By ROSE BALLARD
Happy early Halloween, everyone. Have you got out your long underwear yet? If you have an extra pair of hand-me-downs, gently used, you might ought to send me a pair this way. If they’re too small, I’ll get some material and add to them. If they are too large, I will just seam them down to fit, and if they are the right size, well then, I will be very grateful.
It is a good thing that my son Keith Ballard’s long underwear is so small or he just might be missing a pair or two. Now what am I saying? I am the one who makes sure he has plenty each time it starts getting cold weather.
I do remember wearing my brother Wallace Lee’s long underwear to school at Mill Branch. They were one piece and had an opening in the back. How many remember that?
One winter Daddy bought me a pair of shoes called brogans. They were high-top brown leather that had the funny things you lace them with. Oh how I hated them.
I would look at Earlene Cornett and Elaine Davis and how nice those two pretty girls always dressed. They were in the upper room, and how much I envied them, though at that time, I didn’t know the word envy nor the meaning. I remember how much I wish I could dress like them and lots of other little girls.
I have been told often and very recently that I was such a pretty young girl. That I have never felt, but I do know I was neat and clean no matter what I wore. Mom made some of my dresses and skirts, and they were starched and ironed, and lots were hand- medowns.
One time I had made enough money to buy me a pair of jeans. I loved them so much. I let a girl borrow them, and when I finally got them back they had such an odor, Mom wouldn’t even wash them. She made me burn them.
When I started working at J.C. Penney Outlet, I think I must have tried to make up for all the clothes I never had, as well as shoes. I had shoes to match every outfit of clothing I wore, whether it was blue, pink, green, etc.
I got a note from Marlene Day Blair, which I enjoyed so very much. Marlene is the granddaughter of Lloyd and Nora Day, and a daughter of M.P. and Inez Day.
Marlene said her dad remembered me as being a very pretty young girl. That is nice to hear, but he must be remembering someone else as I have never considered myself pretty.
I know my brother Wallace Lee Hall thought the world of Lloyd Day as he used to ride the mail truck with him almost every day.
I was watching a show on television about a young boy who evidently committed suicide because of kids bullying him.
It brings back memories of going to school at Mill Branch and of being mistreated when I was too young and too little to defend myself. As I got a little older it stopped — that is after I spit out a lower tooth that this boy had knocked out with a rock that found its mark, my mouth.
While I was spitting blood I picked up the same rock and it found its mark right on his forehead. After that the meanness seemed to stop.
I remember a time when my mom wasn’t home. I was only 12 years old at the time, and a grown woman who had children almost as old as me got jealous of me and decided she was going to whip me.
Well you know what, she didn’t get the job done. Yes, I was a child, but my dad had to threaten to whip my behind to make me get off top of her as I had her on the ground.
This is not a made-up story. If Ora Burke who owned Burke’s Store was alive, she would tell you as she stood and watched this and later told me if she had the money, she would have given me $50 for doing this. My dad would tell you the same thing.
It is so ironic that after all these years all this still comes back in my thoughts. Children never forget who has been good to them, and I will tell you from experience they do not forget those who have been mean either.
Over the years I have never deliberately hurt anyone but I have to tell you the honest to God truth, I am not afraid this very day to stand up for myself or others who I feel need a helping hand. Southern Ohio
I took my little sidekick Bennie Wiederhold, who is four years old, to a park to look for acorns. We walked the park through trying to find an oak tree, which Bennie calls an acorn tree. It seems the squirrels have been eating good as there weren’t any acorns, just the hulls.
On my way back I saw an oak tree next to the road in someone’s yard. I turned around, parked on the street and walked to the house with Bennie. After ringing the doorbell several times and no one answering, Bennie was ecstatic as he wanted to pick up the acorns. I did let him pick up 8 or 10 out of this yard.
Now I find out there’s an oak tree in my granddaughter Jennifer Proctor’s yard. She has moved and I haven’t been to her house.
It seems as if I am feeling better as I met some friends in Elmwood, which is in the Cincinnati area, and we danced for a few hours. Donnie Banks, who was born on Little Cowan, was playing there with a group. I ran into a few people I haven’t seen in a long time.
I met Donnie at another music place several years ago. Donnie is a good musician and a very good singer, that is for a country singer, since I love bluegrass more. Just joking, we had a very good time.
I went to Coon Hunters Club. I hadn’t been there for sometime. There was only one group of musicians, but the music was good. My friends Becky Tipton and Alphine Stacy and I danced. When you put the three of us together we are going to have a good time, no matter where we are.
Jennifer Collins and I went to the Hoosier Theatre in Vevay, Ind. to see a great band, Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers. Anyone who has the chance to see this group of ladies, I would advise you to do so as they are really great.
On the way back from Vevay, Jennifer and I had some extra excitement as several different times deer tried to detain me. Then on two separate occasions, I barely missed hitting two people who decided to walk across the highway in front of my car. The second time I was blinded by an oncoming car and almost stood my car on its front end. I told Jennifer the next time we go anywhere together she is driving.
I went to an event called Kentucky Days, which was held in Fairborn. Norma Ashcraft is originally from the Blackey area or close to it. I met Norma several years ago and we became friends instantly. During the event Norma called my name and asked me to come up on stage. I had no idea what she wanted with me, and then I was handed a certificate stating I am a Kentucky Colonel, along with a man whose name I didn’t get. I was so stunned.
Norma spends a lot of time and energy getting things ready for Kentucky Days as she has several bands which devote their time to this. I have attended this event several different years. It used to be in Xenia at a beautiful park by a small lake, which I enjoyed immensely. Kentucky Days is great no matter where it is held.
Another woman from the mountains, Hazel Williams, who is from the Eolia area, put Kentucky Days on for several years.
Norma Ashcraft is the President of OKI, which is a bluegrass music organization that promotes bluegrass music.
So you might say I have been out and about for several days.
The drive to Fairborn was absolutely beautiful as it was real early and the sun was just coming up. Then I discovered I had left my directions at home, and I was a little skeptical about getting there. I didn’t know whom to call that early in the morning, who would have access to a computer, plus I had changed purses so all my information was at home. I remembered Shirley Wells is always up early and on the computer, so I called her in Clarksville, Tenn. Shirley was asleep as she had taken a trip with her daughter to South Carolina (more on that next week).
I finally called a friend of mine who was looking it up on a roadmap and calling me back. In the meantime I was facing another problem, I didn’t know how far I would have service on my cell phone. I took a chance that my dancing partner and friend Becky Tipton would be up so I called Becky and asked her if the route I remembered was correct and she said yes.
Thank goodness for friends. My son asked me if I wanted him to stop by and get my directions, after he asked me why I didn’t just get off the highway and ask someone. I was almost positive I was okay and I didn’t want to take the time to get off an exit and back on again.
I have been to Fairborn before, but this was the first time going by myself.
The drive back was just as beautiful as the sun was going down and some of the foliage along the highway was magnificent.
Gwen Huff Farmer called me saying her sister is in the hospital. I hope she is doing better. I know Gwen worries about her family as she is so far away and doesn’t get to see them often.
I hope Clarence Halcomb had a wonderful birthday on Oct. 8. I am sorry I didn’t call you.
Ann Calihan went out to eat lunch on her birthday, which was Oct. 7, and when I called her Johnny said she was acting like it was her birthday or something since she was gone a long time. I told Johnny maybe she was going to celebrate by having supper, too.
Belated happy birthday wishes to Berma Matthews, Oct. 7. If I had known this I would have put her name on the cake since Berma came all the way from eastern Kentucky to attend this little get-together.
It just dawned on me, I don’t think I even mentioned Berma’s name when I asked the crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’
Belated happy birthday wishes to Creda Isaacs on Oct. 10. Creda writes for The Mountain Eagle, and I really enjoy her column, along with Oma Hatton and Emma Engle.
Now Oma, one of these days I just may show up at your door, and say, “Trick or treat.”
My brother Richie Hall is feeling bad again. When I don’t hear from him I know that he isn’t feeling well. I haven’t caught Wanda home long enough to talk to her as she works so much.
Hello to my brother Jerry and Mattie Hall. I hope you two are doing alright. I need to call my sister Loretta Church to check on her.
If anyone is interested I still have a few copies of my book, ‘The Beauty of A Rose’ available.
Blackey Days is scheduled for Oct. 15, and I hear this is going to be a good place to be! Will Caudill & Route 7 Band has a new CD out. I know Will and his band along with 7 South, which has Libby Day Smith and Jon Caudill, whom I refer to as my adopted son (whom I have never met) play in this band. East KY Tyme with Astor Taylor will be playing at Blackey Days too.
Well I am tired, and I wonder why!
So thanks for the visit. Until next time: Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, telephone: 513- 367-4682