Whitesburg KY
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Wishing everyone a joyous Mother’s Day



Happy Mother’s Day!

I really hope everyone has a joyous day with your families. I think about the mothers and grandmothers who spend this day alone.

The Appalachian Festival is always on Mother’s Day weekend. I have volunteered for several years at this. I am sort of undecided what to do this year.

I really haven’t taken time to write a few things that have been in my thoughts and heart since I got back from the mountains, which was supposed to be to Hillbilly Days, and I let rain keep me away. Each visit I make to the mountains is so pleasurable for me that I am able to go for a reason or not.

There was a soft rain falling Friday night as I drove slower than usual on the road from Roxana to Blackey. I sort of let my thoughts drift back in time, of how many times my little feet have walked those old roads when I was a mere child going to spend the weekend with my grandmother Betty Barton, whom I grew up calling Mom. I was probably was eight or nine years old when Mommy trusted me to walk the five miles from Roxana to Woodrock.

I’ve walked the railroad tracks, dirt roads, and across Mill Branch down Pratt Fork, which came out to the highway.

Southern Ohio

To start my journey down memory lane, I was born in the trees just above the bridge on the left from Roxana bridge. Mommy and Daddy actually lived at the mouth of the holler on Tolson Creek and later in Roxana in three separate houses within spitting distance of each other. Then after I was grown and away from home, Mom and Dad lived in Fraize Hampton’s big house. In later years they lived at Blackey, so this five-mile stretch holds a lot of memories.

We lived between Roxana and Hot Spot for about two years, and that will always be the most treasured time in my childhood away from everyone.

I left home when I was 13. Mom and Dad moved to Hot Spot when I wasn’t living at home, but I would go stay a night or two, sometimes a week, month, whatever I wanted, then head back to Grandma’s at Whitesburg, so I never had any ties to Hot Spot.

I was like a butterfly flitting here there and everywhere then left for good to never return to live.

I’ve heard and read remarks made from other people about how they were glad they got away from those mountains, even that someone didn’t feel safe at Roxana. I wish times were now as back during my childhood, when you were not afraid to let your child experience the freedom of nature.

Later in years Mom and Dad lived at Jeremiah. After Dad’s death Mom ended up at Jenkins, where she lived until she passed away in 1995.

Someone made a remark about organic gardening, which I still don’t understand even after all the talk. It really made me laugh as Mom and the other gardeners before her started organic gardening many years ago.

I can remember her spreading cow manure in the soil and mixing it before planting whatever she was putting in, whether it was potatoes, beans etc.

Mom always spread chicken manure in her lettuce bed when she could get it.

When Mom and Dad raised a hog for butchering, Mom would sometimes take her dishwater out to pour in the hog’s water pail. I can still recall something called stock powder with its sweet smell as Mom mixed it in the hog’s water and feed. I find it rather ironic how memories from so many years will still come back.

My brother Wallace Lee and I would help Mom chop down something called horseweeds too, to feed the hog.

A couple of years after I was married we lived in a four-room house not far from where I live now. The flood had gotten in our house so we took whatever was available. The small house had no water and had a little outhouse out back.

We had a huge garden, and I remember how I had helped Mom, and my husband knew a little about gardening so we learned together. We did something right as we had so much produce we sold quite a bit of green beans, tomatoes, and corn.

During childhood years I helped Mom can green beans over an open fire. There are a lot of you who remember this procedure, I am sure. Preparing the green beans, putting them in a jar, pouring water and adding a little salt after you washed the jars to make sure they were clean.

Our well had a large pump, and it was so hard to pump. I didn’t have the strength, so my husband had to get the water for me the night before.

In order to start the procedure to can the beans, you had to put rocks down to make a stand for the washtub to sit on, making sure there were room to place wood to start a fire, and making sure you had enough wood to last for four to five hours of cooking the beans.

Then came pouring water over the jars to cover them, and the jars had to be wrapped and separated by old rags to make sure the boiling water didn’t let them touch or the jars would break.

How many remember their parents, or even used Prince Albert tobacco in a can? Did you use the can for anything special when it was empty? I recall my Grandma Hall using Daddy’s empty can to put worms in it to take fishing.

I have been hearing a tad bit of gossiping going on, and it makes me wonder about the corruption that is going on in this old world, and has been going on probably as far back as time began.

I may not be a Bibletoting person that hits the church every Sunday morning and evening, but I will tell you one thing, the words of a children’s Christmas song says, “He knows when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake.”

And Ray Stevens’s Santa Claus is Watching You, well God is watching you and me also.

It seems there’s nothing sacred any more, it doesn’t matter that someone is married if they have the desire to cheat, it’s called let’s do it, regardless if there are children involved.

No wonder there are men or women killed in this situation, as people can only take so much.

There have been several deaths in surrounding areas that were attributed to spousal disagreements where cheating was involved. Even children witnessed this sad ending.

Sunday was a wonderful day for me as my daughter Anna Nottingham, her husband, Scott, and Sarah, Jessica, Katie and Kyle all came for supper. This is the first time in over a year that I’ve had them over or felt like doing any entertaining, or taken the time.

We were going to work in the yard. The girls are involved in Girl Scouts, so we just decide to have a family get-together.

I made a kettle of chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, cottage cheese, and angel food cake, which wasn’t touched.

We even had ice cream sandwiches for dessert for the grandchildren, which weren’t eaten as everyone was too full. I never even tasted the dumplings, but I had a few bites of cottage cheese.

It was such a wonder- ful time with the family. I plan on doing this again. We walked through the yard looking at my beautiful irises along my fence and surveying what needs to be done in the yard since I haven’t been able to keep up with things.

We are planning another family get-together with another home-cooked meal as a reward.

Happy birthday to Johnny Calihan on May 15. Johnny will be celebrating his 90th birthday. The family is having a party to celebrate the wonderful years, and I hope I can attend this. Johnny and Ann have been so much a part of my family, even before I was born, then a part of my immediate family for almost 50 years now.

I will elaborate on the party in my column next week.

If there’s anyone who would like to help Johnny celebrate this special time in his life, you can send him a card at: Johnny Calihan, 200 Elburn Ave., Harrison, Ohio 45030.

Les and Pat Wagner, I hope you are staying warm. Les I know you are, it’s Pat I am concerned about as I know she gets cold like me.

I haven’t talked to Doyle and Betty Ison for a few days, so it’s time I check on them.

Carcassonne Square dance will be May 13. Please attend this for a fine evening of entertainment. I am sorry I can’t make it back to the mountains for this event as too much is going on, plus my car is giving me problems since I replaced the shifter cable.

It seems that the shifter cable breaking or whatever must be a contagious disease as someone else has the same problem, except it happened in their driveway, plus they are able to fix it. Like me, they were very lucky as it could have happened on the road, especially high on a mountain as they took a trip also.

Mike and Marcia Caudill, dance an extra set at the square dance for me, and say this is for Rose as I sure will be thinking of you.

Well folks, I better bring this to an end. Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030.



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