Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Farmer Wave

Out here on our road, we notice who is driving by, whether it's because we have no window treatments in our main living areas or because we live on a road that is not too busy, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, we notice. However, I have noticed lately that we not only always look at the person driving by, but we also wave. In the summertime when we are practically living outside, Anna especially turns, looks and waves. She waves a big, hearty, preschool wave. Farmers around here, however, practice the "farmer wave."

In fact, just yesterday, I noticed Joe utilizing the "farmer wave" to a "neighbor" farmer who lives a few miles away (sorry for the excessive use of quotation marks. . . kind of feel like Chris Farley when he was a motivational speaker on SNL). Anyway, for those of you who either understand or have utilized the farmer wave, please forgive me, but the purpose of my musings is to educate. This wave is generally a flick of the first two fingers, and takes place while the hand is still potentially clasping the steering wheel. The hand never leaves the steering wheel, it merely acknowledges the other driver or person in the yard and then is gone. Poof.

Although it is a fleeting motion, the actual finger move of said wave is not what is interesting to me. It is the notion that the wave suggests. We have neighbors out here, but they are not the kind of neighbor I had growing up in town: one who you would play with or mow the lawn for or check up on. They are a mile, or in some cases miles away. However, what is fascinating to me about farm neighbors is while you may never take them a meal when their second child is born or you may not even really speak more than a few words to them at the grocery store, if there is something big happening on his or her farm, you are there.

Case in point: the neighbors up the road had a terrible hay fire this spring. Now, I was again, trying to keep the Webel Wheels turning, and this day, we had Anna's first parent/teacher conference at preschool, in town, and one o'clock--SHARP. I was dressed, ready to go, grossly pregnant with Amelia and, therefore, quite emotional. Joe, however, heard from the hired man about this fire, and soon saw the fire department trucks (all three of them or so) headed to the south. In just a minute, Joe was out the door with the tractor and loader helping these neighbors, because, "That's what you do."

Really? That's what you do for people who you really barely know and never really talk to? That's what you do? That's what you do when you're getting ready to go and attend your first parent/teacher conference? (thank heavens our preschool teacher is also a farmer's wife, so she completely understood why Joe smelled of smoke!) The answer is a vehement YES, and for this knowledge, I am truly grateful. We haven't had a disaster, yet (even though this spring and fall could be called disastrous, but that's for another post), but I am so thankful to know that if/when it happens to us, our neighbors, whom we merely flick our farmer wave to, will be there, tractors and loaders in tow.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great post. I found it Googling the Farmer Wave preparing a blog post of my own. I'm a cyclist who recently moved from Pittsburgh, PA to central Michigan. I spend a LOT of time on the gravel roads on my bike, and am always amazed and very pleased at the amount of waves I get from folks passing by in truck and tractors. I used to get waves in Pittsburgh, but usually they only used one finger (and it was the middle one).

    Spending so much time on the rural gravel roads has given me a greater respect for what farmers do for us. Cheers!