“Pap” was the best story teller. We’d beg him to tell us a story until he’d surrender, spit his tobacco juice one more time and launch into it. “Well, Punk McCartney and Ancil Anderson were here at the farm one time and Punk got it in his head he wanted to ride a cow. So Ancil and I worked until we got a rope and saddle on one ole girl. She was a sassy one with horns. As quick as Punk got in the saddle, away she took off up the field. Crazy thing is, in her hurried take off she accidentally caught her horns in Ancil’s galluses (suspenders). That cow snorted and carried on while running around wildly. Ancil looked like he’d rather be turned loose but Punk was having the time of his life. Finally Ancil’s galluses broke free and Punk jumped off after a while. We didn’t try that anymore but we sure talked about it several times after that.”
Pap’s glory days were fun to hear about and I imagine each generation has their own adventures. l asked mom what wild times she and Aunt Hilda had growing up and she told me a story about rolling a big rock down the hill and it tore up the fence above the barn. I’m not sure if they simply lived quiet lives or if this was all she was willing to give up for the article. For sure their daughters had more spirited stories to share, mostly because Cousin Brenda could talk me into anything. I’ve already written about us going down the flooded Holly River on a tractor tire tube. Another time at a craft show in Ripley, WV one Fourth of July weekend, she convinced me to put on these hot pants featuring Old Glory. I pranced around and when a group of state troopers walked past mom’s basket booth, Brenda had them all salute my hot pants!
And then there was a time between October 1990 and June 1992 we thought it would be an adventure to see for ourselves the true events happening at the Ravenswood Aluminum plant. I still can’t believe we were allowed to go, but there we were in the midst of it. We met some friendly, colorful characters who shared about the escalated labor dispute and all the health and safety concerns, union efforts, scabs, and how the workers pooled resources to survive what would be a 20 month strike. We also learned what jack rocks were…and didn’t realize the probable danger zone we’d entered until we were looking back on it. I’m glad my glory days included that adventure.
Some of us still use the old-fashioned phrase “Glory Be!” to reflect shock or surprise. Others say “To God be the glory!” showing honor in a moment of praise. Glory is used multiple times in scripture as well. Who hasn’t stepped out on a starry night and looked up to realize the fullness of Psalm 19:1. “The Heavens declare the Glory of God…” The most significant use is when glory refers specifically to God’s presence The Holy Spirit, like in a pillar of fire, or a cloud that guided and shaded in the desert and later filled the temple. It is this Divine presence that I wish for all of us to experience in the upcoming new year. Jesus told his friends if they believed, they would see the glory of God. What if we just need to believe more?
I’ve never ridden a cow like Pap’s friends, and my adventures nowadays have been reduced to helping my sister cut her chicken’s toenails (which can be quite lively if you don’t know what you’re doing.) But I can leave you with this: Whether the stars are in the heavens or on your hot pants, use it all for the glory of God…and may all our days be Glory days.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel