I was in for some culture shock.
Farming is a way of life, not just an occupation. It is like a whole little sub-culture out here in the sticks. My life in town with neighbors 10 feet from my back door is long gone. I've learned about 45,000 things since becoming a farmer's wife. I have a lot of catching up to do because country kids know the difference between a New Holland and a John Deere before they can walk. I just learned the difference when I was about 25 years old.
During my first summer season on the farm, I began to notice my husband waving at vehicles he passed on the rural roads around the farm. I didn't know who these people were. I would ask, "Who's that?" Sometimes he would respond with "That's Big John," or "One of Horton's crew," and sometimes he said, "I have no idea, it's just what you do."
The wave. Of course I wanted to fit in, so I started waving at everyone I saw when I was in my little green Jetta. If I was on the road and you happened to pass me, watch out.
(Please note: the dinner plate serves as the steering wheel in this reenactment)
I didn't realize there is a technique along with subtle nuances that turn a good "howdy" wave into "what the heck is wrong with that city girl? There must be a bee in her car."
It took me years of practice to master the wave. Let me share with you the secret, to spare you the embarrassment I've faced. The secret is not to lift your hand from the steering wheel, just the four fingers on top of the wheel. Sort of a salute.
It's not fool proof. You must also learn to control your expression. Play it cool instead of conveying, "I haven't seen another person in 14 days, I'm desperate for human interaction. You complete my existence."
Don't shake your fingers around in a faux wave. It is too much. For this kind of energy, consider starting a blog. It worked wonders for me.
(Not for use within the city limits)
Move hand to top of steering wheel and lift just 4 fingers. Include a head nod, if you dare. A head nod says, "Ya, I belong. You belong. We all belong. Howdy neighbor."
These days I drive a minivan and still don't blend well in the country. I pull out my "Howdy" wave only for vehicle/drivers I recognize from a distance. My main occupation here on the farm is meal delivery service to the stars and child care provider to the future farm hands of america. If I am needed and those in charge want to risk me driving some valuable farm vehicle, I wave at all other farm vehicles. It is what you do. I blend. It is beautiful.
Until next time when talk about the art of watermelon seed spitting and corn husking.