There’s a lot of God and sex in Missouri. The billboards tell me so. They advertise misspelled pleasures and repentance in equal measure at approximate 200 yard intervals. They lull you into the lazy pace that seems to inhabit the sleepful walkers who live here. Towns are named Peculiar and Tightwad and Bland as if to foreshadow who you might next meet. Overalls never went out of style; and bushy beards too cumbersome for the early May heat are back in. Whether you like it or not, everyone will respond to you with ‘yes, ma’am” out of respect rather than the contrary as may be true in every other state. Western Boot outlets with names like Kleinschmidt’s and The Boot Corral are sprinkled about the highway passage with 10,000 pair in each building and enough back country personalities to go with each. Pontoon boats are abundant even though water is not sometimes even abandoned at the roadside for what appears to have been for years. Roads are straight from the beginning of nothing to the end and are punctuated by tar marks and grave markers for those who gave way to the billboards. But if you are lucky enough to pass an old barn with a silo and an oak tree at sunset you feel as if you have witnessed a miracle and your life is complete. When the sky turns here you no longer doubt that something bigger, something stronger, something more – like God – exists. If you are blessed it simply sweeps its hand across the sky moving clouds and color with some measure of haste. Perhaps even felling one of those beautiful oak trees or two. If you are less so it stirs the pot counterclockwise and sets a twister loose across the barren expanse to churn anything and anyone in its path. If that happens even the shelter of a billboard about God won’t save you. And if you embrace the pace and find a gully to sit you will hear a cuckoo or a great horned owl. And if you are particularly fortunate you will see a ruby throated or calliope hummingbird and you will begin to wonder why you were driving in the first place or where you were headed. After all, Peculiar isn’t so bad if you have a pair of old overalls, an oak with a wooden swing, and someone with whom to share it.