Megan and I shared a car in high school. When she went to college a year ahead of me, I kept the car, with the understanding that Dad would buy something for Meg if she got good grades her first semester. She suffered through that first semester, and then decided she needed a truck. So, thanks to our friend, Alan, who was then at Truck City Ford, Meg got herself an F-150 and was the coolest truck-driving girl at ACU. I followed her to school the following fall and I too had to endure some time without a car. Except I hated the lack of independence so much, and raised such a stink about it, that on October 6, when Meg and I went home for the weekend, I got to bring the car that Meg and I previously shared back to ACU. I was (am) a spoiled brat.
Since Dad had bought Meg the car of her choice (within a reasonable budget), Dad told me we could do the same for me at some point. But I kept the high school car for awhile. It wasn’t until my junior year at ACU that I came back to school in August with the car of my choice: a used, 1999 gold Ford Explorer.
And she quickly became known as Aunt Jemima, thanks to my dear friend, and roommate at the time, Hilary.
I was very proud of that car. I got a hitch on it and always volunteered to tow things. You know, the Explo has some horsepower. And when Megan decided that as social director of Sigma Theta Chi, she would prepare the kababs for the upcoming social rather than have it catered, I stupidly volunteered to help schlep all the meat from our house (where we had about 1000 lbs. of raw meat in our fridge for what seemed like forever) to the party location. The meat had been cubed, skewered, and marinated in ziplock bags by the pledges.
Public service announcement: Skewers don’t work in ziplock bags.
The marinade for the meat was teriyaki sauce. And on a hot day, Aunt Jemima still smells like that stuff, thanks to skewers poking through the ziplock bags on the trip.
Aunt Jemima has been with me for quite a long time. I transported some of my favorite kids around for the weekend not too long ago–a 1st grader, 3rd grader, and a 7th grader. The 7th grader asked me how old she was. After thinking about it, I said, “Well, Wills. She is older than you.” Wow, they all thought. That is OLD.
My goal was to keep Aunt Jemima until at least my 10-year college reunion. That was last October. She works great so I just kept driving her! Then a very nice man in an old truck hit the side of Aunt Jemima. By all means, it was not the first time. She has had encounters with deer, a sweet lady who side-swiped her while parked, a pair of cars that crashed into each other and then slid into Aunt Jemima while parked at the snow cone stand years ago, and other stuff I just can’t remember just now. The last few “injuries” have meant collecting insurance money from the other side and blowing the wad on something other than repairs. But this time, the passenger door wouldn’t really open. In fact, it meant that when asking an intern to tag along with me to a meeting, I had to have her sit in the back seat, because we couldn’t open the front seat. I guess it is time for a new car.
In picking a new car, nothing feels quite right. After test driving some options, I realized that nothing feels right because in new cars the seat does not form to me and the smell of a new car doesn’t smell like dingy, Aunt Jemima, who just feels like home. But it is time.
So as we purchase a new car, we listed Aunt Jemima on Craigslist. And before I knew it, she was gone. So long, Aunt Jemima. In a few weeks, I will have a new car to introduce. But until then, we are a one car family.
By the way, anyone have any good Hawaiian names for a car? I think she is a girl.