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A John Deere Thanksgiving

By Donna Schlachter

Cadillac Ranch IMG_4521

I love holiday traditions. I loved them when I was a kid growing up. We knew every holiday what was expected of us because we always did things the same way.

Now that our kids are grown and out of the house creating their own traditions, my husband and I have been left to our own devices. As a writer, that means my imagination gets to go wild.

Which is why most Thanksgivings find us traveling. Not to see our kids. Not even to a romantic retreat tucked away somewhere—well, romantic.

We’re usually on the road somewhere doing research for my next book. Or perhaps the one after that. You know how it is—writers always have one book in the hopper, one on the back burner, one in the back forty—I know I’m mixing my metaphors, but you get the idea.

A couple of years ago, Thanksgiving Day found us on the road in the middle of nowhere in Texas, which isn’t hard to do, since Texas is so big. Actually, we were in the middle of somewhere—Cadillac Ranch, to be exact. Just south of Amarillo, Texas, to be specific.

You know the place—where all the old Cadillacs have been buried nose down up to their grilles. It’s the place to go and spray paint somebody else’s property and not get arrested. Seriously, folks leave their partly used paint cans and you’re encouraged to leave your name, a pithy saying, no obscenity, please.

Cadillac Ranch IMG_4517

As I was standing there, looking down the line of Cadillacs—my husband is off to the side rolling his eyes—I’m thinking, “What a great place to find a body.” Not that I wanted to find a body, mind you, but I was in the middle of writing a novel about this quirky rancher and she wanted to find a body.

I took lots of pictures, and by the time I got home, I had a short story laid out about the John Deere Ranch, where tractors—not Cadillacs—are buried nose-down.

Thanksgiving has taken on a whole new meaning for me since then. Last year while we were traveling, I came up with a short story-prequel for my forensic accountant heroine.

This year, we don’t have any plans to travel, but that doesn’t mean anything. There are lots of places near where if I get an idea for a story. . . I hear there’s a fort in southern Colorado that’s supposed to be haunted. . .

IMG_6534 Juggling the books - smallerAbout the Author:

Donna Schlachter is thankful for every holiday—and every book idea—the good Lord gives her. She pens historical suspense, while her alter ego, Leeann Betts, writes contemporary suspense. You can find Donna at www.amazon.com/author/donnaschlachter