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OKIE IN EXILE

Bobby’s daughter

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In Chapter 11 of the Book of Judges, there is a disturbing story about a mighty warrior named Jephthah. You’ve likely never heard it preached on, and I will neglect retelling it here. To those with an interest, I would suggest reading it before noon on a bright sunny day by themselves in a room that has a full box of Kleenex and a teddy bear. 

It is about a man who rashly swore an oath, and for reasons you will know if you read it, is called “Jephthah’s Daughter.” 

When our family dog Charlie died and I buried him — as is my duty as the man of the house — I vowed that I would never love another dog again. 

We have to be careful when we vow. Not because God is vengeful or spiteful. But because we create a world with our words. Man was given this ability by God: To create with the Word.  

We create a world around us with our words. We have to be careful lest we create a world we don’t want to live in. 

At the time I was burying Charlie, we still had a dog named Obidiah. We’d gotten Obidiah as a companion for Buttercup; then Buttercup passed. We then got Charlie as a companion for Obidiah. 

When Charlie died, we didn’t get Obidiah yet another companion. I had made my vow: That was it. 

It may seem heartless that we let him remain alone, and perhaps it was, but Obie had gotten to a point where he couldn’t see...or hear. And he didn’t smell too good either. It’s not clear he ever realized he was all alone. 

Then in mid-March, he quietly passed away, and I buried him in the backyard. (You might expect him to be buried next to his old companion Charlie, but our cat Goldie had died in the interim. Her final story is so tragic, I don’t think I will ever be able to write it, but let’s go on.) 

So we were dog free. I could walk across the yard without watching where I placed my feet. It was wonderful. 

But “rash oaths.”  

First my youngest daughter, who now divides her time between Pittsburg and an exurb of Saint Louis, decided she wanted a dog to keep her company as she worked at a distance. (For those who think you know where this is going, I urge you to not jump there yet.)  

When she got the dog (“got” here means paid a lot of money for), she took her new role very seriously. She was out walking him one day, when she found another dog who didn’t have an owner. 

So she brought him home. Not her home in the exurb of Saint Louis, but the one here. My home. 

And it was a nice dog. A fat dog. A lethargic dog. A perfect old man’s dog. 

The rest of the family were attempting to give him names. I said, “Come here, Scout!” 

And Scout came. 

So we got another dog. 

Hurray for us. 

I will need to watch my step. 

(Postscript: Having settled into a life of dog ownership once again, Scout ran away from us. He’s at a new home now and is happy. C’est la vie.) 

 

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube. 

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