By James Beaty
McALESTER — A Tannehill woman has been desperately searching the streets of McAlester, looking for a 40 year-old family Bible she said had been stolen from her mother’s car on Sunday.
Carol Painter said her mother, Bette Ardrey, 85, attended church last Sunday in McAlester, then later drove to Country Mart to buy a few items. Like she always does, her mother had taken her Bible with her to church that day, Painter said.
When Ardrey stopped at the store, she automatically started to get out the vehicle carrying her purse and her Bible. “She realized she didn’t need the Bible and put it back in the car seat,” Painter said.
The Bible, in a carrying case, or cover, with a handle, was the only thing in the front seat, she said. “Her car is immaculate,” Painter said. “There was nothing else inside.” Ardrey went inside the store, Painter said, At some point, an employee saw a car outside with the front door wide open and called the police, Painter said.
That car turned out to Ardrey’s vehicle. When Ardrey returned to her car, she found her Bible had been taken. Painter said her mother has been saddened at the loss of the Bible.
In addition to family mementos, such as bookmarks and photographs, it also has detailed notes next to Bible passages she has heard ministers speak on during years of faithfully attending church.
In an effort to find the Bible, Painter has driven along city streets and even looked into dumpsters, on the chance that whoever took it tossed it aside once the case had been opened.
She figures whoever took it from the car probably looked at the case, or cover for the Bible, and figured it was a purse. Ardrey spoke to the News-Capital on Tuesday about her loss. “I miss my Bible,” Ardrey said.
She said she still has a large Bible at home, but the one that’s been taken is the one she’s always carried to church with her. During the years, she’s marked the dates of sermons. “I have the dates and the preacher’s name by where he took the scripture,” said Ardrey.
The Bible had a photograph she had inserted inside it of her with five generations of her family, said Ardrey. She also had clippings of the obituaries of her son and daughter-in-law. “My children have gotten me bookmarks and things.
They wouldn’t mean anything to anybody else,” Ardrey said. “It has some things I can’t replace.” Ardrey wondered if whoever took her Bible read any of the scriptures inside it.
“Maybe it will help them,” she said. Meanwhile, her daughter still has hopes the Bible will be returned, considering the possibility that whoever took the Bible discarded it and someone else may have found it.
If the person who took it Last Sunday still has it, the family is asking for its return, no questions asked. “It means a great deal to me. I would like to have it returned,” Ardrey said.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.
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