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Mary Ray
Leaning forward, we peered through the darkness. The streaks of lightening and the pouring rain made it difficult
to see the road. It was definitely not the kind of night for traveling; nevertheless, we had to keep driving.

A fter attending a conference in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, my
husband, James, and I were making
our way home to Illinois where he was
pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in
Olney. The trip had been pleasant until
we crossed the state line from Tennessee
to Kentucky where we encountered a
storm that was relentless. Even though
our windshield wipers were working as
hard as they could, we could barely see
the road ahead of us.

We were just a few miles past the small
town of Nortonville when, much to our
dismay, we saw lights flashing behind
us and realized that it was a policeman.

James pulled the vehicle to the side
of the road and waited for him to
approach us.

A lthough he was polite, he definitely
was not friendly. After checking
16 James’s driver’s license, he informed us
that he had been following us since we
came through Nortonville and that our
car had drifted across the centerline
a number of times. James tried to
explain that it was impossible to see
the centerline because of the blinding
rain, but no matter what he said, the
policeman was firm in his decision
that we had been driving recklessly. His
answer to our explanation was “Follow
me and tell it to the judge.”
With a grumpy
voice he asked, “Do
you plead innocent
or guilty?”
We made our way back to town and
followed the officer down a side street
to a small frame building that obviously
served as the police station and the
courthouse. Entering the building, the
policeman awakened a man who was
asleep with his head on the desk. The
gentleman was introduced to us as
the judge. Gaining his composure, he
pointed to a spot in front of the desk
and instructed James to stand there.

With a grumpy voice he asked, “Do you
plead innocent or guilty?” James tried
to explain that the line was invisible
because of the darkness and the rain.

The judge’s reply was “If you plead
guilty, you will get a discount because of
the weather.” My wise husband decided
to plead guilty. Unhappily, I watched as
James placed on the judge’s desk most
of the money we had to live on until our
next payday.