It’s surprising the things you come to count on and, even for a non-believer, the testaments have their time and place. Like who hasn’t played hunt the holy book in some hotel room along the highway of life?
You needn’t be the slightest bit religious to draw some reassurance from finding the ubiquitous tan tome in a country motel room.
It somehow completes the otherworldy experience, like the princess sash on the toilet seat, the little thimbles of long-life milk in the fridge and the airconditioner with a death rattle.
So the absence of the Gideons completely threw me.
Since 1908 Gideons have distributed 1.5 billion of their specially stamped bibles.
Marilyn Monroe pledges to remain faithful to her boyfriend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on the bible singing: “I’ll be in my room alone, every post-meridian. And I’ll be with my diary and that book by Mr Gideon.”
Even Rocky Raccoon found one when he checked into his room in the local saloon in the Beatles classic.
But sadly though it appeared in all the motel rooms – both real and imagined – in all the world, the Gideons people hadn’t got round to mine.
After hunting through every drawer and even looking under the bed and the spare blanket and the pillow in the cupboard, I called reception.
The duty manager was affronted. “No, we certainly haven’t removed the bibles. There is one in the bedside drawer in all our rooms,” she insisted.
Invited to come and find it, she arrived at the room and began summarily opening drawers and lifting couch cushions.
“Someone must have stolen it. But who on earth would steal a bible?” she wondered aloud.
Improbable as the swiping of the scriptures seemed, I felt this was probably good news.
They can be devils, those visitors to Ballarat!