Thelma Lou ate a Bible.
No, wait. Let me back up. Thelma Lou ate an heirloom Bible. In fact, she ran through a hayfield with a Bible in her mouth.
That’s right. Read that again if you need to.
It bears mentioning: I have seen some big things in my day. I’ve seen a man survive two hundred amps of electric shock. I’ve seen the world’s biggest ball of twine in Cawker City. I’ve shaken the hand of a man who played bass for Hank Williams. And once, in Freeport, Florida, I watched Chubbs Anderson lie down in the center of the main road for forty minutes after midnight without a single car rolling by.
But I have never seen a dog carry the Good Book in her mouth.
It all started at my buddy’s farm. My pal’s place is a secluded spot with a few wooden sheds, pastures, and some cattle.
His place is perfect for dogs who need to stretch their legs, and it’s located a convenient four and a half hours away from my house.
When we arrived, I opened the door and Thel became a dematerialized black-and-tan streak, moving at the speed of sound. She was running to greet one of her canine friends.
Boobie (a derivative of “Boob”) is an eight-month-old bluetick hound with more energy than a nuclear power facility.
His name was originally “Boo,” but my friend’s two-year-old daughter kept putting a “B” on the end of the name. “Boob” became “Boobie.” And on special occasions: “Bobbie Boobie Boo.”
The day started off good. Together, Boobie and Thelma Lou had a big time. I sipped sweet tea and caught up with a friend, and watched my dog engage in positive, character-building canine activities, including:
Digging, running, chewing on the bare legs of defenseless children, chewing residential siding, chewing tin cans, chewing automobile tires, urinating on flowers, eating the aforementioned flowers, and of course, carrying the Gospel.
The Bible incident went like this:
My friend’s daughter came marching through the house with Thel trailing her—well, actually, Thel was dangling from her shirttail.
Then, I saw Boobie lock his eyes on the leatherbound book on the sofa table. And what happened next can only be described as an event that was every bit as spiritual as it was awe inspiring.
Boobie leapt onto the sofa table. The Bible flopped on the floor. Then my Thelma Lou lurched forward and fit the entire Word of the Lord into her mouth, and they both tore off.
And we all screamed.
“NONONONONONONONONONONONOTHELMA!” I said.
“NONONONONONONONONONONONOBOOBIE!” said my friend.
But they didn’t hear. Thel sprinted out the open door with her sidekick Boobie, following her, heading for God-Knows-Where. The mission field, maybe.
My friend used a very bad word, then said, “That’s my great GRANDMOTHER’S Bible!”
Thus, we chased them on foot. We ran through a wide open field, screaming and clapping at the same time.
Which is a necessary skill all dog owners have. We dog-people like to clap whenever we shout our dog’s name because this effectively alerts onlookers that we are complete toadstools.
So, today I had better things to be doing than chasing a dog across a million-acre farm. After all, I’m a writer—sort of. I have things to write about, places to go, people to meet. But instead I watched two hounds pretend to be Paul and Silas.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that we finally got the Bible back, unharmed. And while I write this, Thelma Lou is chewing on one of MY books in my backyard. I’m watching a black-and-tan puppy devour my paper-bound stories to pieces.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m really sorry about my friend’s great grandmother’s Bible.
But I hold Boobie personally responsible.