Friday, August 21, 2009

Waving in Wyoming

Wyoming.... The word itself conjurers up all types of images. Perhaps you have been stranded on I-80 in a blizzard somewhere between Rawlins and Rock Springs. Perhaps you have happy memories of $.25 ice cream cones at Little America. Perhaps you hear "Wyoming" and you think of hauling illegal fireworks over the Colorado State line, or eating a fried twinkie at Cheyenne Frontier Days....for me I hear the word Wyoming and I think of my dad.

Hank is now 81 years old and living in a little town in Wyoming. He is pretty spry for an old guy. He drives a Toyota Pickup ( which scares me to death). He has three pairs of Cowboy boots, Brown, Black and dress-up. ( Everyone needs a pair of Dress up Cowboy boots, don't you think?) Hank says that after 35 years of wearing Florsheim shoes to work at IBM he will not put a pair of shoes on his feet, only cowboy boots. Good for him.

I go to visit my dad and we head out a long, two lane road to the next town
(which is over 20 miles away) to go to dinner, to get groceries or go to the hardware store. It is beautiful and serene with rolling hills and livestock scattered across the land. And I have no cell phone coverage, which allows me to see the above mentioned scenery.

What has taken me a while to adjust to is that Dad drives down the middle of the road.
Several years of me saying....
"Um, Dad... you are driving down the middle of the road..."
He responds with,
Which I am not sure what that means. For many years I was sure it meant "Mmmm, it is all part of my evil plan to kill us in a fiery head on crash."

I am nervously watching ahead for on-coming traffic while Dad and the Tacoma chew up the yellow lines in the middle of the road like a human game of "Pac-Man."

But as years pass, and I have yet to die in a fiery crash with my Dad at the wheel I figured something out.

He does this on purpose.

I don't know why people drive down the middle of the road in Wyoming, but they do. And, they get over on to the correct side of the line as another vehicle, (most likely a pickup) get closer. Dad gets right over as soon as he sees the oncoming traffic, so gratefully, it is not like a sick game of chicken. The odd thing is the truck coming at us is getting onto his side of the road as well.... Then, as the two trucks pass each other, they do the strangest thing.

They wave.

For years after my dad would wave at the truck passing us I would say,
"Who was that?"
To which Dad would reply,
"Don't know"
"Well then, why did you wave at him?" I would ask?
"Just being neighborly" Dad would say.

Waving at cars with people in them that you do not know? What an odd thought. Or is it?

Today as I was driving and the person in the blue car who needed to get into my lane and I slowed down to let to let him, zoomed ahead. I sarcastically said out loud, " You're welcome...."

But then I thought of Hank. He just smiles and waves. Most always, they wave back, but if they don't, he doesn't mind. He waved, and that is all that matters.

Now waving at everyone while in the middle of rush hour traffic in LA on the 405 is probably not the smartest thing to do, and might even get you shot at.... but how about a little more of that theory of, "Just being neighborly?" I am going to give that a try......because we each make a difference, one random person at a time.

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