Happy Father's Day!

I drive a Mitsubishi Galant. Yep, that's right. A 2003 model with a "pearl glaze" finish. Which means the car is not white, nor any other primary color, but a kind of oatmeal-tan with a blue sparkle. In other words, it always looks dirty no matter how many times I wash it.

A few years ago, my dad got a postcard in the mail. Some great bargain from the dealership downtown. I remember 0% whatever in bold letters. He studied it a beat too long at the kitchen counter and my mom teased him about the nutty idea of even considering a new car.

The next day she wasn't laughing when, lo and behold, my dad came home jingling shiny, unfamiliar keys.

That's my dad! The same guy who bought me a puppy two weeks before Christmas, ruining the "dog under the tree" idea my mom had already bought the red bow for.

That's my dad! The same guy who gave my mom a plastic Pee-Wee Herman watch on her birthday after seven hours of birthday shopping. Carefully wrapped in a white, legal envelope.

Dad's not very conventional when it comes to his gift giving traditions. Valentine's Day can pass without regard, but then he'll come home with a Yamaha piano for Mom on some random Tuesday in April.

Anyway, back to the car. There it sat. In all its beige glory. Already paid for. Already parked in the driveway. "And the best part, Chels..." Dad started, "When you turn sixteen, it’s all yours.”

Oh. My. Nooooooooooooooo!

I was the girly-girl. An only child. The first one out of my friends to turn sixteen! I wanted a hot pink VW Bug. Something where I could put an oversized flower on the dash board because it would match. A convertible with a personalized license plate and a sound system to go with the musical montage in my head of me and my three best friends singing Avril at the top of our lungs at a stop light next to a truckload of hot senior guys.

I promise you, a Mitsubishi Galant was never included in my slow motion day dream.

Almost four years later, I look out my apartment window at my tiny one car garage and what is settled in my rented spot? My little Galant.

Today, it has two dents on the side. One from when I backed into the garage and the other from when I did it again. The middle speaker is blown from forcing the volume too loud listening to Queen while driving to the beach. There are ticket stubs, receipts and broken sunglasses in every pocket and crevice. On my back window, there's a heart drawn by a boy's fingertips. On my front window there are toe prints from Emilee after a midnight road trip to Arizona.

That car holds some of my favorite moments. From Seven-Eleven parking lots to learning how to change a tire. I've changed six tires on that car. One time, in front of a cop and a tow truck driver. I know, I should own an impact wrench at this point.

I passed my driver's test in that car. I passed. I passed after going the wrong way down a one way street. I LOVE that car.

So, once again life catches me off guard. I'm forced into an arranged marriage with an automobile I don't love and over the years our mutual hatred has grown into complete respect.

A little deep, I know. But thanks for the wheels, Dad. And Happy Father’s Day!


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