Camy was ready to go on that hot August day. She was loaded down with boxes full of ambition...that and a lot of clothes. My brother actually drove that day, but him, Camy and myself made the trip behind my parent's large pick up truck full of stuff.
Camy's speakers beautifully played the playlist I had prepared. Songs like "One-Way Ticket" and "Wide Open Spaces" filled her inner cavity. She was my partner on this new adventure I had decided upon. In the following months we together explored citizenship in a new city and a state university. Some of our earliest experiences together on campus involved dozens of parking tickets. I would cringe and then laugh when I would come out of class or a meeting and find a little yellow envelope tucked under her wiper blade.
We actually found out pretty quick that it was bette
r for her to rest during the day while I walked a mile or so to school and back. College campuses are particularly vehicle-friendly.
Fortunately, Camy and I would take time to explore on the weekends. My friends and I would make trips to Bricktown, Oklahoma City and Shawnee, occasionally. And when we were busy driving around the metro, Camy and I were zipping down south to visit the folks for the weekend. To this day, Camy still holds the record for fastest time through a PikePass booth.
Camy took me to my first OU/Texas game in Dallas. She even got a little bump on the rear as a permanent memory of the trip.
We went to and from Altus and Norman to visit my Grandma when she was in her last weeks. Camy held my cousin and I as we shared tears, memories and laughter on the road home.
Job interviews, internships and night classes were all made possible because of my friend. She even drove me to my college graduation, and the delicious meal with the family afterwards.
This past year Camy has taken on a whole new role. As my life has grown and changed, she has adapted well every step of the way. It takes a special car to be a Chamber Car. Not just any car has what it takes to carry supplies for monthly board meetings like sandwiches, chips, cookies, iced tea, bags of ice, papers, documents, folders and invoices.
Not just any car can survive a weekend of Cotton Festival supplies. Boxes full of gloves, napkins, bowls, sample cups, spoons, cash money, chips, crackers, banners, tables, chairs, ticket boxes, pamphlets and brochures filled Camy from the inside out as I used her for my portable storage unit that weekend. All day long I was running back and forth to my trusty friend for music CD's, extra pens, sharpies, and other supplies. The same goes for Oyster Fry and Wagon Wheel too. Did you know that Camy is capable of holding TEN cases of water bottles, in her trunk alone!?
Throughout the week she zips all over town with me. We deliver invoices, pick up donations from good members, drop of deposits and mail, visit businesses and hang flyers. We stay busy doing business Monday through Friday and we look official doing it because Camy is a professional car. She has an image she upholds well. We call her feisty because she is. From the second you sit down she is a no-nonsense vehicle. Her alert to fasten your seat belt is of the most persistent alarms I have heard. She is strict on safety, but big on fun. Her stereo system likes to be played loud and her seats like to be filled with friends.
In fact, she is excellent in her weekend transformation. On the weekends she morphs back into her more youthful (but still responsible) self. She delivers my friends and I to all sorts of happening spots around the area. Lawton, Altus and Wichita are all places where Camy finds us having fun. Good Saturday nights are often marked in Camy's backseat. Taco Bell packets, shredded cheese and the occasional mini Fireball bottle wedged in between the backseats are all signs of the good times we had inside Camy's protection.
Of course, Camy is good for solitude, too. Around June of last year I was driving home from Altus on an early morning. I had stayed the night at a friends house when we got home extremely late from a tourism meeting in Weatherford. As I was driving home that morning, Camy was silent. The radio was off and the morning sunrise made for a perfect drive full of prayer and meditation. I had both hands on the wheel and I was focused solely on the road in front of me. There was no phone ringing, no music blaring and no friends chattering, just me and Camy talking to God on the open road. This magical moment was brought to a screeching halt when a deer suddenly lept from the right side of my vehicle to the left, where he then rolled off the road. My only reaction was a high-pitched yelp as I heard the loud thud hit Camy's grill. My heart beat fast and my mind was shocked, but I realized Camy and I were okay and we were still moving. So I drove a few more miles down the road before I realized Cam might need some love and inspection towards her spot of impact.
By the time we rolled in the driveway she had two blinking maintenance lights and a faint smell of smoke filling the air. I turned her off and said a prayer of gratitude that we had made it home. Unfortunately, when I filled Dad in about the situation, he was less than pleased. I guess what I should have done was pull over immediately and not continue to drive on an injured engine. With Dad's inspection he decided Camy needed to see her physician, Dr. Greg Petty.
I watched as my father and my brother loaded Camy on to a trailer. She screeched and stumbled and scratched, but they finally got her loaded on the trailer. I waved goodbye and hoped to see her in a few weeks.
Sure enough, about a month later I got to reunite with my best buddy. She was as good as new for only about a thousand dollars with the help of insurance. We wrote Dr. Petty a kind check and galloped out of town with the excitement of our reunion.
It wasn't but a few months later that Camy encountered another incident. My cousin and I had taken her to Arkansas for a weekend trip. (She does excellent on road trips, by the way.) We were on our way home on a busy two-lane interstate when a tire popped up in the middle of the lane. Miranda was driving, but because there was not time nor space to swerve into the next lane, she screamed and hit the tire head-on.
Immediately we pulled over to a big grassy area, off of the main road. We used the flashlights on our cell phones to discover Camy's injuries. She had a large piece of black plastic hanging down from the bottom of the front left side. The fog light on that side was swinging loose as well, and a big piece of something was hanging down the center of the front bottom-side.
Two single girls sat on the side of a dark, busy highway four hours from home, with no mechanical skills that we knew of. We called the Highway Patrol but they were of no help. After discussing the dilemma with Dad we knew we had to find a way to fix it ourselves. So with a little bit of creativity, Miranda pulled out an old scarf she didn't like and I dug through my purse for a pocket knife. Miranda cut the scarf into thin strands and together we bolstered up Camy's entire bottom front-half. We tied and tightened over and over again until we thought our redneckery would last us the twenty minutes we needed into the next gas station.
After saying another prayer, I pulled back out onto the highway. Twenty, thirty, and finally fifty miles an hour, we went as we held our breath for our safety. After five minutes we pulled over again to check our mastery. Camy was holding up fine and our scarf trick had worked. We proceeded to the next rest stop where we bought duct tape, bungee chords and Cheetos, just in case we got stuck again somewhere.
Fortunately, Camy made it the rest of the way home, and even over to Tipton where she again spent a week with Dr. Petty. In under a thousand dollars, Camy was spick and span again and ready for another adventure.
Through snow storms, ice storms, dirt roads and interstates, Camy has made an excellent companion. She has just over 80,000 miles on her now, but with that comes experience. Together we've been to three different states, two college and lived in three cities. She's been with me through good times and bad. We no longer panic when we have no idea where we are. Bumps and bruises are no longer threatening, but an excuse for a good story. And an unknown road is only an option for adventure.
We've been together almost six years now, and Camy ain't done yet. Any car that car survive my driving drama deserves a gold medal in my book. As I mentioned earlier, cars aren't just inanimate objects. They are devices that take us on adventures where memories are waiting to be found, and I hope Camy and I will have many more memories!