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Preacher Helm's Book is a Pleasant Surprise
I have known preachers through the years that I suspected were inclined to ''varnish" the truth on occasion, but I really think that Methodist preacher Luther J. Helm (ret.) tells the "unvarnished" truth in a book just recently published entitled As I Remember the Devil's Funeral and Other Stories.

I bought the book (307 pages published by the Parable Press, De Leon, Texas) at $17 a copy, with the guarantee that if I didn't get at least three good laughs out of it, he would cheerfully refund the money for his autographed copy. I have only read a half a dozen chapters, Luther, but I intend to keep it. 

Luther tells the story (unvarnished, telling it like it is) of growing up in the Soda Springs Community, his marriage to a local girl, and his family and life as a minister in the Methodist Church, serving churches - some 18 charges in the Central and North Texas Conferences and I think 30 different churches during his 40-odd years of ministry.  

Actually, I bought his book not for the warranty, but because he married my third cousin (Marie Robertson) some 63 years ago, and I have known Luther all of his years except one, because he is a year older than I.

But back to the dogs I have known: two of Luther's, Tip and Dingo. One of his dogs, according to Luther, was very busy chasing a mouse when the mouse ran under a piece of tin. The poor dog was running around the tin in circles, wondering how in the world to get the mouse.
Luther finally said, "Well, you little dummy, all you have to do is put your nose under the tin, lift it up, and get the mouse."

The dog, as Luther tells it, looked up at him with a quizzical look as if to ask, "I wonder why I didn't think of that?" and poked his nose under the piece of tin, flipped it over, and grabbed the mouse.
On another occasion several years ago, Luther's wife, Marie, was taking her  prescribed walk of the morning some 300 yards to their mail box, and either tripped and fell or fainted and fell to the ground. I think it was Dingo, the older dog, immediately lay down by his Missus to protect her, while the younger dog, Tip, ran rapidly to the house, barking and summoning Luther and son, John Thomas, to Marie's aid. 

Since both dogs have passed on to a Happy Hunting Ground, we'll never know whether Tip, the younger, said, "I can run faster than you; you stay and guard our Missus while I summon help," or whether Dingo, the elder, said, "Tip, you can run faster than I; you go for help while I stay on guard. "
I would like to think it was the older and wiser dog who made the decision. These are stories that do not appear in Luther's book, but many others - equally truthful - do.

Buy his book. You will enjoy it.
As I Remember the Devil's Funeral and Other Stories
Luther J. Helm
Route 2, Box 33
Comanche, Texas, 76442
P.S. I have gotten to page 71, where Luther (nicknamed Euchie) and his brother Arthur (nicknamed Potchie) have just robbed a bumblebee nest, and I hate to put the book down but have to go feed my cows. All I can say is, "Buy Luther's Book!" I am amazed and delighted.

Printed in The MESSENGER magazine, January/February 1998