To call Bobbie a bookworm might have caused a bit of an uproar in the Collier house. Bobbie, to be precise, would never have stood for it. As a self-professed devourer of fiction, she couldn’t fathom how something that could barely beat a snail in an inch race could possibly describe her literary feasts. “I’m a book dragon, and I have the t-shirt to prove it.”
She did, too. In four colors. One of which, glowed in the dark and had, on one unfortunate night, terrified her son when she went to check on him after a bad dream. Dan Collier—her husband, of course—insisted that the dream had been tame by comparison.
He was probably right.
Still, one could argue that it had shocked the previous horror right out of him, and once she’d turned her shirt inside out, the boy couldn’t remember what had frightened him. Oh, the beauty of youthful ignorance!
It began after morning devotions. Bobbie had discovered, the hard way, that she must begin her day with a nice “breakfast” of the Word, otherwise she’d snack her way through fiction and never get a full meal of “the Bread of Life.”
So, since she’d developed the habit while nursing all four of her darlings, she still awoke at five o’clock, curled up in her rocker recliner with a cup of hot tea beside her, and devoured God’s Word. Genesis, Amos. I Corinthians, James. It didn’t matter—ever. As much as she avoided nonfiction, when it came to the Bible, she devoured it with the same ravenous appetite—as long as she hadn’t snacked on snippets here and there all day first.
But after that sweet time of reading, dozing, re-reading, praying, memorizing, and dozing a bit more, she’d put the Bible aside, grab her cup of tea and the latest book on her pile, and head into the kitchen.
A Day in the Life of Bobbie Collier (or the book format battle)
Book in hand, Bobbie spun in a slow circle, trying to recall why she’d moved into the kitchen. “Breakfast! That ‘most important meal’ thing.”
Pancake mix—the one she’d whipped up from the year’s token non-fiction book. This year, a nice little book on recipe mixes. Add to it the necessary oil and egg, and heat up the waffle iron, and voila! “And this time, I won’t burn them.”
Bobbie jumped as Dan’s arms slid around her waist and his voice rumbled in her ear. “Sure you won’t.” At her yelp of protest, he added, “C’mon. You know it. You’ll make one or two perfect waffles before some scene hits and you won’t remember to tear yourself away before the next one is black and crispy.”
A sigh—it wouldn’t be Saturday morning without at least one. “If I could only learn to use each eye independently of one another…”
But instead of laughing at her somewhat veiled self-deprecating jokes, this time, Dan just kissed her temple and disappeared from the room. Whistling.
Still, for all her faults, Bobbie wasn’t blind to her inability to resist temptation. She set the book aside, determined to serve at least one breakfast this year—just one—that didn’t have some charred element.
Scrambled eggs simmered on the stove as she began pouring the batter into the iron. The waiting began. Thirty seconds? Probably half that, but she reached for the book, never taking her eyes from the frying pan, and fumbled until her fingers wrapped around—her phone.
Dan’s chuckles told her. He stepped around the doorway and grinned. “Look at it. Go on…”
Gazing at the blank screen for a moment, sense kicked in and she tapped it—just as Dan darted for the waffle iron. “Stir those eggs, Bobs.”
She stirred—and stared. “Why did you buy—wait, what?” The cover of her current book in progress stared back at her. And beneath that, a “play” button. “You bought the audio book of a book I already own?”
“Yep. Because you wouldn’t stop reading one book to read another. So, try audio on the one you’re already reading. See if you like it.” He cleared his throat. “And maybe stir those eggs now?”
One hand absently stirred the eggs while her finger tapped the screen. A narrator’s voice filled the room.
“ The Secret of Silverstone Shrine written by Allison Shearer. Narrated by Maurice LeBlanc. Chapter One. Silverstone. Above the towering spires that filled the little village of Silverstone, on a hill overlooking the entire Silver Valley, one open temple that looked rather Grecian stood guard over all the inhabitants…”
“I’ve already read well into this. I wonder how hard it would be to find—” But she cut herself off as the little lame boy appeared and the narrator perfectly captured his winsome voice. “Ooooh… he’s perfect!”
Never had her kitchen been so clean on a Saturday morning. While the kids smeared syrup from hair to chair, Bobbie listened to the story unfold. As she scrubbed them and their chairs, in turn, her emotions ran wild, even knowing what would happen.
And when Dan stepped in and chuckled at her poking dirt out from the corner behind the stand mixer, she whirled and gave him a kiss he wouldn’t forget soon. “I think I’ve created a monster.”
Bobbie sniffed at that. “I’m a dragon.” And with a waggle of her eyebrows, she added, “And don’t you forget it.”
* * * Psst… Here’s a POST on my .02 on the topic! * * *
Over the next few weeks, life changed a bit in the Collier household. Bobbie “read” more than ever. While the book budget ran frightening deficits, the house had never been cleaner, meals became edible—even tasty. And that gym thing she’d resisted for months. Okay, it had been years. Well, she now had “her” treadmill at the left side of the gym, and with earbuds that filled the tedious hour with exciting adventures or heartbreaking tales of love and loss, three pounds had found their way off her hips and who knew where else?!
So, when Dan walked in one night, he expected to hear the latest Deborah Garman novel ringing through the kitchen. And it was. What he didn’t expect was for her to squeal and leave the chicken unattended as it simmered on the stove. She flung herself across the house and into his arms. “I just cut the audio book back to manageable prices.”
“How?” The semi-permanent cut to their savings deposit might not be necessary!
“It’s so cool, it isn’t even funny. So today I found a great book on sale on Kindle—only 1.99! So I bought it. But I didn’t get an email right away, so I went back to do it again. I thought it didn’t go through.”
He nudged her toward the kitchen as he teased, “I thought you said you saved money on audio? By spending it twice on Kindle? That’s wonky math even for you!””
“No! Silly, listen.” And at that point, she paused her audio story and stirred the now smoking chicken. “So when I went back to the Amazon page, it said I’d purchased it already. Love how they do that.”
“It’s convenient, I grant you.”
Bobbie shoved a forkful of chicken into his face. “Taste that, will you? If it’s ruined, I don’t want to waste the half & half.”
“Tastes fine. Tell me your genius plan to foil duplicate purchases and get audio at a discount.”
“Well, it was by accident, of course, but I got that book for 1.99. And it said I could now get the AUDIO for 1.99, too! For less than the usual price of just the Kindle book, I got both! Even if I never read the Kindle version, I got audio for four bucks instead of fourteen ninety-nine!”
The numbers swam in his head. If it worked again, they’d be back on their usual exorbitant but not unbearable book budget path. “A fluke?”
“That’s just it! It isn’t. I bought four more that way and then did a Google search to see if it was a random glitch. It’s not! It’s part of the system! How cool is that?”
“I never thought I’d see the day when my ‘it’s gotta be tree-killin’ paper or nothing else’ would not only agree to a Kindle for trips to Grandma’s—”
“You have a whole weekender you don’t have to cart around. I was just thinking of you…”
A kiss? How could he resist? “Of course, you were. But now you’re doing audio stuff—voluntarily!”
This time, Bobbie dropped the fork she still held, snapped off the burner, and wrapped arms around his neck. “What can I say? Not only can this old dog learn new tricks—and don’t you dare use that old against me, mister—I am also an equal opportunity reader.”
“So I won.” She blinked at him—twice. Dan decided not to prolong the agony. “I told you that you’d come around—you’d learn that there are advantages to all forms of reading materials. And you did. I won the format battle.”
Less than an hour later, they sat around a large table at Red Robin. But as far as Dan was concerned, even the hit to the food budget was worth the memory of his wife listening to the next chapter of her audio book as she changed clothes… and the furtive slip of the Kindle into her purse when she thought he wasn’t looking.