The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Yesterday's Neighbors

By Laverne Sutton © 1985

Issue: June, 1985

(As told by an 83 year old Lady from Galax, Virginia.)

"Neighbors ain't what they used to be. Today's neighbors live near bout in your yard, yet they won't lift a finger to help you, just act as if you ain't there. Use to be, your neighbors didn't live in hollowing distance yet they always seem to know when they were needed.

I remember the time my brother caught the measles, don't know how word got around, but neighbors came from miles around, the yard was full of them, they didn't come empty handed either, they brought food, the kitchen was full, there was so much food we couldn't eat it all.

They wouldn't come in the house, to scared they'd catch the measles, but they stayed outside day and night until Willie got well. The kids was left at home, the eldest to care for the youngens.

The men went home in the afternoon to do the chores the kids couldn't do. We couldn't go outside just in case we was carrying the measles, so the men worked the fields for Pa. The women took care of the garden, chickens, and work that had to be done around the house.

Ma put the dirty clothes outside the back door, the women washed, folded and left them on the back steps for Ma to get. The cows were milked, eggs gathered, and left on the steps, water brought up from the creek, wood chopped, nothing went undone.

Now that was neighbors, can't call folks today neighbors, they're to busy living their lives, that's one thing I like about the time I was growing up, folks took care of one another.