I left a funeral. I was driving through the North Florida rain. My dogs were in the seat behind me.
It was a monsoon on the highway. I’m talking puddles the size of Lake Gertrude. Raindrops the size of Coke bottles.
Cars ahead had hazards flashing. Traffic was crawling. I held the wheel with both hands. A man in a truck sped around my vehicle. He almost amputated my side mirror.
The man’s tires kicked up a waterfall. I almost lost control. I couldn’t see. Horns honked. Tires squealed. I pulled onto the shoulder. I was rattled.
I loosened my necktie.
I don’t often wear neckties. But my mother would rather have her toenails removed with tongs than discover her son attended a funeral with an open collar.
My hands were shaking. My stomach was sick. I was lucky to be alive.
I spotted a dirt road ahead—off the main highway. A small pathway, running into the woods. Against my better judgement I took the forest road.
It ran me through the acres of pines, over bumps and rocks.
There were deep ruts in the road. Ruts which had turned into miniature rivers of orange mud.
Thelma Lou (bloodhound) and Otis (alleged Labrador) sat at attention. They are like most dogs; they are connoisseurs of mud.
The desolate roads were unmarked, and I was in no hurry to get back on the highway. So I drove. And drove.
And it hit me: this was fun.
Furthermore, this was high-quality mud. Not that thin stuff that passes for mud on TV. This stuff was top shelf. I started smiling more than a grown man ought to.
That’s when I stumbled upon it. The Mother of All Mud Holes.
It was an empty lot, pristine mud, without tire tracks or obstacles. Only flat, sprawling soup. It called to me.
Thelma howled—which is dog-language for, “Do it, Daddy-O! Do it!” It is a…