By Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele

We recently drove to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri to attend a Lippincott Family Reunion. While hubby Fred drove, I relaxed in the passenger seat.

Actually, I didn’t relax much. That’s because Mother Nature decided to turn the 510 miles to our destination into a 450-mile-long car wash. As sheets of water washed over our vehicle, Fred slowed down, trying to follow the tail lights of the cars directly in front of us.

My husband thought he was driving. However, unbeknown to him, I was the one keeping our car on the road through willpower and my tilting body. I figured if I kept leaning hard enough to the left, that would keep us out of roadside ditches. (Two days later, I was still leaning left as I walked.)

Fred was so intent on keeping us safely on the road that he apparently didn’t notice what I saw when the “crying clouds” momentarily diminished to grant a little visibility. Peering out of the passenger-side widow, I spotted a line of animals in a farm field near Bourbon, Missouri. (Both of us could have used a drink about then!)

At the head of the line were two horses, a mare and a stallion. They were followed by a cow and a bull, a hen and a rooster, two cats, two mice, an ewe and a ram, one sow and one boar, plus a nanny goat and a billy. Bringing up the rear of the line was a male and a female dog.

Curiously, the entire line of animals seemed to be walking toward a large wooden structure that was squatting in the middle of the field. To my trained carpenter eyes, it looked like it was made out of gopher wood.

We drove in and out of this nasty summer downpour throughout the day. I breathed a sigh of relief as each storm dissipated, only to be replaced by another major storm down the road.

Now and then, we passed cars that had pulled off the divided highway. They parked on the side of the road, with warning lights flashing like drowning lightning bugs.

I hinted to Fred that we should take the same evasive action, but he forged ahead. Being “a guy,” why should he let a small thing like purple clouds dumping billions of gallons of water on the highway deter him?

Whenever sunlight and white clouds momentarily appeared, my spirits soared, and I loosened my two-handed grip on my seatbelt. During one very brief, rainless patch, I remarked to Fred, “A few times, we were pretty much driving with zero visibility.” With eyes still firmly focused on the road, he muttered, “I don’t know about that. I saw a lot of cats and dogs.”

As the constant deluge bombarded our car, there were a few moments when both of us regretted not hauling our boat. We could have unhitched it and floated to our destination, saving a lot of gas money in the process.

Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele, a native of Milton, has been writing Sunny Side Up for more than 40 years. A graduate of Milton Union High School and Milton College, she has written four books. She has two children, three stepchildren, and a blended family that includes 11 grandkids.

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