Whitesburg KY

Struggle with watermelon was sure worth it

Southern Ohio

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope some of the rain we have been getting in our area is coming your way as well as some of these beautiful hot days!

Gee, I am ready for a rest. I went to the Picking For Memory Bluegrass Festival at Sparta. As usual Clayton Durham & The Bluegrass Addition Band did a great show. I decided to go back and help out, so I packed the van and went back to Sparta. I have to share something funny with you.

I went to the store and purchased a watermelon. I was transferring things from my car to the van, which was parked on a grade, when I sat the watermelon down. I looked for it and couldn’t find it. Somehow it rolled under the van and got lodged under some pipe. I tried to pull it out with the handle of my umbrella. I had on white Capri’s and I had to roll them above my knees. I finally managed to drag it close, then it got lodged between the frame and the front tire.

After such a struggle it sure was a good tasting melon. You might say I earned the right to munch on it.

Karl Shiflett did a great job; he is a fine entertainer. Before the show Karl was running around in a pair of bib overalls looking just like a good old country boy.

Chris Hill, who is local to the Cincinnati, northern Kentucky area, picked banjo for Karl. He plays claw hammer just like Ralph Stanley. Chris has picked with Clayton’s band several times.

Tommy Brown & County Line do a great job of entertaining the crowd. Tommy is a big cut-up. His band is a family band, which I really like to see. So often entertainers seem to forget they have a little wife waiting at home!

I met so many nice people at the bluegrass festival. While Myrna Murphy and I was working at Gate 2, we heard a train and Myrna said, “There’s that man who puts pennies on the railroad tracks!”

I looked in the direction and sure enough, here came a man and he told me he does this all the time. His name is Ken Schmidt. He lays a few pennies on the tracks, lets the train run over them, then he goes back and picks them up! He gave me two; they are flat as a fitter, and sort of oval!

There was a guy at the festival, Watson Baker. Everyone thinks he is Sonny Osborne. Dean Osborne even teased him.

Thanks to Jack Berry and Gertrude for sharing their camping spot with me.

I thought I had ruined a pair of gym shoes. It came a rain so bad it made the tent area a mess. I didn’t realize I had walked in mud and when I got home my good shoes were caked with mud. Just as I was about to throw them away, I thought I would try washing them in the washing machine. It looks like they are brand new. My daughter asked, “Didn’t they shrink?” I laughed and said no. I wouldn’t have cared, since they are a 5 1/2, and I can wear a 5!

My little granddaughter, Sarah, is going to be nine years old July 29 and wears shoes bigger than me, also my great-granddaughter, six-year-old Samantha Gray, has a pair of the shoes that kids wear that you just slip your feet in. I can get hers on; my toe comes to the end. My feet are the only thing small, sure not my mouth.

My brother, Richie Hall, called me bragging about how he and his wife, Wanda, had some fresh peas, new potatoes and lettuce and onions from Bruce Jones’s garden. I told Richie I was busy and didn’t have time to listen to him. He is as mischievous as I am, almost!

Our sister, Loretta Church, has been admitted back to Central Baptist Hospital at Lexington. My son, Keith Ballard, and I went to see Loretta. This was the first time she had seen Keith since he was a kid.

Another day I went back to Lexington to be with Loretta as she had to have a stent put in her leg. The doctor is trying to save her foot, which may still have to be removed in a few weeks.

Loretta has been bedfast since the car accident almost a year ago. My heart goes out to her, since our brother, Wallace Lee, has both legs off.

I had to go for some blood work, then I went to Anna’s to baby-sit. I took care of three of my grandchildren, plus three that Anna takes care of. Did I say something about needing a rest? Anna is the one who needs a rest!

I received a call from Roy Kaiser, who is originally from up the road from Whitesburg. When Roy was young, his family lived at Whitaker, close to our grandparents, Alec and Rosa Hall. He remembers our uncle, Lee Hall, and our daddy, Clayton Hall, also three of Dad’s sisters, who are probably Opal, Bertie, and Victoria, since our Aunt Tena was the baby of the family.

I remember hearing that Aunt Opal was married to a Kaiser, Bill Sparks, and Riley Young, who is the father of my cousin Marcella Young.

Roy Kaiser graduated from Fleming-Neon High School in 1955. He has fond memories of some special friends. He mentioned Tom Wright, William Kincer, Morgan Elkins, and I think he also mentioned Joe Kincer.

Roy now lives in the Dayton, Ohio, area. He has two daughters that still live in the Jenkins area. It was really nice talking to him about my grandparents and Uncle Lee. Roy and uncle are about the same age!

I talked to Ann Calihan. All her family are doing pretty well. Johnny is still trying to get their garden to produce; maybe this rain will help, unless it has come too late.

Gwen Huff Farmer has green beans already. She said this is the first time she has ever had white half runners before the Fourth of July. Gwen also got two cabbage heads, one weighed nine pounds, the other 10 pounds. This was after they were cleaned up.

I haven’t talked to my good friends, Betty and Doyle Ison, as I have been really busy.

Betty and Barefoot Bill Kelly, my sister Loretta said hello to you.

In the July issue of Kentucky Explorer there’s a picture of our great-grandparents, Will and Nance Coots, of Big Branch, Roxana.

Thanks, Emma Engle, for the picture of you and me taken at Pine Mountain Grill. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Hello to all the girls at Sterling Research. Rhonda Morgan’s little grandma, Sammie Adams, hasn’t been feeling too well. I wish Sammie and Marie Back could get together.

Hello to Bruce Jones and to Levine Jones. Levine Jones and his two sons gave many years of their lives to our country. Among the three, they spent 50 years in the military!

Levine has called Bristol, Tenn., home for several years. He still has to ramble back to Ingrams Creek ever so often. I hear Bruce Jones is an awfully good cook. Levine and Richie Hall both brag on his cooking. Bruce, I was tempted to leave the good part off. Just kidding. Bruce cooks Sunday dinner for his family.

Hello to my little extra mountain mama Alma Whitaker and her family.

Shirley Wells, I hope to see you sometime soon. Thanks for the use your camera. Shirley is planning on spending the Fourth of July with her family

Well folks I must get this on its way to The Mountain Eagle. It seems like my fingers aren’t moving as fast as I want them too.

Keep in mind the Letcher County Day, in Harrison, Ohio. September 29, 10 a.m. to ? Look in the reunion section.

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

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