I know they say dogs are a human’s best friend but since I turned sixteen, my best friend has been my forest green Ford Explorer, Josephine.
When I got her, she already had decent mileage. She also shook a little on the highway and had suffered a few engine problems since her 2001 birth. I never cared. All I cared about was that I had this car who played music, transported my friends, and took me to the beach whenever I wanted.
Over the years, Josephine and I went on even more grand adventures. We trekked all over the bizarre lands of Florida, from the gator-rampant scrub of the Everglades to the Spanish colonial village of St. Augustine. We saw hundreds of beaches and beach houses. We even got to see New Orleans together.
Josephine knew all my favorite songs. In all of her scattered compartments and consoles, CDs overflowed. Because she only had a standard factory radio, nobody could plug in an aux cord for music. Instead, music was powered by the people in the car. Many of the CDs in Josephine were made by friends and family, often featuring personalized Sharpie cover art.
Sure, there were times her battery died. I’ll never forget sitting on the side of a desolate country road, waiting for the kind people of triple A to arrive (hopefully) before nightfall.
I also could never forget in her later years, when her volume dial started working in reverse. I found great amusement in watching visitors trying to turn down the volume, only to be horrified by blaring music.
Towards the end of her years, her side window had a stylish adornment of duct tape holding it in place. The turn signal began malfunctioning in such a way that the driver would have to manually flip the switch up and down in order to activate the blinkers.
It was then that Josephine’s grandparents decided it was her time for used car heaven.
Not only did my friends and I have a send-off party for her. We mourned her loss for our final two months of college. To this day, we think back to her with love and nostalgia. Josephine, my first vessel of freedom, rest in peace.