Old Friends, or Old Tractors?


On the country highway we take into town, (our nearby city), I always enjoy the farmland scenery. Recently, an old tractor showed up under a tree near the road with a For Sale sign on it. Somehow, the image seemed forlorn to me. A little sad, and oddly nostalgic. I’ve seen old equipment for sale. The same with used cars, boats, farms equipment, and things I couldn’t even identify. What made this different, was the setting. I used to do pencil drawings of old barns and covered bridges I found on my New England drives. Often, they were somewhat derelict. There was a sad charm about them, well-suited to venerating with a carefully rendered drawing. The tractor beneath the tree struck me the same way. Had someone learned to drive on that tractor? How many times had it labored with the farmer driving it late into the evening to bring in hay before the rains fell? I’m sure the farmer who owned it went through both good times and bad times with that tractor. Did it ever break down? I think you must get the point. Now, it sat far from the barns and sheds, out near the road, awaiting an interested buyer, like a puppy in an animal shelter awaiting a new home. I know, that’s anthropomorphizing, and I shouldn’t be doing that. Nevertheless, haven’t you ever gotten attached to a vehicle, machine or piece of equipment? It doesn’t always happen, but it can. At the fair last week I saw an old gentleman sitting on an ancient, rust-covered tractor under a tent. I wondered at the time whether it was his, or one like he remembered from some early days of his own nostalgic recollection.

My series protagonist, Bobby Navarro lost a motorcycle in the first novel in the series, Murder on Route 66. I won’t go into details here, but I gave some thought at the time to whether he should have an emotional reaction to the bike’s loss. We all know you shouldn’t go putting your hands on someone’s bike. It’s just not a good idea. Bobby has had that sort of situation occur as well, and felt the emotional response. It’s something to think about…the emotional lives of our heroes. Necessary to good writing, too.



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