Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Waving Man

Every morning the route to work takes me winding through back-roads (mostly), rolling through the dense South Carolina landscape. Inescapable changes to the woods and farmlands are becoming evident as groups of somebodies with very deep pockets decided we’ve had enough of the trees and meadows and are chewing up the landscape with grinding machines, making way for hundreds and hundreds of new homes. People with nice cars will be moving into nice houses where once the cows ruminated.

Years ago there once sat a house near what became to be a bustling intersection and as we waited for the light to change, noticed the old man sitting on the front porch of his peeling house, watching the cars go by. Businesses and restaurants popped up around him but were not encroaching. He lived his life quietly, I assume. Then one day, his house was gone. And the man went with the house. To this day the lot remains empty while folks argue over where to eat, impatiently waiting for the light to change, never giving thought to the fact that a house once stood there and somebody once lived. 

"Wilfred Mott"--Doctor Who World
Along the route I drive each morning there lives another old man and I wonder what will become of him as the tree-chewers grind their way along. Every morning he’s out there, walking against the traffic, waving to each and every car as if it were the only one. Car approaches, right hand goes up, wave, and keeps right on walking. Car after car. For some reason, that hand look larger than life--perhaps from years and years of waving.

I’ve caught him walking up the drive toward the road. He doesn’t wave then. But once he gets his stride going, walking along the road to wherever he’s going, then it’s car, wave, car, wave, car, wave. The County finally found their way to paving this road and as the traffic backed up and the lines of cars formed, the man served each and every driver with his signature wave, wave, wave.

There’s a friendliness there. A courtesy, perhaps. I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me or the hundreds of others that pass him every day, but every day he says to me, “hello” and “thank you” and “have a nice day” and maybe even an “I’m praying for you” with each and every wave. Some of my jogging or hiking routes take me through the winding back-roads and my wave means, “Hey. I’m here. Please don’t hit me with your car.” But his wave doesn’t say that.

One wonders what will happen when the tree chewers finish their job and the builders come? Hundreds of people will make their move into new fancy houses, living in was once the country. Will they be greeted daily by the old waving man? Who will take his place with a smile, a wave, a smile, a wave . . . 

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