Out of the blue there was an ear-splitting BOOM above our heads. Cliff and I looked at each other dumbfounded, jaws dropping. Apparently, the shattering of thousands of glass shards followed the BOOM in the Subaru’s moon roof.

We had traveled about seventy miles west of Jacksonville on Interstate10 watching for the anticipated exit to catch I-75 to Valdosta, Georgia, about sixty miles north. The Subaru’s hatch was weighted with copies of Mennonite Daughter and My Checkered Life, anticipating eager book club readers. The day began cloudy and windy—but no dump trucks with loose gravel in sight. No pickups with insecure cargo either. So, what caused the explosion inside the car’s moon roof?

I had to make a phone call. “Marcia, we’re on our way, but we’ve had some trouble.” Marcia Felts, friend and book club coordinator, had engaged me to do a presentation for the ladies of Valdosta Country Club. I tried to down-play the severity of the explosion that had just happened overhead and assured her, “We will make every effort to arrive at 11:15 this morning, as planned.” She didn’t need to know then that Cliff had temporarily parked the car on the highway shoulder with flashers and pulled out brown sealing tape for a temporary repair. “I had a feeling I should throw in U-Haul tape at the last minute. Glad I did!”

As I was finishing the conversation with Marcia, Cliff stood on the car’s open door on the driver’s side to tape across the rectangular, zagged cavity of the moonroof as semis and cars whizzed by. Luckily, the whole roof had not blown off; the exploded glass was still encased within the moonroof frame. Nevertheless, we drove cautiously but fast, Cliff held the headliner opening with his right hand, his left hand holding the wheel. I alternated my left and right hands doing the same for about ninety minutes. We wanted to make sure the shards of glass wouldn’t blow inside our car as we drove at high speed.

* * *

The audience was receptive and inquisitive. My Powerpoint presentation prompted questions, “Whose idea was it to write a marriage memoir anyway? “How did you cope with disagreements during the writing process?” One woman even shared her own unusual marriage story with the group, the best kind of interaction.

As the morning progressed though, Cliff and I wrestled with unspoken questions: Can we still enjoy a leisurely evening and supper, spending overnight in Valdosta? (We had packed suitcases in anticipation.) Is the temporary “fix” on the roof strong enough to hold if the weather turns bad?


Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Book Tour adventure, which begins with “But first there was silence!” A continuation of our eventful Tuesday trip on April 2, 2024.


Have you experienced dangerous highway adventures? Your response to ours?

Curious readers want to know!