Whitesburg KY

Years ago, Roxana residents didn’t have Christmas trees

Southern Ohio

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is safe from this coronavirus. Praying it hasn’t affected you or your loved ones.

Have you gotten your menu planned for Christmas dinner? I hope everyone has gotten presents bought and wrapped and placed under the tree.

Years ago I would always wait for Christmas Eve just to purchase a couple of things so I could feel the magic of shopping. Now I just give money or gift certificates, as I don’t feel like doing anything.

It doesn’t seem possible that Christmas has slipped up already. this has been the fastest month that I’ve seen since all this coronavirus pandemic has evaded our world.

As I start preparing this column, again my nimble brain travels backwards to my early years childhood at Roxana. I look at my Christmas tree along with the few decorations I have been able to put around in my living room. Oh how I long for simpler times, even though they were hard, then I wonder compared to what?

As that was all we knew along with others in that small place Roxana, which will always be home in my heart. There were no decorations, no Christmas tree, no stockings hung anywhere at our house, not very many years with a single present.

Dad would go to Amburgey’s Grocery that was owned by Jr. and Bernice Adams, always get big beautiful shiny Red Delicious apples, a bag of mixed nuts, pink, yellow white and chocolate, bonbon’s along with huge chocolate drops.

I can still see a huge peppermint barber pole that would last for a long time. It was so big you had to break it with a hammer.

Dad would get two coconuts into which he would drive a nail with a hammer, then Mom would pour the coconut milk in a glass, and us kids would get a sip of the milk. Yes, we drank out of the same glass.

The hammer was used to break the coconuts in pieces, oh I can almost smell and taste the sweetness of the coconuts.

I tried this with my children when they were little. It didn’t work as well with them as the memories of what I had.

I’ve written before, Mom never had the food for fancy special dinners, somehow she would have saved shucky beans to fix and a stack cake, along with fried potatoes, some kind of meat, and cornbread.

Mom always had the house spotless, us kids were kept clean, and we were fed. No, we didn’t have lots of food that other people write about, but we didn’t go hungry. Even though Mom never cooked three meals each day, we could find leftover salt bacon or biscuits or a raw potato with salt to tide us over until supper.

As far as not having Christmas decorations or a tree, I don’t recall anyone else in Roxana having any either, or very many new toys.

There’s things that I’ve read about people being so good to help each other in the mountains, I have to disagree about that. I learned to take care and to be a mother to my siblings at a very early age, and to take care of myself. That’s when the stubborn side and, as Merle Haggard’s song, the fighting side of me developed. I learned if I didn’t stand up for myself there wasn’t anyone else going to.

Actually the determination has helped form who I am today. Please don’t tell me that I can’t do something, I will show you, I can or at least give it my all in trying.

I have tried to instill the need for being independent with my daughters, to get the education when they were young so they wouldn’t have to depend on a man to support them.

That is the biggest regret I have in my life, the lack of education. Which only made me to physically work harder to survive without asking for assistance from anyone.

Although I had a semi rough marriage, simply because of trying to be told when to breathe. Really my husband resented that I was strong willed, just not strong enough to go back to get an education. He didn’t want me to work, so I have him to thank for always working regardless of what, since I never worked enough to draw much Social Security. Two years ago when I started to get his Social Security, life got a lot easier for me. I’ve been getting half his retirement for several years.

When I think back, I wonder how I’ve done the things that I have, as I worked 11 years, cleaning during the day and working evenings and weekends at J.C Penney Outlet. I had a house payment and a new car payment, plus my utilities, I didn’t ask my children for a penny.

When I divorced, I had a coal and wood furnace, which is actually still in the basement. I managed to get my own wood and coal in by using a wheelbarrow, and that meant taking ashes out.

I finally switched to coal as I wasn’t able to cut firewood, and the coal would last during the day. The house would be sort of chilly since I was gone so long.

God has given me the strength to do things that other people wouldn’t attempt, especially women.

Now on to more pleasant things. WCET, a PBS television station, has been showing the Mountain Minor movie.

Hayward Day received a phone call from his son Tim saying the Mountain Minor was coming on. Hayward really enjoyed the show, especially seeing Ma Crow. Hayward and his daughter Kim met Ma Crow a few years ago at a show in Indiana.

Hello to Bill and Mary Halcomb and their daughter Beverly. Bill, Mary and Bev enjoyed the Mountain Minor movie also.

Dale Farmer, who directed and produced the Mountain Minor, teases me, asking if I’m not tired of the movie. I really don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing it

Mike and Marcia Caudill, thanks so much for the early Christmas gift. I don’t think anything will be as special as this.

Ann Calihan will be very pleased also. Please, I will ask again, keep the Calihan family in your prayers.

Harrison Nazarene Church has lost a longtime member, Paul Randall, due to this COVID-19, coronavirus, whatever the name. Paul was 76 years old, his wife Brenda had the virus at the same time, just not as bad as Paul. For those who aren’t taking this virus seriously, you should talk to someone that has lost a loved one. The family did get to see Paul just before he passed away, that I don’t understand.

My daughter Anna and her family are coming Christmas Eve for a while. Anna said they will be wearing masks to protect me, since my immune system is weak.

Saturday evening, Vickie Power, my daughter Angie Weiderhold along with Bennie and I went to see Christmas lights at Weaver’s here local. It was drive thru only.

Afterwards Bennie wanted to go to Pyramid Hill, which isn’t too far, to see the light display. There was a line of cars, and we sat in line over an hour to get to the entrance. Oh, it was so beautiful to see.

Anna took Vickie and I a few years ago. The only bad thing, this costs $25 for a carload, or the same for one person.

That will probably be the only time I will be out to see Christmas lights.

Bennie is having such a difficult time with online school. I don’t know what keeps this child’s brain from exploding, he has absolutely no life except doing homework on a Chrome Book or laptop, whatever the contraption is called. He lies about doing his work, which makes him have to study longer!

He has no contact with anyone, as he has no friends his age. Angie is a nurse, and is paranoid he will contract the virus. That causes problems between Angie and me, as he has no life outside of the apartment walls. I can’t understand trying to live your life for the fear of dying.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, be safe, however if you have an aging parent, put that mask on, spend a little time, as they might not be here next Christmas.

No use to stand by a casket crying, after they are gone.

Hello Buddy and Bernice Grubb and their grandson Mike. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, enjoying all that good food, especially the gingerbread. I am tempted to drive back just for a day to get a couple of pieces.

Hello to Les and Pat Wagner and the whole family.

Well it is getting late and as usual, I am running behind time.

Thanks, everyone, for the beautiful Christmas cards. Remember why we celebrate this season, as Jesus is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,

Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, OH 45030, email: Bluegrassmama4@aol.com.

Leave a Reply