Whitesburg KY
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Train whistle brings reminder of coal gons



Hello again everyone! I hope all is well in your little corner of the world! It is another chilly morning in this part of the Ohio Valley area.

As I sit down to try to write this column, not far from where I live I can hear the faint sound of a train whistle blowing. It reminds me of being a child at Roxana, seeing and hearing all the trains go up and down the tracks.

When the empty coal gons were parked to be filled with coal, I’ve climbed a many time to the top and thrown coal off for Mommy and Grandma. When they were empty I have climbed inside and played in them, even balanced myself and walked around the top.

Sunday was a beautiful day, though the wind had a chill to it, at least it felt that way to me. I am still turning the furnace on to take the chill out of the house in the morning. Of course I am getting good use out of the electric blanket my daughter Kay gave me for Mother’s Day.

Kay told me she was getting me a big-screen television for my birthday, as my television is acting up at times, plus it is 20 years old. Yesterday I called Kay to tell her not to get it for me as I would have to move too much to make room for it.

Kay replied that she would move the things, but oh no, that wouldn’t work. I am just too sick to fool with the hassle, besides my television is working all right now.

Belated happy birthday to Bruce and Levine Jones. I am sorry I have forgotten the exact date. I know it was this week.

My brother Richie’s Hall’s birthday is May 26, and Bruce and Levine’s were a few days before his. It seems to me like there’s someone else who lives there on Ingram’s Creek who celebrated about the same time too.

Since Richie’s death, I hate to see my birthday roll around as he was born one day before my 11th birthday. My brother Jerry Hall’s birthday will be June 3. I miss Jerry very much.

Oma Hatton, Mattie Hall doesn’t live there any more, she lives someplace in Indiana.

Bluegrass music lost two great entertainers this past week. Carlos Brock from the Dayton area who performed with several big name bands and also local bands in northern Ohio, and James King who was a great singer and storyteller who was known far and near. I had the pleasure of meeting both of these entertainers many years ago.

Southern Ohio

In 1994/95 I was a DJ at a radio station in Cincinnati. We had to furnish our own music at that time, so I asked James King if he would like to donate a CD. James gave me two CDs, and I still have them.

Someone fixed up a place for bluegrass music in an old high school and called it Willard & Jeans. Willard brought in big name bands like Larry Sparks, Charlie Waller, etc., and even local bands. It was a great place to go when the sound was right.

Through bluegrass music I have met so many wonderful people, musicians and those like me, who just love music. Some musicians have lived the songs they sing. From the stories I’ve heard, the life of a musician isn’t all glamorous.

I even had the pleasure of meeting Loretta Lynn in the early ‘60s at a place called Winter Gardens, about four miles from where I live. I have a picture of her.

I also met George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis and several others.

Ricky Skaggs performed not too far from here before he was famous. Now you couldn’t get close enough to speak to anyone.

Why I am writing this, is that we all live, we laugh, we cry, we have our good and bad times, and then we have to leave it all behind. I hope when it is my time to go someone can say I knew her as a good person, but I know there’s a few that will remember and say she was a hell raiser.

My love of bluegrass music and enjoying Tony Hale’s Band is how I had the utmost pleasure of meeting Les and Pat Wagner, and Larry and Becky Hasty.

I really want to say a special thank you to all of Les and Pat’s family in the mountains for being so kind to ask about me, and for saying I should have called when I had the incident with my car a few weeks ago.

I didn’t have time to think of anyone I was in such a state of shock, and I still have no recollection of waking up on the embankment next to the road.

I don’t think I ever thanked the woman and man, I think the mailbox said Hampton, who tried to call a wrecker for me with no success, and then called Ricky Caudill.

Again I will never forget Ricky, Mike, and Marcia’s kindness for taking charge, as I sure couldn’t think clearly.

I finally told my children what happened. As much as this has affected me, you would have thought I totaled my car. Due to an almighty God, I was lucky.

I enjoyed a call from Geneva Longworth, formerly Meade, who is originally from the Millstone area, and now lives in Fairborn. Geneva and her husband have been married for 67 years. She is such a beautiful woman to talk to.

Betty Kelly sure hasn’t lost a bit of her mountain raising as she went to the country and found some chicken manure to put around her tomatoes, peppers, and her flowers. Betty said she is sure the neighbors are enjoying the good old country smell.

That brought back memories of Mommy using chicken manure in her lettuce bed.

I’m sure people are enjoying peas about now. Please take a bite for me as at the present I am having trouble keeping liquids down, but it doesn’t take away the longing for solid food.

There’s a lot I meant to write about, but until next time.



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