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A woman's perspective of living with and loving a Mercedes-Benz Maniac

Authored by our own Bonnie Fancy.

Reprinted with permission from The Star Magazine. January / February 2009.

People I haven't seen for a while often ask me what I've been up to lately. After finding out the answer, the next question is, “Do you ever do anything that is not car related.” The simple answer is “no.” Nothing is ever that simple. Ernie and I have an informal deal, for every junk yard or car museum we see, he has to come with me to an antique show, or art museum. Sometimes it works out to be advantageous to his addiction.

On a recent trip to Michigan to see James and his family, we stopped in Buffalo for lunch with my cousin Ed who is the director of the Hallwalls gallery. Galleries, unless they concern cars, are not of much interest to Ernie. However, this one was different not in content, but in information. Ed told him that there is a car museum in Buffalo that features cars made in the Buffalo area. Ernie took down the information. I know he is thinking that we should stop there next time we are in the vicinity. If there is a club activity centered around the museum, that would be even better. A meeting with kindred spirits in their favored environment—how cool would that be?

I've listened to people talk about cruises to the Caribbean. They tell me we should go. Not likely, since 9/11, security is pretty tight. I doubt any cruise line would allow Ernie to tinker with the engine. Other than that there is nothing on a cruise that would interest him. To be honest, I'm not sure what I would do on a cruise either.

How about a European tour? Well, that depends; does it include a tour of the Mercedes Plant in Stuttgart ? What about other manufacturers? Forget about a cruise on a canal barge in Holland ; let's do the autobahn in Germany. If a country doesn't make cars, we won't be there unless the Mercedes Club of that country is having an event. I enjoy meeting people and talking to them, so that's not a problem.

What about golf? Ernie and I could get some exercise and spend quality time together. I can see myself waiting to tee off as Ernie dissects the golf cart. As for other sports—auto racing is the hands down favorite with the men in my life, although Mark will take in a Worcester Sharks game occasionally. Not because he likes hockey, but because it might be fun to work on the Zamboni. Until the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Patriots get some three pointed stars involved, we will not be there.

We aren't far from the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. We have never been to either of them. Ernie would rather not waste good car money or time on a slot machine or a card game. It might deprive his car of something it needs. I'm too much of a Scotch Yankee to enjoy gambling. What about the shows? Well, most of the performers appear on television anyway and the cost to watch television is minimal compared to ticket prices and all the other stuff that goes along with an evening out. However, if there were a club event at either place we would be there.

Needless to say resorts are not on Ernie's map unless they are the designated place to stay for a car event. It doesn't matter how posh a place is or what it offers in terms of entertainment, unless there is something club related going on forget about it. This doesn't bother me a whole lot, I'd rather be in a town where I can get a better sense of the area than I would get cloistered at a resort.

I can get Ernie to the period movies I like, if I point out that there are loads of old cars in them. If the story takes place in Europe , there might even be vintage Mercedes in it. If the story centers on racing, it would be even better. Jane Austen doesn't make the cut.

Ernie does enjoy the Home Shows and Auto Shows that show up once a year. At the Home Show there is information on building garages and displays of tools and gadgets that might be useful on cars as well as buildings. The Auto Show has cars and the various accoutrements that go with them as well as displays by restorers and independent body works people. Once in a while the local Mercedes Dealer will have an open house. We will go over, and Ernie will drool over the cars and talk to the sales people about the cars and the club. I will try to figure out how I will fit a weeks' worth of groceries and a border collie into a Smart Car.

We have done presentations on our Route 66 trip to several groups. It generally comes out that there are only seven states that I haven't been in. Odds are I won't get to the final seven. How do you drive to Hawaii ? Are there club events in Alaska or North Dakota ? I might make the Gulf States . I know they have club events there. Forget about the beach, or fishing, or boating, or even fine dining. If it doesn't somehow involve cars and the club, then we won't be there and that's fine with me. I can always find something to do.