Today was a nice autumn day. After work, I decided to take a detour onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. I needed to unwind a little after watching the returns on this mess of an election. I was going to hit some of my favorite spots when I came across a dust cloud from a combine harvester. I drove about a mile before I decided to turnaround. I figured instead of shooting a familiar scene, I would try to create something different with the combine.

The sunset and color in the dust had caught my eye. I shot the combine as it made its way back and forth across the field. After shooting for a while, I notice the combine coming to a stop. The driver opened the door and waved at me. I crossed the road and made my way over to the big green machine.

I told the driver that I was shooting his machine and the dust against the setting sun. He smiled and we begin a conversation. He introduced himself as Fred. Would you believe Fred is 82 years old? He’s been a farmer all his life. He said he loves it! I mentioned that most people go to work every day doing something they don’t like just to make a living. He smiled again and said that he rather be sitting in the seat of his combine than sitting in a seat on the beach.

We continued our conversation talking about dew and the best time to run the combine. He then told me that he met a wildlife photographer from Nashville on his farm a while back. He told her about a Bald Eagle’s nest. The photographer found the eagles and captured a great shot of an eagle in flight. She made Fred a print for his wall. He proceeded to tell me where a few Eagle’s nest were on his property. Fred said that I was welcome to come on his 400 acres by the Duck River to shoot wildlife. I gave him my card and he took my phone number. I got some vacation time coming up. I hope I can find time to take him up on his offer.

I ended my conversation with Fred asking if I could have his portrait. He was more than happy to let me shoot him. He was so accommodating that he even asked if I wanted him to step down from the combine or even move the combine in a better position relative to the sun. I told him he was in the perfect place. I loved the sun coming through the windshield with him setting at the controls of his machine.

What a nice man and a breath of fresh air. Given the current state of our nation and the direction we are going, I sometimes lose faith in humanity. Meeting people like Fred gives me hope. I could see that Fred had a good time talking to me just as much as I enjoyed talking to him. He made the comment before we said our goodbyes that it was nice to meet good people. Meeting Fred also reminded me that after the dust settles, the most important thing is to do the things we love. Life is too short to be bogged down by things you can’t control. Thanks for reading my post! To catch my next adventure, Like and Follow me on Facebook at Shuttering Thru Life.


4 Responses

  1. I live in Nashville, and know Fred quite well. He is such a nice guy, and I always enjoy seeing him and spending time with him. He is indeed a “Jewel”. The photographs are beautiful. Nice work.

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