Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

On A Trip Through Utah

by Mimi Peel Roughton

I was never what you'd call a great driver, and my now-ex-husband seldom let me forget it.

But during a cross-country trip—-rushed because we'd stayed longer than we meant to in Vegas--I drove our old Chevy Blazer on scenic Interstate 70 through the canyons and deserts of Utah while my husband slept in the passenger seat.

Generally he drove, but we were traveling day and night to make up time. Earlier, the sunset behind magnificent rock formations had been other-worldly beautiful, but it was now past midnight, and the scenery had vanished. Not another vehicle on the road, and I had the pedal to the metal.

Suddenly, my headlights picked up bizarre shapes forming in the darkness beyond my windshield…what on earth? Cows! Cows on both sides of the road, and several standing or lying down in the road! I didn't have time to think, scream, or feel fear, only to react. I whipped the steering wheel left! Then right! Then left! Then right!

And somehow I avoided every cow, as well as probable death for me and my husband, who in my shock I had completely forgotten was there. I hadn't even had a chance to slow down; the vehicle was still hurtling down the road into the night. Then my husband, a man of few words, broke the dark silence with just two: "Well done."

A former journalist turned personal essayist, Mimi Peel Roughton lives in Durham, NC with her second husband, an architect. Between them they have three daughters and two sons.

Twenty-third Flash

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