From the Mouth of Joe Glover: Where the Heck is the Missing Finger? (WW I)
Although I was only 12 years old in 1910, I left my mama and sisters and traveled to West Texas. Was I scared? Heck yes! I didn’t want to do it but my older brothers convinced me that leaving home would be the best way to help the family survive. I joined my brothers in a dusty little town called, Pecos, Texas. We lived with our Uncle Bob Couch.
Even in quiet little Pecos, people began to talk about going to war in Europe. In 1914, Preston and Holsey joined the army. As soon as I turned 16, I followed them by joining the navy. Mama was devastated. All three of her sons shipped off to war. No one knew what would happen or how long the war would last.
Being in the Navy was exciting for a small town cowboy. I was seeing the world. I was serving my country. I was standing up for something I believed was right. I had become a man! As soon as I decided my manhood was fully developed, I decided it was time to visit some bars and find out what the other side of life was all about.
One evening, I sat in a bar with some of my Navy buddies. At a table near us, some Marine guys sat drinking, cursing, and ruining the atmosphere. We were all handling the situation ok until one guy began saying nasty lies about the courage of the sailors. That was too much. I knew I had to defend my manhood and our honor.
Ok — I was a little drunk. Even so, I knew I was fighting well. About that time, it seemed like a good idea to gouge his face. It seemed like a winning move but in the process, my finger ended up in the other guy’s mouth. Oh—my—gosh! He bit my finger plum off. All fighting ended as we both stared at the bloody stump where my finger had been only a second earlier. Where the heck did the finger go? Did he swallow it? Did it fall on the floor, never to be found? I never knew. What I did know was that my bar fights were over.
Joe Hennon Glover (Dec. 1898 – August 24, 1984)