When my Friend, Simp met Jesus in his Jail Cell
This sad Introduction
is to tell you the truth. The three photos on this hub are NOT of my childhood friend, Simp Glenn or the house where he and his brothers lived. When Glenn was alive and I was a kid, I never owned a good camera. I hate not having the tools in order to help preserve those special people who pass through our lives. Simp Glenn was truly a special person.
His Real Name
was Simpson Glenn, who made his abode in a thick wooded area on an obscure gravel road off of Highway 187 going out of Hamilton, Ala. My parents and I traveled to visit Simp one afternoon for my dad was Simp's second cousin. Simp lived with his brothers, Quillen, Curt, Marvin, and Dovey--all would pass for the fabled "Hill People" of the old Appalachian Mountains. Except the Glenn brothers had a sharp mastery of common sense as well as a mastery of English language. Simp's only fault--if you call it a fault--was his shyness. I've seen Simp's face turn red with embarrassment at the least hint of a joke being made about him.
But Simp was a peaceful man. So were his brothers. They kept mostly to themselves only making one or two long trips to Hamilton, (my hometown), to desposit their Social Security checks and maybe buy a few (key word: Few) groceries--for they were fantastic farmers and able to live off of the land. These guys never went hungry, naked, or lack of shelter for Simp, Quillen, Marvin and Dovey (their uncle) lived in a modest house with no electricity. This was by their choice. Their other brother, Curt lived in a make-shift house built from scrap lumber and several layers of cardboard. The shack, to be honest, only looked sad to the eye, but warm and dry when Nature came wearing her latest fashions--hail, lightning, and those dangerous thunderstorms.
The Truth About
Simp, and his brothers, were not social animals. They never married or dated women. Maybe when they were teenagers or in their 20s, but not when I grew to know them from 1964 - 1973. The Glenn boys, as their friends called them, were extremely-religious for Uncle Dovey was well-read in the King James Bible and friends said that he had lost count of the times that he had read the Bible. But he and his brother, Marvin, never attended church. Never knew why. But Simp, Quillen and Curt were seldom absent from Sunday morning worship at New Hope Community Church and seldom tardy although their main means of transportation was their bicycles.
To be honest and condensed, if you needed a neighbor, the Glenn boys were for you. They would work all day long for nothing. By choice. My Uncle Dow, (whom you will read more about him later) asked them why they refused pay for work, their reply was: "The Bible," said Quillen. "says that loving money will make you evil." Dow was familiar with that scripture and was rolling in money for he saved every dime that he made. NOTE: My Uncle Dow was rich, but I can tell you that from aside of his nasty jokes and a few profanities now and then, he had a big heart.
In the Late 1980s
A meeting of two cultures and lifestyles were running head-on. The Glenn boys and Alabama State Trooper, Hamilton, Ala., native, Kenny Mays, was preparing to retire from a very successful career in keeping the highways free from crime. Mays was a graduate of Hamilton High School and worked at Munsingwear (in Hamilton) (then) the biggest textile factory in town as a forklift operator before joining the State Troopers.
In a few years, Mays joined the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (A.B.I) and in his career, helped to solve many high-profile crimes and bring many criminals to jail. Mays and his personality were made for each other. His co-workers said that with each criminal he arrested, he would smile and say (while slapping on the hancuffs), "don't take it personal, bud. This is just a job for me." That motto served Mays for years--as he was on business one day in Birmingham, Ala., and knew that a famous bootlegger and booze runner who was also from Hamilton, had met with a life-threatening accident and was a patient in The University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital.
Mays, being the caring man that he is (and now), went to see this man whose doctors told Mays that his days were about to run out, had a long talk with the banged-up bootlegger and did the unusual: had prayer for the hurting man in the hospital bed. The poor guy shook Mays' hand and said, "Ken, what I used to do was just a job, just like yours. No hard feelings," and silently went to Eternity. But Ken had asked the man about his relationship with Christ and gave his heart to Jesus before he died. Kenny Mays was like that.
One day Prior
to Kenny Mays' retirement from the A.B.I., he received a phone call from one of his friends in Hamilton who knew of the Glenn boys and informed Mays about learning about Simp having some kind of disease or severe sickness and asked Mays if he might go through local channels and see about Simp. Mays had a heart for the Glenn boys for his dad, John Mays, Hamilton, had known the Glenns for years and had passed along their stories, but Kenny had not met the Glenn boys--but was about to meet Simp in the very near future and not under the circumstances that one would imagine.
Mays learned that Simp had been visited by a few neighbors who were inquiring about his "sickness," and when asked if Simp wanted a ride to the local hospital, Simp quickly declined. "don't trust them doctors. They hurt people just to get rid of them," Simp would explain. And this was set like concrete in Simp's mind. No one, including his brothers, could force Simp to get up from his chair to see why he had not eaten solid food in over two weeks. Quillen, Curt, Uncle Dovey and Marvin, needless to say, were growing more and more worried--for as their neighbors all knew that for any of the Glenn boys to go near a hospital was rare.
The Important Meeting Between
Kenny Mays and Simp Glenn was one of the most-unusual meetings that both men had ever experienced. Mays, with a couple of his A.B.I. men, all dressed in street clothes, drove up to the Glenns' house and watched as Quillen walked out of the front door holding a .22 rifle and asked, "if we don't know you, just stay in that car and leave."
"Hey, buddy. It's me, Kenny Mays, John's son," Mays said with that beaming charismatic smile.
Quillen was stunned at Mays' confidence in opening his car door and beginning a conversation. But somehow, Quillen put down is rifle and asked Kenny what he wanted.
"Buddy, I heard that Simp was ailing some and we came to check on him. Would that be okay with you?" Mays said in the smoothest diplomatic tone of voice.
Quillen asked Mays and his men inside their home and there sat Simp grinning from ear to ear as Kenny walked to where Simp was sitting.
"Simp, buddy, what's the trouble?" Mays asked bending down to Simp.
"Awww, well, nothing real bad. I just don't want to eat," Simp replied in a shaky tone.
With Kenny's sharp gift of investigating, he found out that Dow Terry, who took the Glenn boys some fresh greens from his garden, told as a joke to Quillen and Simp about the eating the corn meal that Quillen was making from his grist mill near their home and according to Terry, this corn that Quillen had been grinding had a certain chemical in the kernels if cooked as cornbread, would slowly kill the person who ate the cornbread. And truth be known, Terry laughed with the Glenn brothers when he told them about the "dangerous" chemical and left.
Kenny knew that Simp would not be taken to the hospital in Hamilton, so he went to his investigator background and told Simp that he was going to take Simp with him and his men to see a man in Hamilton who worked for the Marion County Jail, in Hamilton, who knew about this "dangerous" chemical that had stopped Simp from eating. Mays, although he tried to convince Simp that Terry was only joking, didn't believe what Mays was telling him for Simp, the people of that generation, were not people to dispute anyone's word. Terry included.
Upon Arriving at
at the Marion County Jail, Mays with the permission of the jail personnel, let Simp sit in one of the vacant cells and let him stay where there were no other prisoners around to harass or laugh at him. Mays knew how to handle the Glenn boys.
Mays went to Simp's cell to check on him to see if he was going to be fine while Mays was going to leave to get this man who could tell Simp all about that "deadly" chemical that Terry had joked to them about in the days before.
Simp, although had not eaten in two weeks, smiled and even refused a tray just brimming with fried chicken, potato salad and old fashioned apple pie--a meal worthy for anyone serving time in jail. Mays had something more important to do. NOTE: just keep in mind that Simp just placed his food trap down on his bed and did not touch any of the great food.
While Simp just sat there in the cell, he just rested, stayed quiet and did not bother anyone or anything. And our fried, Kenny Mays DID have something really important to do.
Just When you Thought
that the end of this adventure with Simp Glenn and Kenny Mays was coming to a stop, when Simp was fully-relaxed and now laying down on his cell ready to "stack some Zs," a voice came to him . . .
"Siiimmmmp! Ohhh, Siimmmppppp . . .!" the deep voice said.
"uhhhh, errrrr, yessss, sirrrr. I am here," Simp replied and now was looking right, left, up and down. And shaking frantically.
A small silence.
"my good friend, Simp, do you know me?" the deep voice asked.
"uhhh, well, (gulp), you are . . .uhhh," Simp tried to speak, but was interrupted.
"I am The Lord, Simp. I need to tell you something," the deep voice advised.
(Simp's voice was now cracking, sweat was pouring from his hair, and he was holding himself with his arms for dear life).
"okay, uhhh, Lord. You, uhhhh, (gulp, choke, gasp), can tell . . .me," Simp said softly.
"I see that your good friend, Bro. Mays brought you a delicious tray of food---and you just turned it down. Now, Simp, I know you well. This was not a nice thing for you to do," the voice became more serious.
"uhhh, I'm sorry, Lord, I was, uhhh, not meaning to, uhhh, hurt anyone," Simp said very humble and apologetic.
"Simp, I am The Lord--and I want you to EAT--eat this trap of food as soon as I stop talking and I will bless you for being so good to Bro. Mays," the deep voice said and then stopped talking.
You and I should have seen it. Simp was chowing-down as if there were no food going to be existent the next day. Simp literally inhaled the fried chicken--some pieces with bone and all, and his fork did not stop until he ate every bite of the potato salad.
When the time was perfect, Kenny Mays came back to check on Simp only to find him cleaning the tray that once held fried chicken, potato salad and that Old Fashioned apple pie that Mays sent to Simp. And when he had finished, Simp wiped his mouth, sat up straight and asked to shake the hand of Kenny Mays.
"Simp, looks like you ate a good dinner. Good for you, but listen. If you want me to take you back home, you have to eat three good meals everyday. Is this a deal, Simp?" Mays asked.
"Yeah! Yeah! Oh, yeah, Kenny, but I have to ask you one thing," Simp said looking directly into Mays' eyes.
"What's that, Simp?" Mays asked.
"You got anymore of that fried chicken? I ain't had fried chicken as good as that since them All Day Singings at New Hope!" Simp asked with such honesty.
And as Simp was riding home with Kenny Mays, (as Mays was telling me all about this event), Simp occupied his time telling Mays all about what he wanted Quillen or Marvin to cook him for breakfast and some boiled corn for dinner and maybe some fresh cornbread.
When this story ending so well and Simp going to be okay, this made me wonder if Mays had missed his calling somehow--of maybe being in the priesthood. You know? "Feed the hungry," and all that.
Real Conclusion--Loose Endings
are sometimes a big part of any piece such as this. Do you recall that mid-way through this hub, Kenny Mays, once he had secured a cell for Simp, told him that he (Mays) had "something important to do," well this was the important thing that was engineered by Mays:
Since Mays knew the area of the Marion Co. Jail like the back of his hand for sometimes having to keep the prisoners that he and his A.B.I agents would arrest when working on cases in the Marion Co. area, so the jail had an extra big air conditioning duct--so when Simp was resting comfortably in his cell, Kenny went to the back of the jail and crawled into the air conditioning duct and crawling as silent as the wind, he crawled until he was right over the vent above Simp's cell.
Then Mays, in perfect theatrical fashion, went into this dialogue between him as The Lord Jesus and his buddy, Simp Glenn.
Obviously, the act from Mays was very successful. Sure, Mays had a very tender heart and one whom would give anyone the shirt off of his back as well as the wallet in his pants, but Mays never gave Simp an apology--for this would have defeated the entire gig that made Simp start eating and live a longer life.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery