I was 21 years old and just getting ready to start my senior year at Indiana University when the ancient station wagon that had been my mother's gave up the ghost.

My Dad and I determined that I had better go look for a modest car that would be reliable for the Indiana winters. It was 1978, and the country was still in disco fever.

One of my college roommates had gotten a new car the previous spring, and had already done a lot of comparison shopping that I could learn from. The car he had settled on was a Ford Fiesta, which was similar in design and features to the Volkswagen Rabbit, a car I had my eye on.

Though a Ford, the Fiesta was made in Europe at that time and was very like the Rabbit.

I went to the Volkswagen dealer and test-drove the Rabbit. The price of the Rabbit was right around $5,000, so I bid the salesman good bye and went to the Ford dealer. When I arrived, a very nice young man came to greet me. He was very helpful, and we went on a long test drive. We chatted over the next couple of hours while my Dad was called in to co-sign my car loan. The Fiesta priced out at around $4,000. Sold!

I happened to be seriously dating a boy at that time who knew the young salesman who helped me. He was in the same graduating class at the same school.

Over the course of the next few months I would run into the young salesman in different places. He always politely asked how I was getting along with the car, and was I still dating the other guy from his class. After 8 or 9 months or so, I broke up with the other guy. I stopped at a gas station one evening to put fuel into my car, and there he was, my car salesman on the other side of the pump. He politely pumped my gas for me, chatted a bit, and then asked if I was still dating that other guy. I was able to answer that we had broken up. "Well," he said, "lets go out for dinner this weekend." We did. And before three months had passed we were engaged to be married.

My husband always joked that it was a good thing he liked the Fiesta so well, since he ended up sharing ownership of the car he sold me. I guess you could say that I ended up getting the "extended " service plan. Thirty-four years, 4 kids, 5 Cocker-Spaniels, a dozen cats, and fourteen cars later we were still together.

Sadly, though, I lost my Fiesta salesman to a series of strokes last May. It's all I can do some days to put one foot in front of the other. Our younger daughter got married in July, and her big brother walked her down the aisle. The seat next to mine was left vacant, and a large portrait of her Daddy was placed there. I carried in 2 red roses, and placed one on the seat in front of the picture.
I owe the love of my life to my choice of a Fiesta. Rest in peace, Dave, I'll be along later on. Just not too soon, I hope.