Whitesburg KY

Caught swimming in Jenkins Lake

I had never done anything bad in my life. I worked my behind off on our farm when not at school. I was a good student and never gave my teachers any trouble. I never missed a day or was late for school even though I walked four miles round trip every day.

On weekends I played baseball on our traveling team and played at Jenkins, McRoberts and Ramsey in Virginia. I guess at that time in my young life I wanted to do whatever my friends were doing, and I became a follower and not a leader.

George Hay Cline, the chief of police’s son, and Doctor Croley’s son, Donn, suggested we go swimming in Jenkins Lake after football practice when it got dark. We took our clothes off on the other side of the lake near Poker Flat, where the men played poker most of the time.

Someone called the police on us, and they were standing on the bank with our clothes and yelling for us to get out of the water. After we put on our clothes, they took us to the courthouse where we sat for hours, waiting to see what they were going to do with us.

The judge came out and told us he was going to make an example of us and put us in jail. He talked to us for a long time about what could happen to us swimming in the deep part of the lake. I thought I would never see my family again.

The judge left and was gone a long time and when he returned he told us that he was letting us go with a warning. George Hay told Donn and me later that they were only trying to scare us. Well, they scared the pants off of this old boy.

Monday morning at Jenkins High School, that’s all the teachers and our classmates were talking about. I was never so embarrassed in my life. I was so shy in those days and it took me forever to get over that ordeal. Needless to say, I never went near that lake again.

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