The Vanishing Wave

While writing my last hub, I was reminded of a time not too long ago. Well, maybe it was a long time ago; it just does not feel like it was. As age begins to creep up on me (more like an assault), I am reminded that my youth was quite some time ago. Back to my hub, I was born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. In the sixties, Tupelo was still a fairly small town; not so small like Mayberry, but still a small town. In those days we did not have interstates and bypasses going to the next small community. The bulk of our travels were on two-lane highways and county roads. Now, having absolutely no exposure to large towns and cities as a youth, I cannot speak for them. For those raised in the south and in rural communities might remember what I am talking about. When two drivers met on a two-lane road, while traveling opposite directions, a hand was always raised in greeting. A small wave was given and received. It might be as simple as raising an index finger while holding the steering wheel, but the greeting was always made between complete strangers.

Those days seem to be long gone. I am not sure what happened to them. As I get along in years I find myself missing those days when two strangers could meet and connect with each other, if only for that brief moment. We said to each other, “Hello, we share this earth together”. It was a time of yes sir, no sir, please and thank you. There was no dude, yeah, or whazzup. We were taught to respect our elders and back talk was met with a back hand. Yes, my parents whipped me when I needed it. My father would be a therapist equivalent to R. Lee Ermey in the Geico commercials. I did not grow up to despise my father. I did not even rebel as a teenager. I grew up with nothing but a desire to please my father and earn his respect as I respected him. I did not grow up to write a book or a TV movie about my cruel childhood.

Where did life get so complicated and busy? So busy that we cannot take the time to even raises an index finger to acknowledge a stranger. These days when I am traveling a back road or a county road, few are the times a stranger will waive or raise the index finger. I find myself so accustomed to not seeing this, I am taken aback. The memory will kick in just in time and I can wave back or raise my own finger.

Comments 12 comments

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

jt, that is awesome. I too grew up in the 60's and YES, we too greeted one another. My Dad had the index finger salute down perfect. It was all about respect in those days. It is sad that it no longer is still that way.

I also like you Ermey commercial..We was raised not to be a mamby pamby.

Nice hub...I vote up w/some props.

Jason R. Manning profile image

Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California


It still exists friend, you just have to drive to get it. My wife and I went out on a back road hiking expedition yesterday, out on the very rural side of the Superstition Mountains. There were a handful of campers, ATV riders and passing 4x4’s, it was here that the one handed acknowledgment existed. If campers were visible from the road, I raised my hand, as did the campers enjoying some family time. The bible warns us to stay away from big cities; sociopaths flourish in environments of self. I love Arizona and plan to stay here, example, on a recent trip to Seattle, I never experienced so many people go out of there way to avoid eye contact…I thought I had the plague. God Bless JT for brining up these important topics.

jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Cmerrit, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I miss those days. You know, there was something special about one speaker in your dashboard, listening to a cracking and popping AM station. Things are so different now. Glad to hear you are not a mamby pamby! Or a Jack-wagon! (whatever that is?)

jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Jason, that is awesome that you could still find something like that. I hope when you go back you can wave for me one time. Thanks for coming by. Always love your comments.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 6 years ago from America

Living in a small town near the Texas border we still get a lot of the raised hand, Of course Texas and Southern New Mexicans still know how to be good Americans! LOL, nice write!

jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hey AR, thanks for stopping by here. So glad to hear the wave is not dead! I may have to move to south Texas!

Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

I agree - and give you a quick wave and a high five as I pass this Hub.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Thank you, Neil. Thank you for coming by and commenting.

imjustmusing profile image

imjustmusing 6 years ago from Massachusetts

Up here in Central Mass we had different waves depending on if you were alone, if you were with your girl or if you were with Mom and Dad. And it would also depend pn if you knew the other person or not.

Of course there were also a whole set of waves for people who weren't in cars. We would drive up and down the street going around the circuit (gas was 50 cents a gallon I think, didn't know, didn't care) and different groups would hang out on different corners, each had their own wave.

jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

I often went driving, just for the sake of driving when I was a teenager. No particular place to go, as the Chuck Berry song said. Like you I don't remember how much gas was either, didn't watch the gas prices every day like we do now. Such simpler times. Thank you for coming by and the for the great comment, musing.

J Sunhawk profile image

J Sunhawk 6 years ago from South Carolina

Hey Marine, I wave at folks driving by. Do it all the time. I wave at people walking by while I'm sitting on the porch. We're out here. Walk or drive by sometime, and I'll give you a friendly greeting.

Semper Fi

jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 6 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

J Sunhawk, Thank you and Semper Fi!

I sit on my porch as well and wave. Some people look at me like I am crazy, but that is ok with me! I will look for you to drive or walk by as well! If you do, you will be invited in for a cup of coffee.

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