Whitesburg KY

Visit to mountains bring joy, sadness

Southern Ohio

Hello once again!

I will long remember this spring for I can say I was in the mountains of eastern Kentucky that I love so much and have always longed to go back each spring, and never got to go.

I think I made up for it as I spent a very wonderful Friday evening at Campbell’s Branch then a glorious time on Saturday seeing the colors of spring unfolding, even being at the right time and place to be there, when my sister Loretta Church was admitted to Whitesburg Hospital.

The following Friday I was fortunate enough to once again combine the pleasure of seeing God’s coloring book as I took a trip to Pikeville to see Loretta in Pikeville Medical Center.

I have so many regrets that I didn’t stay longer with Loretta. Later I found out that Loretta had told someone on the phone that she was afraid, and this will always haunt me. Had I known this I would have gone and stayed night and day with her.

I will live with regrets for a while as I have her birthday card and Christmas card that were never sent. I don’t think Loretta knew how much I loved her as I just took for granted she would be there, but then I really think she did know and I know she loved me too.

I will go to my grave knowing that I never stole a cent from her, or my mother, or any of my family.

Loretta was such a mild natured person that she would let anyone treat her any way when all she wanted was love, and it was from the wrong people who took advantage of her gentle ways.

I would fuss at her as I knew what was going on. I wanted what was best for her and I was bossy at times. Mother was a lot like Loretta, even when she knew that someone was stealing her blind and she didn’t have enough money to buy food she still didn’t want anything said.

I want to say a heartfelt gratitude to Shawn Stamper for coming by Tuesday to sing at Loretta’s visitation, and, Larry Roark, thank you so much.

Tim Amburgey and Eli Smith and a couple of others that I didn’t think to get your names, anyone who was there, your words of kindness and presence are appreciated.

I want to say a special thank you to the staff at Letcher Manor Nursing Home for the care that was given to Loretta.

Diane, Roma and Donna, I know their maiden name was Hogg. I really appreciate the kindness you showed to my sister for so many years.

I do not know all Loretta’s friends who came to visit her, but I do know that Jr. and Loraine Kuracka are a couple who go to Letcher Manor to visit, I think, everyone there.

I guess Loretta got the last laugh as I so graciously got upset over an incident during Loretta’s last few minutes at Letcher Funeral Home and had to walk outside as I couldn’t bear to see the lid close on the casket.

I decided to drive my car to the cemetery, and I found enough common sense to call someone for advice about the road as my car is very low to the ground. For once in my life I listened to someone’s advice instead of acting on my first instinct.

However I accidentally hit the button on my door panel. With the motor running, plus with my purse sitting on the seat, the doors had locked. No one knew or seemed to care about my predicament, as I watched the car in front of me pull away.

I missed seeing my only sister laid to rest in her final destination.

Then the rain came to hide the tears that would have been falling, had I not been to darn hurt to cry.

About that time a young man decided to dash across to the parking lot, and I asked if he knew the Whitesburg Police telephone number, he said “No,” but he was going there.

Just in a blink of an eye the young man dashed back across and inside, and came out with a huge umbrella.

Thank goodness there was just enough room that I was covered by the eaves of the building, and I did have enough sense to get out of the rain.

Had it been dark and the mood I was in, I might have done what I have joked about, I might have gone running naked through the rain.

In a few minutes a very nice policeman had my door open.

Thanks so very much as I forgot your name, actually I think Profitt was your last name. However I will never forget your kindness.

Evidently, funeral arrangements were put on radio and television that Loretta would be at Cowan Church, but they had to be held at Letcher Funeral Home. Oma Hatton drove to Cowan Church and sat for a long time since there was nothing posted.

I decided to stay an extra night instead of driving back in the torrents of the rain.

I called Oma and we had a late lunch or early supper at Dairy Queen. I was so upset I couldn’t eat so I had a late night snack as I took my food back to the motel.

Oh I forgot, Oma and I did have dessert. It was such a pleasure spending time with this beautiful lady.

Sometimes I have a silent phase. I tell myself, God, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

Since I needed this very much in a very difficult situation, Oma was there to remind me. I know you Hatton clan know how lucky you are to have a close-knit normal family!

I had a couple of highlights in a dark and dreary time as I stopped by The Mountain Eagle office.

Once again I got to talk to my aunt Ruth Adams Gibson. Oh how I wish she and Mom could have been closer while Mom was alive.

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting lovely Pam and a special treat to meet her sister, Cathy. Oh I hope I didn’t get her name wrong!

I was given some very good advice: not to talk to truck drivers or anyone with tattoos. Cathy, that remark brought me more joy than you will ever know each time I passed a trucker. Only Pam, you and I will know what I mean by that remark.

Freddie, it was very nice meeting you, too.

There’s a young man who helped make this trip very nice, Cody who works at Super 8. Thank you for your courteous way of dealing with people. Some people sure could take lessons from you as young as you are.

Mr. Asher, it was very nice to talk to you though I had no idea who you were when I started teasing you.

My brother Jerry and Mattie asked me to stay with them, and it may sound selfish, but sometimes I enjoy the time alone.

There’s something about the little creek out back of the motel, the birds singing at 5 a.m., and a hot cup of coffee while I sit alone that is so relaxing.

Actually I am plotting to see what mischief I can get into!

I visited Golden Apple for green beans, and this is a very nice, clean place, especially early in the morning, and the lady who worked there was so sweet.

I stayed around long as I could to let Jerry and Mattie sleep and then decided I had to head back to the flat land country.

After a brief visit with Jerry and Mattie, I was on my way. I found WMMT on my radio and cried half the way to Hazard as Bob did a tribute to Loretta.

Once again I changed directions and traveled across Daniel Boone/Hal Rogers Parkway to I-75 and decided to stop by Livingston to see redbuds and dogwoods.

I took that route home as I wanted to see every bit of redbud and dogwood trees as my eyes, heart and soul could take in.

Livingston is a little town that has fallen by the wayside over the years, but I love it as it is not developed into commercialized. I have been there when it looked as if you could have walked on top of the dogwood trees they were so thick and beautiful over the slopping hillside as this area has rolling hills and not mountains like in my beloved eastern Kentucky.

While driving through I stopped at a small business called Lil’s only to find that J. C. and Lil didn’t own it any more, so I decided to stop by their house.

I met a young, 14-year-old girl with more health issues than she needs. Readers, we don’t realize how lucky we are to have healthy children and grandchildren. Nor how fortunate we are (me) to be able to get up and to walk and go.

Before coming home I drove to see Doyle and Betty Ison at Aurora, so you might say I had a full day.

Saturday evening, I went to Front Street Cafe at New Richmond to see Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers. It was a very difficult decision to make as Special Delivery Bluegrass Band with none other than Tony Hale was playing at Hunter’s Pizzeria, plus it meant not seeing my extended family, Les and Pat Wagner, along with Larry, Becky, Polly Hasty and beautiful little Kelly.

Hello to my two young readers. John and James Ison. in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Sunday morning. I drove to Fairborn, to spend the day with Norma Ashcraft since it was OKI Bluegrass Jam time. It was good to see several old friends and to talk to everyone.

Johnny and Ann Calihan, along with their daughter Carol, spent a few days visiting with Sue and the family in South Carolina. I will give you updates when I catch up with Ann later.

My sympathy goes out to the late Ike and Vera Mitchell family in the loss of a brother who resided in the Columbus, Ind. area. I remember several of the family from Kingscreek. Billy Ray Mitchell, you and I were in class together at Kingdom Come High School. I remember Pearlie, Willkie and ‘little Minnie,’ as she was called.

Ike and Vera always had the most beautiful garden that ever grew in the mountains, and the son who lived in the old homeplace sure carried on the tradition.

Gwen Huff Farmer, I hope you are doing well. I am sorry to neglect you. Give me a few days to bounce back.

Once again thanks to everyone for your kindness.

I forgot to shut my cell phone off since I don’t get reception down in the mountains. My son Keith Ballard decided to call to check on me, and so help me right during the funeral service my phone rang. It was really ironic as he was concerned about me.

Friday, my two-year-old grandson Kyle Nottingham finally got his cast off. Afterward he wanted to shoot a game of basketball, and after the game, he pointed to a chair on he porch and told me to, “Sit down, now!”

My daughter asked him what does she tell him? They have a teasing game, and she will tell him to mind his own business. Well, Kyle said for me to, “Mind your business.” This kid is too smart for his own good.

Frieda, don’t envy me for getting in my car and going. One of these days it will come to an end, but until then I am not going to sit and grow old gracefully as long as I can move and afford gas.

Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Road, Harrison, Ohio 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com, telephone: 513- 367-4682.

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