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We watched the thunderstorm growing, building, off to the west. As we sat on our tailgates sipping coffee and wishing we could be inside at the Mule Barn counter, we just sipped and looked in awe.

When the show began, we’d get in the pickups and drive off home, but there’s no harm in watching the weather’s overture to spring violence.

“You boys been out on the plains in spring, right?” asked Steve, our tall, mustached cowboy member of the vaunted world dilemma think tank.

We nodded and sipped and glanced up at the roiling blackness.

“Always wondered what it would be like to be caught horseback out on the plains in one of these storms. Not something I’d look forward to, I can tell you.”

“I know what they do, Steve,” said Doc. “Had a patient who punched cows out that way. He said when it rained, he’d get off his horse and sit on the ground under his belly.”

“So the horse would get wet and he’d stay dry?”

“More or less, I suppose.”

“But the lightning,” Steve said, “what about the dang lightning?”

“Doesn’t sound like any fun to me,” Herb said. “But I guess it’s some consolation that the horse, being the highest point for 15 miles, would get struck by lightning first.”

“See, Steve,” Doc said, grinning. “If lightning goes through the horse and hits you on the ground, you don’t have anything to worry about, but if it just strikes the horse …?”

“Yeah, Doc,” Steve said, “then you’d have the honor of being killed by a falling, fried horse. I think I’ll stay off those plains for now.”

Brought to you by salmon fisherman, pastor and friend to all, Mark Henry Miller’s book River Runs Through Me. At markhmiller@att.net.

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