Merry Christmas! It is beginning to feel a little like Christmas in the Ohio Valley area as well looking like Christmas as the temperature took a drastic change.
The first part of the week was so warm you didn’t even need a sweater, now you need to pull out those long handle underwear that you’ve had packed away.
We had less than an inch of snow in this area, and in lots of places the roads were a mess, some had to be closed so they could be treated. I forgot to pull my car in the lane, and it is covered with a white mess from the road.
It is December and as written before, we’ve been lucky with wonderful unusual weather. Friday was one of the coldest mornings we’ve had in the Ohio Valley area. I must admit when I opened my door to see how cold, I wanted to shut the door and not venture out. I did wear a coat instead of my hooded sweatshirt that I wore all last winter.
With my health issues, once again I let fall disappear, as I know where a couple of persimmon trees are, along with an old-fashioned pear trees in this area. Oh well, if God is willing maybe next year.
I am just so thankful for the things I can still do, and so often I remember two years ago spending Christmas in a hospital alone. Being alone at home is a lot better than being in a hospital room, watching people going up and down a hallway. I will say one thing, when I am so sick in a hospital sometimes all I want to do is be alone when I am so nauseous.
I came to the realization that I am not the only one who feels like this. Pat Wagner, I am glad you are on the way to feeling better.
I’ve been meaning to mention something for a couple of weeks and forgot. Ann Calihan’s cousin Sue lives in Indiana and reads my column in The Mountain Eagle. You were at Bill Ison’s funeral. Please get in touch with me.
I am sorry I missed you, as Ann said you left just a few minutes before I arrived. Johnny and Ann Calihan are still trying to adjust to the loss of Ann’s brother Bill. I know from experience there will be so many times that Ann will reach for the phone to call Bill, and to wait for his touch on the doorbell.
There were special times that the two of them shared for so many years. How my heart breaks for this special person called Ann Calihan. I tease her and tell her she blew the breath of menace in me when she blew in my mouth to cure the thrash when I was an infant.
I also love to tease the children and tell them that Ann held me long before she held them. Oh yes, I love this family.
Hello to Hayward Day and his beautiful daughter Kim, who looks like her mother more each time I see them
Before I forget it, please keep Johnny and Ann’s daughter Sue Wagner in your prayers. Sue is facing health issues. Sue and I can relate to not being able to eat the things that our taste buds are craving. Once again I will say thank God I am not on a feeding tube, and I will never be as long as I can prevent it.
In my column last week I mentioned the names of my great-grandparents, Will and Nance Coots, and it seems I left some names out. The names were Boyd, Henry Carl, Ida Holbrook, Martha Jane Cornett, and my grandmother, Betty Adams Barton. I remembered the name of Carl Coots, somehow, but I couldn’t place who his dad was.
I am just thankful that Mommy talked to me as a child of her growing-up days, and more thankful that I have retained the information.
Thanks, Johnny Calihan, for the refresher course. I knew I could count on you.
When we kids were very young, Daddy had an old car. He took Mommy and us children to Linefork or Defeated Creek to visit Martha Jane, and that was the only time that I actually remember meeting her.
I do remember meeting some people called Abshers who were related to her.
I will always be grateful to Jr. Calihan for sending me a picture of Mom and Ira Calihan before Mom and Daddy were married. Bud Whitaker, who is the son of my beloved little mountain mama Alma Whitaker, sent me a picture of Dad when he was young, I have them sitting on my little electric fireplace. These pictures are precious to me.
As I am trying to decorate my house for Christmas, memories flood my soul, even with a divorce. I recall my ex-husband’s and my first Christmas together and our first Christmas tree.
Of course we had a real tree with just a couple of strands of lights, a couple of boxes of ornaments, and a box of silver icicles. Jack bought me an angel as a tree topper, and that same angel has decorated my tree for all these years.
This year as I place it on my tree, the tears will flow, as I let the memories come through. I can find the good memories do outweigh the bad.
There’s always a longing to head for the mountains of eastern Kentucky at Christmastime, then I realize that I have no one to go back to spend Christmas with as my family is gone.
When I return to the mountains, I plan to visit Denny Amburgey’s store at Roxana as the place holds special memories for me, and I understand it still gets quite busy. I wonder if Denny sells the old-fashioned candy as of years ago?
Yes I have my niece and her husband Mart and Sue Hall, and although I love Sue like my own child, I still miss my brother Richie Hall so much. Yes I miss the other siblings, but as I’ve said, Richie was almost my child.
If I knew what and where Santa Claus was appearing and the weather permits I would be tempted to drive back to the mountains to see this.
Mike and Marcia, please be kind enough to send me a picture.
Polly Ison Maucher decided to try one of my tricks, sitting down hard on the floor. Polly is very lucky that she didn’t get hurt as somehow she really took a hard fall. Polly is bruised and very sore. Polly, I hope how soon this passes for you. The only reason I haven’t been hurt is I like to laugh and say, I am too close to the ground.
Doug Ison, it was very good to see you again. Sow all I need is to see that brother of yours.
Michael Ison, you know it is very cold, and of course I want to hold your hand. Oh wait a minute, if I recall right, you held my hand while the blessing was said, and then you just kept holding it as we talked. Merry Christmas to Frick and Frack.
Doug and Michael Ison spent some time in New York visiting Michael’s daughter Brooke and her husband Jeff Rauskauk and children. I know Michael spoils those two grandchildren while they are with them, and I bet Doug does too.
Both Doug and Michael picked up a virus while they were visiting New York. On second thought, Michael, let’s wait until warm weather, and then you can hold my hand.
Sunday was the Old Time Fiddlers Christmas party. It was a huge success and there was enough food and plenty to spare. Hayward Day, I wish you and Kim had been able to attend as you sure would have enjoyed the music.
Our Christmas party is always a fun time, but I believe this year was more special than any before. The musicians played more Christmas music, and there was something very special about it. You had to be there to know what I am meaning.
My granddaughter Jodi Gray came to spend some time with us. As you know that was a special time for me. My only complaint is watching others eat the delicious food.
Frances Jackson made a blackberry cobbler, and I did take about a tablespoon of that wonderful cobbler. I could have eaten half of it. Marlene Steuver baked a homemade apple pie and, no, I didn’t touch it.
I made potato salad, and after it was finished I tried to get a couple cubes of potatoes without the pickles and onions to see how it tasted, and needless to say that was a mistake.
As I was making the potato salad, I recalled after Mom heard of potato salad, Mom made mashed potatoes then added onions, pickles then mixed together. Mom sliced boiled eggs and placed them around the bowl of the mashed potato mixture. When I went home, Mom fixed a bowl, it was really good, and looked very pretty.
As I have written before, Mommy didn’t know how to cook a lot of fancy things, and we didn’t have the money either, but we never went hungry. We had two good meals a day. I will never understand why we didn’t have a lunch, but we would somehow manage to find leftover biscuits or something to tide us over.
What I wouldn’t give for just one more hour with Mom and Dad and my siblings.
As I am writing this column, for some reason my thoughts return to the Christmas candy of childhood, which was available in this area for some time. How many remember the chocolate, pink, yellow and white coconut bonbons, the large chocolate drops with the white center, and the peppermint barber poles?
Daddy would get a hammer and break the barber pole for us kids. I remember the mixed nuts, the walnuts. I believe the proper name was English walnuts, and Brazil nuts.
Oh the days of being a child in the mountains I loved and still love so much. I would like, just for a while, to know the innocence. Well again, I have a lot to do.
Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030.