Country waving

Susan Manzke
Sunny and Jade walk columnist Susan Manzke along a quiet country road.

A friend who visited a relative in New York City was told not to say ‘hi’ to everyone on the street. “You are not in Seymour. You’re in New York. People here will think you’re strange if you keep saying hi.”

I think that says a lot about big city life compared to small town life.

Country people and small town people like to greet their neighbors and friends on the street, even if with only a nod and a smile. It is foreign to us not to do this and takes great effort to pass people by without acknowledging them - one reason I could never live in a metropolis like New York. I need to be surrounded by down-home people.

When I’m walking our dog down our country road I wave at passing cars - unless I’m tangled up with the dog’s leash. Most people driving down our road are neighbors or at least area people and they usually wave back - unless they are talking on their cell phone.

Even when I’m waving, I can’t always see whom I’m waving at, especially if the vehicle has tinted windows. I wave anyway. It’s the polite thing to do.

Bob Manzke takes Sunny and Jade for a ride instead of a walk.

I’ve noticed that there are many ways of waving. I particularly like the full-arm wave, gesticulating out the car or pickup window. That person is really involved in this action - if the person really wants/needs your attention both arms come up. This may mean that there’s a problem and they need your help, or run for your life the dinosaurs have escaped! 

A second kind of wave is moderate. It’s the two finger salute where the hat brim is touched. The person doing this is usually a man who wants to be neighborly, but is keeping his dignity while acknowledging you.

Queen Elizabeth uses the princess wave. The hand is cupped and gently rotates. This is often used for parade waving as it doesn’t use too much energy, or so I’m told.

My particular brand of waving is to raise my hand shoulder high and just hold it there for a moment until the passing vehicle has gone further down the road. 

Recently Highway 47 was closed for five days for resurfacing. The detour for this was Highway 55, through Seymour. Locals, knowing they have other options, chose to use our road, so that meant more and faster traffic for us.

I didn’t walk the dog down the road that week. It was too dangerous. But to get to our farm lane, I did have to cross the road, taking a hundred-foot stroll on the blacktop.

When cars sped by during this crossing, I didn’t wave unless I recognized the vehicle. If they didn’t pull to the left, giving me and Sunny a little more room, they probably weren’t local anyway.

A second dog joined us for two weeks this summer, that being our daughter Rachel’s family dog, Jade - a puggle. Poor Jade has hay fever so she wasn’t thrilled with her time on the farm. She preferred to stay on the blacktop and not walk on the shoulder or in the grass or better yet, stay in the house.

When a car would come speeding down our road, Jade didn’t always want to move off the blacktop. Sometimes I had to give her a boost to get her to safety.

I also had Sunny along for our short walks. It was imperative that I watch that neither dog got run over - or myself for that matter. 

Boy, was I happy when road work on 47 was over. Too bad other roads will be closed soon. I’m not sure if locals will need to use our road as a shortcut or not, but if they do, I’ll be watching more so I don’t get run over and leave the polite country waving for another day.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;