The other day I heard a little boy talkin’ to his momma. He was pointin’ at his belly button and sayin’ somethin’ about his “nabel.” Well when he said that, it reminded me of somethin’ that happened back when I was a little kid.
We had this kid that lived nearby, and his name was Randy Joe, but when he was a baby he tried to say his name and it came out Wee Whoa, and the name stuck.
Wee Whoa had an older brother whose name was Rusty, just like mine. Well, he was smaller than me, so we called him Little Rusty.
One day my cousin Coy, Little Rusty, and I were up in an old tree. We used to hang out in it when we didn’t have anything to do.
Anywho, Wee Whoa was down on the ground playin’ with his dog Bones. We were discussin’ important stuff like whether Davy Crockett could whup Daniel Boone and junk like that. Well, usually we didn’t pay much attention to Wee Whoa and his stupid dog because he was just a little bitty kid, although we were not much older.
But this time, Wee Whoa said somethin’ that caught our attention.
“Adam didn’t have no nabel,” he said.
“What’d he say?” I asked Little Rusty.
“Awww, Daddy told us the other day that Adam didn’t have a navel,” he replied.
“You know, Adam; the Bible Adam. You know, like Adam and Eve.”
“He didn’t have no navel?”
“That’s what Daddy said.”
“Everybody’s got a navel,” said Coy.
“Daddy said Adam didn’t. Said he didn’t need one.”
“Heck, I don’t need mine, but I got one. Is he sure about that?” I asked.
“He sounded pretty sure.”
“I can prove he had a navel,” said Coy.
“How?” we both asked.
“Come on to the house. We got a Bible that has a picture of Adam in it and we’ll see if he has a navel.”
We climbed down from the tree and headed to Coy’s house.
“Everybody’s got a navel,” Coy said again.
When we got to Coy’s house, he brought out a great big Bible, and started thumbin’ through it. “Here he is,” he said. “Huh, you can’t tell,” he said.
“What?” we said and grabbed for the Bible.
“Him and Eve are facin’ each other,” Coy said. “You can’t tell.”
“Hmmmm,” I said. “Boy howdy you can see everything else, though.”
“Watch it,” warned Little Rusty. “Don’t say nothin’ bad about the Bible or you’re liable to be turned into a pillar of salt.”
“A pillar of salt? Like a pillar you put your head on when you sleep?” I asked.
“No. I think it’s like a tall thing. You know, like they chained Sampson to.”
“And you can be turned into one?”
“That’s what I heard,” said Little Rusty.
“This all sounds like a bunch of baloney to me,” I said.
“Yeah,” said Coy.
“I bet you a quarter Adam had a navel,” I said.
“Bet he didn’t,” said Little Rusty.
“It’s a bet then.”
“How’re we gonna find out?” asked Coy.
“I know,” I said. “I’ll call our preacher. He knows all about the Bible and stuff. Git me a phone book.”
Coy got the phone book and I looked up his number and called.
“Hello?” the preacher said.
“Hello Brother Herbert?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“This is Rusty Mitchum. Remember me?” I heard a sigh on the other end.
“Oh yes,” he said. “I will never be able to forget you.”
“Uh thanks,” I replied.
“What can I do for you today?” he asked.
“Well, I got a question. One of my buddies daddy said that Adam didn’t have navel. The Bible Adam. You know, of Adam and Eve.”
“Yes,” he said. “I’m familiar with Adam.”
“Well, did he have a navel?”
“Hmmmm,” he said. “That’s an interesting question.”
“We looked at a picture of him in my cousin Coy’s Bible, but you couldn’t see his stomach, but you could see everything else, but we didn’t say anything bad, so we wouldn’t turn into a pillar of salt.”
“Do what?” he asked.
“Yeah, Little Rusty, not me, but another Rusty, said that if you say anything bad about the Bible, you might turn into a pillar of salt. Not the kind of pillar you put your head on when you sleep, but the kind that Sampson was chained to. By the way, is that true?”
“Well,” the preacher said. “There was a lady in the Bible that was told not to turn around and look and she disobeyed and turned to look while she was running and she turned into a pillar of salt.”
“Oh,” I said. “That makes more sense then. Once my mom turned around to look while she was drivin’ and turned into a telephone pole.” It got really quiet on the other end of the phone.
“You still there?” I asked.
“Oh yes. Unfortunately I’m still here.”
“So,” I said. “Did Adam have a navel?”
“Why do you want to know so badly?”
“Well, I got a quarter bet on it.”
“You are gambling?”
“Uh, no sir, uh, did I say bet? I mean, well, it is a bet, but when I win, I was gonna put it in the offerin’ plate, so that makes it OK, right?”
“No,” he stated.
“Well, OK, then the bet is off. Does he have navel or not?”
“I guess theoretically, he didn’t, but I guess it will remain a mystery.”
“What’s he sayin’?” asked Little Rusty.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “He’s startin’ to use big words.”
“What I am saying,” growled Brother Herbert, “is I don’t know.”
“Heck,” I said.
“Did you say heck?”
“Uh, maybe, uh why?” Is it illegal?”
“Hmmmm,” he hmmmed. “I’ll have to think about that.”
“No offense, Brother Herbert, but for somebody that talks so much on Sunday about the Bible, you don’t know too much about it the rest of the week.”
He sighed. “I’ll keep that in mind when I say my prayers,” he said. “I’ll pray for you, too, or at least for your parents.”
“That’d be nice. Well, thanks anyway. We’ll see you later.”
“Bye,” I replied and I hung up the phone.
“So?” asked Little Rusty and Coy.
“He don’t know neither.”
“Boy, I wish I didn’t have a navel,” said Little Rusty.
“So I wouldn’t have to dig the dirt out of it,” he replied.
“Yeah,” I said. “But where would you keep your gum when you’re in school?”