Grandpa Riley Rogers and the end of the world

William Riley & Martha Belle Horner Rogers on their golden wedding anniversary in 1958

He was plowing a field near the house one Spring morning when he heard a strange loud noise. He looked up and saw something he had never seen before. It was bright white, wings spread against the blue sky and it roared “with the voice of a thousand.” Riley abandoned his plow in the middle of the field. He rushed home and gathered his family into the house. His grandfather was a minister and Riley knew his scriptures. He felt sure he had witnessed the angels of the Lord coming to take the faithful home to heaven. He held his family close and prayed all day to be worthy.

The little girls fell asleep where they knelt on the floor.

The next day a neighbor came by to gossip about the new-fangled flying machine. Riley didn’t say a word about his day of prayer and it was never mentioned again in his presence. No one would ever have dared to tease him about it.

I was eleven years old when my grandfather died. I’m sure most of my cousins remember more about him and could tell stories we would all treasure. This is what I remember.

He wasn’t a large man, but even in his eighties, he gave an impression of strength. His hair was white, but he told me once that it used to be red. He always wore long sleeved shirts, neatly buttoned and tucked in, regardless of the weather.

After he moved to Mokane, he mowed the grass at the Pentecostal Church with a reel-type “man-powered” lawn mower at least once a week. He went to Church every Sunday. ┬áHe loved to fish. He kept several long cane fishing poles leaning against a big tree in front of his house, and walked down to the river to fish every day as long as he was able.

I never heard him raise his voice, but when he was alive there was never any doubt who was the head of the Rogers family.


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3 Responses to Grandpa Riley Rogers and the end of the world

  1. Anne says:

    Love the angel story. I can remember seeing my first hot air ballooon and being disconcerted by the noise and that it suddenly appeared as I looked up when the burner roared. If you had not been forewarned about planes I can well understand the mystery and awe.

    • carolynbranch says:

      Thanks, Anne. They lived way out in the country and were too poor to subscribe to the weekly newspaper. And Grandpa was never the kind of man to waste his time standing around visiting. I’m sure if he did hear anything about the flying machines he would have dismissed it as an outright lie. He never really accepted automobiles, never learned to drive. But he lived long enough to see Sputnik, the first trip into space.

  2. Carmel says:

    Great to have the story and the wonderful photo preserved. SImpler folks in simpler times. Reminds me of my Dad taking off his hat and leaving it at the back of St Peter’s in Rome because that’s what he did in the church at home. Needless to say it was gone when his visit was over.

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