ALL ABOARD | Long may we wave with one hand at a time

Ever notice how much waving goes on around here?

Are you one of those drivers that likes to wave at folks you know who are driving the other way?

Do you wave with your right or left hand, or both like my Grandma Freeman used to wave?

Grandma used to take both hands off the wheel while driving up Main Street in Thayer, Mo. so she could wave, vigorously and often.

“Grandma, how come you wave all the time? Aren’t you supposed to keep your hands on the wheel?”

“Jimmy, it’s all right. I’m returning waves. It’s courteous. Besides, we aren’t going that fast uphill.”

Waving while driving is still a bit threatening to me.

If I am able to wander visually to notice an oncoming wave, I’ll try to at least lift a finger to respond in kind.

But I won’t release my hands from the wheel.

At least not until my truck is paid for.

Maybe when I don’t need to carry collision insurance, I’ll get reckless and release my non-dominant hand from the wheel.

My best friend in high school was sitting next to me in the hallway of the Oil City Hospital while we were waiting to see if Tinman, the driver of the ’65 Valiant that we had just totaled, would be OK.

I’ll never forget those eight words from Mr. Wert, uttered emphatically as he sat down next to us.

“Boys, remember, driving is a full-time job.”

How can it be full-time if I wave while driving? According to Wikipedia: “A wave is a gesture in which the hand is raised and moved back and forth, as a greeting or sign of departure. The orientation of the hand varies by culture and situation. In many cultures, the palm is oriented toward the recipient of the wave. In China and Japan, orienting the hand palm down and waving it up and down signifies ‘come here’ rather than a greeting.”

Given the frequency with which we locals wave, who’s to know whether we are coming or going or just going there from here?

Do you know which way your palms are facing when you wave?

What about the permanent wave?

In 1915, Charles Nestle created the “Scientific Everlasting Wave” or a Nestle permanent, an expensive, uncomfortable 6- to 12-hour process in which strands of hair were wound around rods, covered with a paste, inserted into asbestos tubes and steamed in an iron-pipe contraption.

Talk about permanent! No wonder Mother called it “getting my hair done.”

Steamed asbestos sounds like a drywaller’s special at a Chinese restaurant.

During this holiday season I remind all of us to be kind and courteous to one another, but to also be mindfully cautious with our personal and public waving, whether it be permanent or temporary.

Waving is an island tradition, going back to some of the original “come here’s” more than two centuries ago.

May we continue saluting the wave of our future.

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