In Johnson Bottom, the lots were small So the houses were built close together Everyone knew everyone else's business And some friendships were forged forever The back of our house faced the Fletcher's back porch And the Ward family lived in the house next door Mother grew very close to June and Opal over the years The thing we all had in common was being poor Each house and lot in the bottom was fenced all around Women talked while hanging clothes on lines strung from trees The backyard fences seemed to be the gathering places Where they exchanged the latest gossip and recipes Men folk gathered on each others' back porches Or in the lane where they chewed the fat and whittled Usually talking about sports, the kids or the mines Times were simple and fun when we were little There were several hundred adults and children Crammed in the homes where coal miners were housed We kids used to try and hear what they talked about Our ears piqued and childish curiosity aroused We never had a shortage of friends and playmates there Though in different states now, many still keep in touch The adults are all gone and the kids have grandchildren It's good to have old friends that still mean so much Butler's store was to the south; Dotson's to the north And Peter Creek flowed by the east side of the bottom We played in the creek and bought goodies at the stores Treats didn't come easy and we were glad when we got 'em The adults played horseshoes; we kids played other games In the summertime, till it got too dark to see Then, with the porch lights on, and sitting in the swing The men played their musical instruments and we would sing I heard talk over the fences that I never understood And, to a little girl, didn't even make much sense I still recall the times when our parents and their friends Talked and gossiped over the old back fence Kathleen McCoy Eldridge© October 14, 2007 All Rights Reserved share my page

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