Dicy McCullough: Sunshine
Do you really know your friends? Sometimes we have a friendship with a person, but we donít really know them. Even when we think we do, there are still surprises yet to be explored. I had that revelation about a friend I met 10 years ago at Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Cleveland. One afternoon recently, while sitting in her living room, Jackie revealed things that came as a complete surprise.
Jackie Myers grew up in Salisbury, the only child of James Marcus Layfette Glasgow and Annie Rufty Glasgow. Adored by both her parents, as she adored them, she had a happy childhood. Jackie describes her dad as someone who loved to have fun, and even at times could be a prankster. She proved that point by suggesting he was kicked out of the Citadel because of a prank. ěWell, that wasnít the only reason.î She went on to say, ěHe also didnít like to study.î Even so, he knew he needed to further his education and chose Newberry College in South Carolina because it was close to home. After Newberry, James joined the National Guard and eventually was stationed in Texas. The year was 1916.
While in Texas, his unit was given orders to hunt down Pancho Villa, who had attacked the United States at Columbus, N.M. It soon became apparent, James would have the assignments of driving his commander around and also taking care of his dog. He enjoyed his duties, but it wasnít long after he was stationed in Texas, he received the call to come home because of the death of his dad. His mother had small children and needed help in supporting them. Due to the circumstances, he was given a discharge.
On returning home, James worked several jobs to make ends meet. He finally landed a job selling cakes and cookies with the Sunshine Company. He still helped his mom with finances, but found it more convenient to move to Charlotte. Salisbury was one of the towns, in his territory, and one of his customers happened to be O.O. Rufty. James delivered cakes and cookies to the store and became friends, not only with Mr. Rufty, but also with the employees. One of the employees nick-named him Sunshine, and that nickname stuck with him for the rest of his life.
It wasnít long before James realized he liked Salisbury and moved back. One day while he was walking down Main Street, he saw Annie Rufty, who would later become his wife. As Jackie says, ěI think he liked the way she walked.î He discovered she worked in one of the local retail stores, so he began to frequent the store. They started dating, and even though he was 15 years older, Annie fell in love with him, and soon they were married. On their wedding day, Annie was 24 years old, and James was 39. It took eight more years before they had a child, Jackie.
I couldnít help but be amazed at the interesting life Jackieís father led. Yet I was equally amazed at her motherís life, especially when she said, ěMy mom was lucky to be alive.î She fell in an open fireplace, face down, when she was only 8 months old. One side of her face and head were burned along with the palms of her hands. Doctors didnít think she would live, but she did. During her years in school, she faced much teasing from the children because of her scars. Even in those days, children could be mean.
Thereís no question, Jackieís mom was a walking miracle. Literally, she rose up from the ashes to have a beautiful life. Perhaps she found in James what she had been looking for, and that was a little bit of sunshine. Annie eventually was given the nickname Mrs. Sunshine, and Jackie became Little Miss Sunshine. I didnít know Jackieís mom and dad, but I have never seen Jackie when she didnít have a smile and a kind word for everyone she meets. I can only believe it was because her mom and dad taught her to find the good, not only in life, but in people. We all would feel extremely lucky to have a little bit of sunshine like that in our lives each day.
Dicy McCullough is the author of the childrenís book, ěTired of My Bath,î available in local bookstores including Creative Teaching and the Bible Bookstore, as well as amazon.com.