Dear World,

I can still smell the fresh auto paint and hear the rattle of the compressor competing with the radio’s hook. Back then? I blasted Boston’s “Don’t Look Back”.


I would look up from the whitewall tires I was scrubbing and peer into my father’s office. If the door was closed, he was either with a customer or supplier. If the door was open, he was standing in his green worker pants, holding a cup of coffee and talking to everyone.

I remember going home and telling my mom, “I don’t think he does anything, he stands around telling other people what to do.” All these years later, I now know that my dad just managed people really well. 

My dad never thought about going to college. He grew up in Eastern Ohio, raised by a steel mill, blue collar father. My grandpap loved cars and sold them on the side. My dad loves cars too. But my dad did go to college and then came home to work in the family business.



My grandfather opened up Snezek’s Used Car Lot and soon enough, three generations of Snezek’s worked there: my grandpap, my dad, and me.

I started detailing cars at the dealership in the summer of eighth grade.

Once I got good at making used cars look new, my grandpap would challenge me to see how fast I could get the job done. I would climb in the trunks and fish out all the gross leftovers of their previous owners.

I found a dead mouse once.

That, I didn’t keep, but any money or jewelry I found was mine.

Grandpap showed me a hack to get bad odors out by placing an open can of coffee grounds in the car to absorb the smells.

The other day, my refrigerator smelled terrible. Out came the coffee grounds. Still works.

I didn’t just detail for my father. Every Saturday morning we would take the hour drive to Pittsburgh together to buy cars wholesale at the auction house. We would have the best conversations on these trips, looking out towards the road stretching ahead. It was during one of these rides that I told him I was thinking of going away to college, despite my mother's protests.

He responded, “You pick where you want to go and I’ll handle your mother.” He supported me. As long as I finished the job. “Snezeks never quit,” he said

When I reflect back on my own career, I can see now how much my dad and grandpap instilled my work ethic. I like to think I’ve achieved what I have because whenever things have gotten tough, I hear their voices: Snezeks never quit.


Snezeks never quit


In 2020, I’ve needed this mantra. COVID has tested all of us.

A few days ago, my father sent a text that said he caught his three hundredth Muskie, thirty one inches long. If you don’t know a thing about fish, this one requires extreme patience and tenacity to catch. He can go out and fish ten hours without a bite and has gone months without catching a single fish. But he continues to go until he does.

I hope that one day my two sons will hear my voice saying my father’s words in their heads when they feel like giving up.


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