Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

To Wave or Not

Country at HeartLet me define a "wave," then we'll go on down the road and do some waving. To me a wave is a country's person way of greeting their neighbors or anybody who drives past their place. It's a long-distance "hello" when two people are too far away to speak face-to-face, so, their arms serve as their way of saying "hi" from far away. If you are not within earshot, it's considered rude to yell, especially since it's so easy to wave, which is the polite way to speak.

Not only that, but it's not polite to honk your horn either as though you're trying to scare away a bear; however, the over-zealous waver may tap his horn lightly and holler, "hey there," or something to that effect, as long as the honk is accompanied by a hearty wave. If not, honking doesn't go over too well in our parts. About the only time it's halfway okay to honk is when a driver is not sure the person sees him. This is usually done when someone is really into whatever they're doing, but the honk is only sounded once to get them to look up.

Now, here's how the wave (the non-verbal way to speak) goes for country folks. A "speak" is different if you live in town or if you are passing by someone on the street or on the road. You simply speak. There is no need to wave. But, in the country, a "speak" is a little more demonstrative. If you're outside in your yard and your neighbor (or even a stranger drives by) usually, they wave ... and you wave back. It’s just that simple.

On rare occasions, a motorist may not wave at all. If he doesn't wave, you can still wave, though it can be a bit awkward, because the person in the yard expects the driver to lift his hand. So, if a driver doesn't extend his hand, it's okay to simply ignore him.

There also another way for country folks to speak. Those who don't want to appear snobbish may nod their head. They're the kind you don't even want to acknowledge, but if you're polite, you may half raise your hand. That's sort of like letting them know that you see them but just like them, you're just sort of half speaking back. Not so nice, huh?

Now, let's explore the wave a little further. Most country people are friendly and whenever they pass your house, usually they'll speak (wave). If they don't wave, they are no doubt distant neighbors that you may not know and that you may not expect a wave from. However, if you're real country, nine times out of ten, you'll wave. That's just the acceptable way of living and interacting with people who live somewhere in your neck of the woods ... or simply in the country. Even motorists from town will wave, because they know it is common courtesy to speak.

There is another rule for our waves. For instance, if a close neighbor waves on the way out, they usually don't wave on the way back, even if you saw them pass by an hour ago. Now if they waved in the morning and you see them pass by in the evening, it's okay to wave again. This last wave is for "good night."

Here's something else about waves. They go over better during the summer. That's because it's hot. The car windows are down, and if you are really into greetings, you'll even stick your hand out the window and flail your arm. Now, that's what I consider a real wave.

This wave may be followed by a shout. Actually, this is the wave that country folks really like. At least I know I do. This extended greeting shows that the waver is a really friendly, down-home person and more than anything he is, for the most part, sincere in his speaking. This wave makes me smile broadly or even chuckle a bit. I think to myself, "Boy, he really knows how to speak." While that may not be the case, that's the way I see it. I love a warm wave greeting, and I'm sure most country people do too.


Photo by Fotolia/johnsroad7