Blog #732 Waving

Waving!!  (Yes, waving)

I was young – 22 years old (barely since my birthday is in late August), and starting my first ever “real job”.  I was teaching high school math at West Grant High School near Patch Grove Wisconsin. The name “West Grant” came from being the western half of Grant County – and was a consolidation of the towns of Bagley, Mount Hope, and Patch Grove.  I was “the” high school math teacher – there was only one – and I taught freshman algebra, sophomore geometry, junior advanced algebra, senior pre-calc, and a general math class (and had a study hall and one prep period.

The area was beautiful – rolling loess hills along the Mississippi River.  This was Wisconsin dairyland at its finest. Most of the farms had big barns for milking – and most of the farms had the black and white of Holstein cattle. Holsteins are known as the world’s highest-production dairy animals. Holstein cows, on average give about 22,530 pounds of milk per year. Of this milk, 858 pounds (3.7%) are butterfat and 719 pounds (3.1%) are protein. The biggest discipline problem (in my mind) was the young men who had helped with the milking in the morning – and hadn’t changed their boots!!!

Yes, I was young and on my first teaching position.  I was also the assistant basketball coach and head baseball coach.  Mostly those two extra-curricular positions were because the previous high school math teacher also had those positions.  

Since today’s blog is on ‘waving’, let me get to that story.  In October, I had my first parent-teacher conferences. I got to meet the parents of these students.

I was living in Prairie du Chien – on the Mississippi River about 15 miles from the school.  (Prairie du Chien was a ‘real’ town of about 5,000 people – with real grocery stores and more).  

In that first parent-teacher conference, one of the parents mentioned that their daughter was working in Prairie du Chien at a bank.  I said I would wave at her as we passed each other – she going into Prairie du Chien to the bank and me driving to the school.

BUT … I had no idea of what car this girl drove, or even what she looked like.  So, in the next few weeks I waved at pretty much every car that I met as they were coming into town (and I was leaving).  Eventually, I found out which was the girl’s car – but by then, I had been waving at EVERY car – and by then, almost every car was waving back at me.  I stopped waving – except for the girl – but they were waving at me – so … I started waving at everybody.

I taught there for two years before going back to school for my master’s degree – and waved at all the cars I met.  Now and then I met some of the people I waved at as they recognized me.  

So started a lifetime of waving at people – most of whom I didn’t know!!!  Now in my neighborhood, I can wave and assume they live near me – that’s good – but nonetheless, I waved!!

I also have a left turn signal that works rarely.  My friends at Firestone have concluded that all they have to do is open the turn signal housing – and touch the bulb – and it will work for a couple of weeks.  Not wanting to return to Firestone every month to have them touch the bulb, I use hand signals for a left turn (the right turn signal works fine).  

I like to wave.  I like to have my window down and my arm ready to make my waving motion.  Sometimes people wave back – and I’m sure sometimes people think “Do I know that person?”  I find it is a friendly gesture and a cheerful gesture. I hope they have a great day. Sometimes I do know the people (in the neighborhood).  Even in Texas (where I hate to run the car air conditioning) – I have the window down. Yes, I rarely (if ever) wave on the interstate – but on the backroads and neighborhood roads – for sure.  

People see me with my arm outstretched sometimes think I am waving and they give me a look like ‘do I know you’.   (Yesterday I was listening to Hey Jude – so my waving arm was also beating the tempo!!)

So, what does this mean to you – the reader of this blog?  

The first answer might be “We knew you were a little strange!!”  (Okay, I admit to that).

The second answer might be “What a friendly person”

The third answer might be “Why not!!!”

This does carry over into my life as I want to be cheerful.  I’ve been a greeter at my church for years – I generally invoke a smile.  This is really a ‘ministry’ – the ministry of friendliness, ministry of smiles of hope or love.  

Are you friendly?  Do you wave at people?  Do you say ‘hi’ to people?  Do you say ‘hi’ to people in line at the grocery store?  I do!!! And, I think it does brighten their day (and mine)!!!



Posted by Bruce White

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