At the house, we'd been surrounded by flood waters for twenty-four hours. My Dad had stood grim-faced on the porch as we watched the slowly advancing line of water. It reached the fence on the other side of the driveway and stopped. We weren't prepared to be marooned there, city-folks recently transplanted to the countryside.
Dad decided that a trip to the grocery store was necessary. About dark the four of us piled into the old 1959 Edsel and started down the quarter mile long lane to the main road. We started off slowly. About half-way down the lane moments of complete darkness engulfed us as the headlights dipped beneath surface of the water. Dad was muttering.
"If these puddle weren't so deep, we'd make it" he said.
By now my mom was praying aloud. I don't remember what she said, I just knew that we were in trouble because her voice sounded desperate.
Suddenly the lights dipped again. This time, it stayed dark. We sat there for a moment or two while Dad rationalized why we hadn't gotten all the way down the lane. We weren't going quite fast enough to keep the water moving ahead of us. The puddles were too deep. He hadn't realized that the water was above the 5-feet tall fence posts in the lane. And on he went.
Then in a quick exchange, they decided that Dad would go back to the house for the tractor. Mom was worried and offered to go because he was "down in his back" a mysterious condition that occasionally caused him great pain and to walk in a bent position like an old man for a few days before he'd suddenly recuperate and resume his usual strenuous lifestyle. He said the water was flood water and too swift for her. She'd be swept off her feet. She thought we should go together. He shook his head. He couldn't carry me with his back this bad and the water could well be over my head. I was in 3rd grade.
Dad warned us to get on our feet in the seat because he was opening the door. Mom prayed really loudly for just a second.
The next thing I knew, the water hit my feet and I jumped into the space between the rear window and back seat of the sedan. I lay there for a long time while my little sister crouched on the seat with water up to her armpits. In the front seat mom sat in water past her waist. She was quiet now, but I knew she was still praying.
In time we heard the sound of the tractor in the distance and the headlights pierced the gloom that surrounded us. Without further incident, Dad hooked a chain to the car and pulled it backward back to the house.
Forever after we referred to the Edsel as our boat. But every time we did Dad would begin to mutter that it wasn't a very good boat because it didn't float and didn't get us to our destination.