Remember the long story I wrote about the Camden police picking me up on my way home from an evening in Searsport last winter [see “As the sky falls on Molyneaux Road” in the Dec. 9 Herald Gazette]? The time when I produced my driver’s license and registration and the cop discovered with sinister glee that my license was woefully out of date — expired, defunct, illegal — and gave me a document that summoned me to appear in the Knox County Courthouse on Jan. 26 so that my “case” could be heard and the penalty for my crime could be laid out before me in due course?

Well, I am here to tell you the rest of that woebegone soap opera.

The situation is that in the state of Maine, under my circumstances, one is permitted to telephone the courthouse before a scheduled appearance and speak to a clerk, who is empowered to collect your fine over the phone with the help of a credit card payment. And when this transaction has taken place, said clerk will waive the court appearance to which you have been summoned.

Sounded like a good deal to me, so I called the courthouse and told my whole sorry story to the clerk who answered the phone and replied that they could not do that on that particular day because she did not yet have the police report from the Camden constabulary, and wouldn’t have that report until Jan. 21.

I remembered that I would be out in Ohio on Jan. 21, teaching at the Women’s Retreat Center in Peebles, where I go every January for a three-week stint. But I told the clerk that I would call her as soon as I got back. She said fine, and that was the end of our conversation.

I continued my wobbly life after that, got my round-trip tickets from the people in Ohio, and made arrangements to carpool with some friends from St. George to travel part way together. We were on the same flight returning from Columbus on Jan. 26 and it never entered my moth-eaten mind that I had a previous engagement on that particular day.

Well, we did come home on the 26th, and on the 27th, I went down to the post office to collect the mountain of mail that had piled up in my absence. In it was a terse form letter from a different clerk at the county courthouse, informing me that my driver’s license had been revoked due to my failure to appear in the court for the scheduled hearing on Jan. 26. Because I noticed the return address on the envelope, I opened it right there in the lobby, and stood there, sweating under my down jacket, feeling my face redden and my knees buckle under the heavy weight of this ridiculous and dreadful news.

I wondered if I could drive home again without being stopped by any one of the cops on the Camden force, all of whom must by then have known about my criminal status, and now, my double-duty crime of failing to manifest in the courthouse on the appointed day. I said a little prayer to the crisp wind that blew up off the bay and drove my bright red Subaru back up into the hills. When I got home, I called courthouse clerk number one, and asked her what in heaven’s name I could do now. She said if I went down to her office and paid my fine, then I could go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and see about getting my expired license renewed; or, at least, start the process to make that happen.

I did both these things, after I got James to drive me to Rockland in his car. A nice lady at the BMV gave me a 60-day temporary permit to drive an automobile, which was a nice balm for my frayed nerves, and the clerk at the court happily accepted my check for $190. That was it for Tuesday.

Soon after I awoke on Wednesday morning, Shannon called me on the phone, and said she had just had a disturbing call from a Camden officer, an old friend. Shannon said there was a bona fide “Warrant for the Arrest of one Mary B. Bok, of Camden, Maine” on the desk and the officer provided the telephone of someone who worked in an attorney’s office as an advocate for poor sods like me, who don’t yet know the ropes of court procedures. Shannon told me not to go anywhere, that the cops would be on the lookout for me and had their handcuffs ready!

I was absolutely flabbergasted and at her suggestion, called the clerk at the courthouse once again, and found out that if I paid yet another fine, she would be able to void the warrant, and could put that waiver out on the Web, so that every policeman in the county would know about it. Shannon and I hustled our buns down to Rockland and took care of that, in short order, something like $200 and that was the end of it for a while, anyway.

Except that by then, just about everyone in town knew about what had happened and would greet me on the street or in a meeting with a cheery, fun loving, jokiness about it all. Talk about adding insult to injury. I was amazed at how funny this all seemed to people who were not really connected to the details; at the same time I could see how weird everything about it was to anyone trying to make sense of it all. I kept missing Tony’s company on this trip. I knew he would have given me a hug and called me “the family scofflaw,” and then he would have brought me Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a honey raised, or a martini with double olives, and we would have somehow or other laughed our way through the various steps. We would have loved the helpful Camden officer, and the role he has played in our lives, and would have blessed Shannon for taking me seriously in the very worst of times.

At the last visit to the clerk, she told me to return to the BMV to show them the document that proved the warrant had been voided so that my license renewal might more easily be forwarded through the system. I did this, and the lady I spoke to there urged me to send a check for $35 to the director of driver’s license services, with my application and my old driver’s license. She said I should have my renewed license in a few weeks.

Well, I did all that. I jumped through every hoop they put out before me, even the ones with flames coming out of the rims. But it paid off. Day before yesterday, I got a letter from that director in Augusta, with my brand new license stuck to the flap on the bottom, and now that little plastic card is safe and sound in my wallet.