Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Than a Star

In late November, I will turn thirty-six. I am a self proclaimed over achieving goal setter. I set goals for everything from athletics, to work, and home. If there is a bare minimum, I want more and I am not afraid to work to get what I want. I’ve held a steady job (or two at a time) since I was 16 and have never regretted a single day of it. I check off goals like a long to-do list. Now, on my list, I want to own a Mercedes Benz.

Why a Benz? Why now? My father has worked for Mercedes for nearly 40-years (Tafel Motors in Louisville, Kentucky). While many girls grew up wanting a Barbie dream house, I wanted hot wheels, specifically mini Mercedes replicas in all colors (the gullwing was a favorite). My youth is memorialized by the smell of diesel fuel, the distinctive purring of Mercedes diesel engines and the infamous star logo.

My dad is my hero. He’s done all the things a good parent should do. My dad has worked ten, twelve or fourteen hour days often bent over hot running cars for as long as I can remember. He’s provided for our family so I could have things like a nice home, sports, and a college education. He has always taken pride in being a service technician even with the back breaking work that is required to be a mechanic. My dad is a poster child for the blue collar, honest American worker. Even with this kind of demanding work schedule, he’s always found time to be with me. He never missed a softball game, science fair or art show. He will tell you he was sometimes embarrassed attending events in his uniform. To me, it was my dad. I only cared he was there he was there for me. I did not care about his fashion choices.

With my youth enveloped with all things Mercedes, you can be assured my parents home was filled with Mercedes calendars, key fobs, tee-shirts, hats, posters, visors, books, and various certificates that dad earned marking milestones. Our house was a Mercedes pep rally marred with pride in very room. What we did not have in my youth was a Benz in our drive-way. Dad always said that a Benz was a reward and he wasn’t ready to own one yet. I believed my dad and slowly but surely that became the reward I wanted. When people would ask about what I wanted to drive, I always said “Mercedes.”

Through two degrees, a few life changes, one job layoff and various moves around my hometown, my dad has continued to be there and I still desired to own a Benz. In my twenties, I was only a few steps shy of being able to own one but I wasn’t ready for the reward until I felt I was settled in life. This January, I became engaged, secured a comfortable fun job and by all definitions, I am settled. My fiance and I saved our funds and hoped that we would be able to purchase a trade-in. Dad was on the vigilant look out for a wagon in good condition.
 Dad, nor Tafel Motors let me down. Upon returning from a brief vacation to Maine, dad alerted me to a pristine trade-in , a silver C240 wagon with less than 69,000 miles. He instructed me to purchase the car immediately, without driving it. As usual, I listened to his advice.
The new car coming home this week.
To most people, a car is just a car. I am not one to believe in status symbols nor do I need the latest and greatest trend. I am known among my friends for my frugalness and determination. I’ve owned four cars since my sixteenth birthday, all European. They were cars designed to get me from point A to point B. This week, after dad completes some work on the car, I will have my Mercedes Benz that I want and that I worked for. It’s used but dad has assured me, my future husband and I will get many more miles out of this car. It is not a luxury car, it is a symbol of my dads work, his pride in a product and my reward for never slowing down in life. It is hopefully a mark that his rearing paid off. To this day, mom and dad do not own a Mercedes. He wears his uniform everyday with the iconic star symbol but drives a car with over 200,000 known miles. My parents’ home is still rifled with all things Mercedes. I believe as dad is preparing for retirement, he is hoping to own a Mercedes. It never crossed his mind to buy the wagon for himself. He purchased it for me. I can only hope that I could buy one for him someday, perhaps a new goal for my forties. How awesome would it be to buy a car for my life hero?

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