Ralph’s Love of Leather

Posted in Love Letters | 6 comments

I have told you about finding our sweet dog, Ralph, and how much he loved leather, but I have not shared with you the things he could do to items made of it.

Frank and I were given a bible by his Grandmother, who we called “Gram” on Christmas Eve in 1968.  The Bible made of white leather had our names engraved in gold on the bottom of the front cover.  We dearly loved this Bible.  I had carried it with me in my suitcase to Okinawa.


Hand Crocheted Doily Made by Nancy.

We had a small coffee table in our living room, and our Bible laid on this table on top of a doily, which was an ornamental mat we had purchased made of crochet yarn.

After Ralph got past the small puppy stage, he would jump up on the couch next to the coffee table to sleep.  One day while I was in the kitchen washing dishes, Ralph decided to do more than sleep.    When I returned to the living room, Ralph had eaten half of the cover off of our Bible, but not just the front of the cover, but the back was nearly all eaten away.


Bible Given to Us 12/24/1968 That Ralph Ate Most of the Leather

The front of the Bible no longer had our names, Frank and Nancy.  I looked around the couch for pieces of the Bible cover, but there were not any pieces anywhere.  We had forgotten the Bible had a leather cover on it, but Ralph had sniffed it then eaten most of the cover.  I felt devasted, but I knew it was our fault for not putting it in the closet high up on a shelf with all of our leather shoes.

Frank and I kept the Bible, and I still have it.  Of course, it is a continuing reminder of our sweet Ralph and how much we loved him.

The next story is about another adventure of Ralph’s and his leather loving antics.  I laugh every time this story comes to my mind.   Enjoy.



Frank and I had invited some of his single GI friends to come over to our home to spend the day.  I had made cookies and fudge for them to snack on, and I had plans to make homemade spaghetti and meat sauce.  Frank and his buddies had just finished working thirty days of the day shift.

They were all ready to have some fun, which meant getting off of the Torii Base. We would play cards, listen to music, and eat.  The single guys would bring beer, snacks,  cokes (coca-cola), and liquor for those if they wanted mixed drinks.  They always helped us cook, clean up, and wash the dishes.

Since I had stripped the floors with lye water, then waxed them with clear wax, which made the floors shine as if they were brand new.  The guys always took their shoes off at the door as a respectful gesture for my hard work and to not mess up the floors.

Frank told me that a new soldier was coming who had just arrived in Okinawa from the states and who was feeling homesick.  I was so glad he was going to visit with the other guys.  We were all far away from home, but we had become a real family.

When they all arrived, the guys spent some time outside playing with Ralph, and then they came inside. Frank and I made sure Ralph stayed outside so that they could take off their shoes without him eating them if they were leather shoes.

Once they all came inside, one of the GIs showed Frank and I a pair of shoes he had worn that he had made unique by the Okinawans to fit his feet perfectly.  They were made of leather, with beautiful detail on them and were gorgeous shoes.  Of course, he took them off and left them inside by the front door with all of the other GI’s shoes.

Reel to Reel Stereo

Our Stereo Equipment

We all went into the bedroom, which Frank and I had made into a stereo room after we had bought a reel to reel, amp, and speakers for our birthdays.  We dearly loved that room and spent a lot of time in there listening to music since we did not have a television. Also, we could go to the base where we could record reels of music for free. We had a lot of spools of music.

Frank and I took the doors off of the closet, and I made a padded cushion for the bottom of the closet. Also, I covered the pad with some fabric. We painted the cover for the outlet a dark blue. The outlet was for a moisture rod, but we replaced the rod with a light bulb since there weren’t any clothes in the closet.  The effects of the light coming through the round holes in the cover was amazing.

Closet in Okinawa off base housing

Our Closet Made Into a Stereo Listening Area

The new GI got into relaxing with us all and enjoying himself, which made us all very happy.  After a while, he went outside to get something out of the car, in which he had ridden.   When he returned, he had a present for Frank and me, which was a beautiful knick-knack that he had bought in Okinawa.

After a while, I decided to go to the kitchen to cook some lunch. I was in for a big surprise as I entered the living room from the stereo room.  Ralph was sitting in the living room by the front door “next” to the shoes.  Immediately, I called for Frank to come to the kitchen.  When Frank came into the room through the door, I was speechless because of what my eyes were seeing. All that I could do was a point towards Ralph.

Frank started laughing loudly, then he said, “Who let Ralph in the house?”

I whispered to Frank that it was not funny and to quit laughing, but he paid me no mind at all, then the GI who had gone out to the car to get the present for us answered, “I did.  Ralph looked like he wanted to come inside.”

Well, that answer made Frank laugh even louder with tears in his eyes, which brought all of the guys into the living room.  Frank pointed towards Ralph, and they all started laughing at what they saw by the front door.  Ralph had devoured one of the GI’s special made leather shoes and was working on eating the other one.

Thinking Frank and the guys had drunk far too much beer; I asked them if they knew that Ralph had eaten some specially made shoes, but that just made them laugh more.  Even the GI who owned the shoes was laughing loudly, so I just decided to laugh with them. These guys loved Ralph so much that he could do no wrong in their eyes.

Frank and I offered to pay for the shoes, but the GI told us that he would not let us because he had so much fun at our house, and he had two pairs made.

Ralph loved to eat leather, and the Bible, which remains in my possession today, reminds me of our first fantastic child dog.

Praying you are chasing Butterflies, running faster than a speeding bullet, have an endless supply of leather, and playing with your amazing Dad, Frank.  I love you for eternity, Ralph.

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  1. You know Nancy, you and I have something in common as it goes to our dogs…my dog is named “Frank”! I wanted him to have a simple name I could yell easily. The story of how he came into my life is kinda cute as well. His mama, a pug/chihuahua mix had somehow managed to get knocked up in doggie jail! My sister was desperate to place the puppies about to be born because she wasn’t even “supposed” to have Diamond in the house she was living in at the time! My sister felt it was important to admit that nobody had any idea who the Daddy was but I knew it could of been any of the usual suspects down at the pound. Well, I agreed to take a puppy on one condition…I would get the pick of the litter! My sister called to tell me when Diamond had her litter which if the last two were any indication, could’ve been as many as six or seven! Nope! Diamond gave birth to one puppy, which meant I got the pick of the litter whether I liked it or not! I’ve got Frank on loan to a friend at the moment, she’s an elderly lady who gave us a place to stay for a minute in all the hubbub of an eviction. I visited last friday and both are doing well and appreciative as I. You’d like Frank I think. He was trained not to lick faces and instead will hop into your lap stretch his paws around you neck and press his little face against yours! A friend forever who knows… if you love me, you love my human too!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your story and appreciate the song you ended it with as well. I didn’t cry but I did have a total recall of the chorus to a song from my youth your story of Ralph, and the song you ended it with conjured up for me… ” Don’t be concerned…it will not harm you…it’s only me pursuing something I’m not sure of…Across my dreams, in depths of wonder..I chase the bright, elusive Butterfly of Love…” Thanks for sharing Ralph, Nancy…Frank appreciates it, and so do I.

    • Dennis thank you so much for this beautiful comment.
      I remember the song you have referred to. It is a beautiful song.
      I loved Ralph and so did my Frank.
      I am so happy that you have your Awesome Frank.
      God Bless you and thank you for your comment Dennis.

  2. yup….. the little pleasures, the little things that bring so much joy in remembering

    • Kim, you have caught up with me again. Lol. I have had lots of company here but trying to keep writing some. Thank you for reading what I write. Unknowingly, you are inspiring me to get the chapters up.
      God Nless You, Kim,

  3. A really funny story. I’m surprised Ralph didn’t have any kind of stomach or intestinal problems. Thank heaven that GI was able to laugh at the situation and especially that he had another pair of shoes to replace those devoured by Ralph. I’ll bet he never made the mistake again of letting Ralph in while the shoes were lined up at your door. I’m sorry about your Bible, though. Shoes you can replace. A gift like that cannot really be replaced.

    • Thinking Ralph had an iron stomach. Lol. I still have the bible which is in the picture. None of the pages are damaged which is what counts.
      I am so glad you are reading and commenting. I love reading what you have to say.
      God Bless You, Diane

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