A short story by Jim Glover of Heber Springs is our local talent pick of the week

Our local talent pick for this week is short story titled 'My First Christmas' by Jim Glover of Heber Springs.

'My First Christmas'

Christmas morning 1947 arrived at our house with horrifying screams from my dad. It was terrifying to a 4 year-old boy who had never heard anything so scary.

Our family rented a small 5 room farm house two and one-half miles southwest of Guy, Arkansas. We lived next to the last house on the gravel road. The nearest neighbor was approximately one-quarter of a mile away. We had no electricity or automobile. The house was heated with a big cast-iron wood heater in the living room and a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen. I was the middle son of three boys with three years difference in our ages.

Daddy had cut a cedar tree and we decorated it with pretty ornaments in a corner of the living room. The excitement had peaked the night before, but morning brought something entirely different.

Mom left us boys and ran to a neighbor for help. My older brother had polio in July which left his left leg and right arm mostly paralyzed. One of the neighbors came to take daddy to the hospital in Conway some 20 miles away. Daddy continued screaming to the top of his voice as they drove away.

Another neighbor lady stayed with us boys. She had a challenge putting the braces on my older brother and we impatiently wanted to see what was in the packages under the tree.

The year had been the most trying in our families' history. In April, my paternal grandfather died during a visit with us. His body was brought to our house by the funeral home awaiting the funeral. It was during this time that I first saw my daddy cry. In July my seven year old brother and 1 had a summer cold which turned out to be polio. I was spared any paralyzing effects, but my brother was not so fortunate. He had to spend much of the summer in the Children's Hospital in Little Rock which was about 60 miles from our home.

My granddad's death and my brother's polio brought my 39 year old daddy to his knees. He had never needed the Lord until my brother's hospitalization. The heartaches and trials of the first half of the year led my dad to accept Jesus Christ during a late summer revival at the Baptist Church in Guy where his grandfather Rev. H.P. Glover pastored in the early 1900's. His brother, two years older, did likewise in a revival in his home town Damascus, some twelve miles west of Guy.

I remember the baptismal service in a stock pond across the highway from the cemetery where my grandfather and dad's infant sister were buried. The Baptist church in Damascus where my uncle was saved brought their converts to our town for the baptismal. They formed a half-circle in the pond with one preacher on one end and the other preacher at the other end and meeting in the middle. The memory is indelible. I've never seen another baptismal like it.

Most of the thrill of opening the Christmas presents had been smothered with mom and dad's absence. We didn't know what was wrong with daddy which we later learned was food poisoning. Mom had warmed over some cooked pork the night before which doctors thought caused the illness.

Daddy's salvation was genuine. I remember riding in our mule-drawn wagon to church many times. Sunday mornings were the only time we kids got to go to town. After church, we would stop at the drug store where they sold ice cream. What a treat. The ice house was next to the drug store. After getting an ice cream cone, they would get a 25 pound block of ice for the ice box. When we got home mom would brew up some tea, only a Sunday treat, for dinner with fried chicken, gravy and vegetables. I remember Sunday nights riding home lying on a pallet in the wagon bed looking up into the star-lit sky wondering about this God the preacher preached about.

Thanks to my Godly parents, Loy and Floy Glover I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior five years later.

The Sun-Times is excited to feature our local talent from Cleburne County. If you have something you would like featured as a local talent item, send it to us. Submissions can be a poem, short story (800 words or less), artistic photograph, or a photograph of a piece of art (painting, sculpture, etc). To show off as much of our local talent as possible, there is a limit of one submission per month from each individual. To submit your work, email to jjackson@thesuntimes.com. Emailed and digital submissions will take priority over handwritten or hand delivered material.