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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Waving - A Forgotten Gesture?

Chuck Hinman: Waving - A Forgotten Gesture? Chuck asks, "Are people too sophisticated or private to wave? Is it a sissy habit that needs to go?"
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Shoo Fly!

By Chuck Hinman

Waving - A Forgotten Gesture?

When little ones are still "arm babies," one of the earliest things they are encouraged to do is "wave bye-bye." Ooh, everyone coos, isn't that adorable! Mercy!

Is that in your memory bank? It wasn't a difficult thing for our kids to learn, and did it ever go over big? Of course, there is a time limit on how long it is cute. You expect your kids to move on as the years pass.

But there is a place for waving after you leave babyhood that I believe is becoming an endangered gesture of the good old days. Let me explain.

Farming activity and waving at passing traffic

I grew up on a farm in southeast Nebraska. Land was laid out on the township and range grid so there was a road at each mile marker. There were approximately four homes to a square mile. I mention that to show that even in the 1920's and 1930's there was considerable traffic on country roads, albeit no Walmart trucks.

Let me set the picture a little clearer. We lived in the part of Nebraska where farm land was mostly tilled, not grazed. That meant farmers worked their fields with horse-drawn machinery and later tractors. There was farming activity all over the countryside many months out of the year.

Collie dog's bark joins Chuck's friendly waving

All that I have to say is that when Dad was working in the field and a car went by, he automatically waved whether he knew the people or not. And they waved back. I picked up on what I saw Dad or Mom do and began the practice of waving at an early age.

Not only that, but when a car went by our house and any of our family was in the yard doing something, we always took a minute to wave. Even our collie dog, Sport, got in on this friendly gesture. He would crouch by the roadside to meet and bark at the wheels of a passing car as his way of saying "Hi!" Carrying that a bit further, when we were in our car and met an oncoming car, every member of each car gave a friendly wave to all the members of the other car. Isn't that friendly? Just reminiscing of those days makes me feel good!

Waving is becoming a lost art

Well I haven't lived on a farm for 65 years but I would hazard a guess that waving is becoming a lost art. I wonder, what brought about its demise?

Are people too sophisticated or private to wave? Is it a sissy habit that needs to go? I think not.

Waving still practiced, not planned or staged

I still practice it occasionally -- certainly not on a busy freeway. I don't plan or stage it. It just seems like a normal thing for an ex-Nebraska farm kid to do and I am glad I learned that from my parents, Arley and Merle Hinman.

I would like to see the custom continue.

P.S. No, I never wave at airplanes!

Written by Chuck Hinman. Emailed: Friday, 16 April 2010.

This story was posted on 2013-04-21 01:45:31
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