Monday, June 28, 2010
Our family's 1997 Ford Explorer finally bit the bullet. I say "our family's" much to the chagrin of my sister, who has been its driver for the past 9 years or so, and refuses to acknowledge that it was our mom's for several years before... most specifically during my 15th year of life, when I entered that awkward stage of having a driver's permit and begging my parents to let me drive them everywhere.
Regardless, it saw all of us through some good times, and it will be missed. A few examples:
+ It was in the Explo that middle-school-aged me and my crew of girlfriends developed and repeatedly rehearsed our parts to "Hail Holy Queen" from the Sister Act soundtrack. It was also in the Explo that I remember listening to my mother belt out Celine Dion, Reba McIntyre, and Faith Hill songs as if she were on a stage and no one else's ears mattered. (I'm also realizing now that this trait is apparently genetic... sorry, friends.)
+ Natalie went through somewhat of an interesting stage, in which she listened mostly to rap music and begged my dad to have boom-boom speakers installed. For some insane reason, he agreed, and for several years when you rode around with Nat, you entered your destination with ears ringing and hair all crazy. (She preferred to drive with windows down, ensuring that she shared her glorious musical tastes with the rest of our neighborhood.)
+ One Christmas, when we were home for the holidays, we decided to buy a camel from a manger scene display at Walmart and attach him to the roof. Yes, just the camel.(See above.) They've always been Nat's favorite animal of sorts. We had some good times and lots of laughs when our friend Britt asked us to pick her up from a rather sketchy club she for some God-awful reason decided to go to (Dothan was not at that time known at all for its assortment of bars or clubs.... it's getting better though). Anyway, we got some great looks and especially enjoyed embarrassing our friend as we picked her up outside of oh-so-inviting Club Rio with our friend the camel on top.
+ The Explo almost got its own personalized tag, with "Natho" (my sister's longtime and very questionable nickname) on an Auburn plate. This was the same time I was given my own personalized tag (with my initials and Auburn grad year), and Mom got her initials on an Auburn alum tag as well. Somehow someone convinced Mom that this was a bad idea for Nat, and she was spared.
With its well-worn 6-disc CD changer (loaded luckily in the center console and not in the back), the Explo took us on many trips and saw many crazy times. From New Orleans to the beach, to Atlanta, Auburn, Lake Eufaula, and back again. It drove through cow pastures, endured two 16-year-old drivers and one lead-footed driving teacher, blasted everything from Richard Marx to Master P, and always got us safely home. Until you quit reversing, and we finally decided it was time for you to retire. Explo, you'll be missed.