hillbillies who aren’t able to travel back this time of year as I know what the feeling is like.
I can remember when my brother Richie and Wanda Hall would send me pictures. Yes, pictures are wonderful but nothing beats the naked eyes to see this vision.
You can close your eyes for a few seconds to try to imagine what it is like being blind, but you can’t get the real definition because you know you can open your eyes to see.
I lived next door to an older lady who was blind, but had been able to see at one time. Anna Montgomery was her name and she was in her late 80’s. She would ask me to describe the colors of the sky, trees, etc., and I would do so. Those were precious memories for me.
I really don’t know how many times I will be able to make this trip to the mountains I call home. I will go as many times as possible.
Oma Hatton, I am sorry I didn’t get to stop by to see you. I didn’t get in touch with my niece Sue Hall as my cell phone doesn’t work and it was such a day to stay inside.
If I never get back to the mountains again, this will always stand out as a favorite memory.
Well, my yard looks almost like the hayfield across the way, and there’s laundry in my suitcase. It has finally hit me, my bones are tired.
Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030.