Understand, on the back roads we were all neighbors. Familiarity was the default setting.
Those you passed along the road, whether you gave them a ride or not, always shouted a friendly, ‘dios! (dee–yos – a version of “adios,” meaning “hi!”).
And that brings me to the “why” – why were we trekking around in our muddy Rover?
To get their story. My dad is a photojournalist. To capture their voices on an old tape recorder. Render them in two dimensions through a typewriter. Submit them to the heavy metal clang and the rhythmic whoosh of the linotype machine. Feed them to the mammoth printing press hungry with thick rolls of blankness.
…And eventually settle those voices in the black ink of the daily paper. Then folk in other places, in pulperías (corner shops), on radio shows, in barber shops, read the words aloud. They populate the air with their neighbors’ stories reawakened. Add their own opinions, use their own voices. And the beat goes on.
Don’t you love the process? Words are world travelers. Think about it!