And this morning’s traffic—if you can call it that—is sparse. I don’t often get to count cars anymore, but when I do, I wave at people who drive them. I like to count how many people wave back.

I’m on a cousin’s porch this morning. A puppy is in my lap. I am watching traffic roll by.

And this morning’s traffic—if you can call it that—is sparse. I don’t often get to count cars anymore, but when I do, I wave at people who drive them.

I like to count how many people wave back.

People don’t wave like they used to. It’s a dying art, waving. Not long ago, you’d wave at folks and get waves in return. Things have changed.

A red truck rides past. A man wearing a cowboy hat is driving. I wave. The old man waves.

You can trust old men in cowboy hats.

The first cowboy hat I ever had was not a true cattleman’s hat. It was a construction hard hat in the shape of a ten-gallon one. It was my father’s.

My father wore a hardhat every day of his professional life. And like most ironworkers of his day, his everyday hard hat was covered in stickers. I remember those stickers.

There are some things you don’t forget.

My dog Thelma Lou is snoring while I count cars. This dog is pure adrenaline. I have only had her for six days, and I haven’t slept but a few minutes all week.

She wakes at odd hours with hellish insanity in her eyes. She chews anything within a nose’s-reach—including her own body. I love her.

I took Thel for a walk at 4:34 A.M. I haven’t been able to go back to sleep since.

Another car passes. It’s an old Chevelle, a ‘69 or ‘70. Kelly Green. Pretty. It’s full of high-schoolers. I wave at them. Nobody waves back.

Sad.

My uncle John used to drive a ‘73 Chevelle—Periwinkle blue, with Redneck Rust on the hood. I learned to drive stick in that thing.

A man is walking his Labrador on the sidewalk. “Morning,” he says.

“Morning,” my cousin answers.

The Lab’s name is Bruno. Bruno pauses, sniffs the grass, walks in circles, then blesses the earth.

Immediately, the man uses a plastic bag to pick up Bruno’s warm regards.

My father would roll in his grave at this plastic baggy business.

A minivan passes. A young woman is driving. She’s looking at a cellphone while steering. There are kids in the backseat. Each child stares at a glowing screen of their own.

I wave. No wave-backs.

Maybe I have something in my teeth.

I don’t hate smartphones—I really don’t. But I don’t love them, either. They’ve changed the world.

Long ago, when you wanted to, for instance, call a girl, you had to use a KITCHEN phone while your whole family watched and giggled.

You’d hold a receiver against your face, turn your back toward your sister, and twirl a fifty-foot phone cord.

The girl’s father would answer in a voice like a Massey Ferguson log splitter and say: “Who’s calling, please?”

And it was in this exact moment that you were no longer a boy.

A van passes. The thing is loaded with boys in sports uniforms. I wave. All boys wave back. There is hope for humanity.

A nice SUV passes. A woman at the wheel with a young man in her passenger seat.

I wave. She waves. He waves. My cousin waves. Thel even raises her head.

My cousin says, “That guy beside her ain’t her husband.”

Maybe not, but at least he waved.

And now my puppy is awake. She’s making noxious fumes that can be smelled from outer space. I take her into the grass. She sniffs. She finds a spot. She makes a blessing.

My cousin hands me a plastic bag.

And this little dog treats me like I am the most important person in the world. And to her, I think maybe I am. I like feeling important to another creature. In fact, I like it so much that I wish I could give this feeling to as many people as possible.

You might wonder what you just read here.

This is me waving to you.

81 comments

  1. Robert dean - May 5, 2018 5:50 am

    I’m waving back my friend. By the way, I still preach every Sunday but I have a new leg now.😊

    Reply
  2. Nix LaVerdi - May 5, 2018 6:06 am

    Hello Sean! I really needed that wave tonight! Thank you for being in this world. You are simply awesome.

    Reply
  3. Phyllis Sullivan - May 5, 2018 6:12 am

    Hey, Sean, thanks for waving! Hope you and Thelma Lou have a good day-and a nice nap.

    Reply
  4. Beth Reed - May 5, 2018 6:40 am

    Totally loved this post Sean. Gosh it brings back memories of when people waved at each other. Now you just might wonder why some people wave and some don’t. I will tell you why I don’t wave anymore.
    I am typing this from my smart phone that’s actually a dumb phone at times because it really likes to change my words, so just read between the lines and add a correction here and there if you have to.
    Now on to the waving.
    I grew up in a small town. I raised my kids in a small town. People waved, sometimes they even honked their horns.
    I moved to a large city. Even though I still waved no one else did. Then I moved to another small town that shall remain nameless for safety reasons. (Not Really but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone from said State or town).
    I am driving along one morning with a new crew member I had just picked up for a new job. He is barely awake and I am humming along with the radio when I seen a car coming towards me. My hand flys up in a wave. Guy in the other car nods his head acknowledging that he saw my wave.
    He does a U- turn, comes up behind me and beeps his horn.
    I asked my passenger if he knew who was behind us. He mumbled something like I don’t know and leans his head back with eyes closed.
    I pull into the nearest store to buy what I needed and the car pulls up besides me.
    Guy gets out. “What cha looking for doll, I got it all. You want it I can get it at a deal”.
    It takes me a second to realize that he is talking about drugs.
    I don’t recall exactly what I said but something like “Great, I will think about that.”
    I didn’t want to make the guy mad. Right? Right!
    I talked to my boss who enlightened me.
    Waving at an oncoming vehicle signals that your looking to buy drugs. At least in that town that remains nameless.
    So I don’t wave anymore. I don’t drive anymore but even as a passenger I don’t wave anymore, just in case that waving thing has started in this big city.
    I am glad that you can still wave where you are at and hope you get lots of waves in return. I also hope that being polite and waving in your neck of the woods doesn’t ever end up like it did for me.

    Give Thelma Lou cuddles for me. I think that I love her too… Beth

    Reply
  5. Belinda Stamper - May 5, 2018 7:26 am

    Back at you Sean

    Reply
  6. Amanda - May 5, 2018 8:18 am

    Hello – catch the wave

    Reply
  7. George - May 5, 2018 8:24 am

    Wave to you back. Missing my Mexican mates on cinco de Mayo. But love your posts, Country boy halfwy around time he world.

    Reply
  8. Lynda Gayle - May 5, 2018 9:37 am

    👋👋👋👋That’s me waving back to you, Thel, your cousin, and the people passing by on the road❣️

    Reply
  9. Sandra Smith - May 5, 2018 9:52 am

    Smilin’ again…and I haven’t even had my coffee yet ! ❤❤❤

    Reply
  10. Norm - May 5, 2018 10:05 am

    👋👋👋. Hello Sean,Thel and Cuz.
    Semper Fi,
    Norm

    Reply
  11. Steve - May 5, 2018 10:40 am

    👋👋👋…morning Sean…you never disappoint.

    Reply
  12. Pam Vincent - May 5, 2018 10:41 am

    This is me waving back. I remember the porch waving days so well….just another happy
    “remember when.”

    Reply
  13. Gary, formerly of Mobile - May 5, 2018 10:50 am

    Use to a trucker would always wave. Not anymore. Some will. Some don’t. It’s a sad situation. 👋🏻👋🏻

    Reply
  14. Ann - May 5, 2018 10:57 am

    Good morning, Sean and Theo… 👋🏻

    Reply
  15. Terri - May 5, 2018 11:15 am

    Waving back and smiling at you Sean.

    Reply
  16. Kim - May 5, 2018 11:32 am

    👋👋❤️🙏🏻🐶 God bless you and Jamie and Thel.

    Reply
  17. Barry DeLozier - May 5, 2018 11:32 am

    Hello

    Reply
  18. Alice cooper - May 5, 2018 11:36 am

    Here’s a double wave from me…that’s using both hands!

    Reply
  19. Tara Simon - May 5, 2018 11:40 am

    And here I am, waving at my phone screen! 😂

    Reply
  20. KBE - May 5, 2018 11:51 am

    And from my front porch, with my dog leaving her blessings in my yard, my sleeping cat in the chair beside me, I wave back to you. I have no plastic baggie….we call it fertilizer.

    Reply
  21. Robert Arban - May 5, 2018 11:54 am

    ✋🖐👍👌

    Reply
  22. TLB - May 5, 2018 11:54 am

    Waving back Sean!

    Reply
  23. Elspeth - May 5, 2018 12:02 pm

    Here’s a G’day to you all from beautiful Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 🇦🇺 No drugs to sell but lots of waves and smiles and chin scratches to Thelma Lou (great name 😍)

    Reply
  24. Connie - May 5, 2018 12:03 pm

    👋🏻👋🙏🏻😊

    Reply
  25. MPG - May 5, 2018 12:04 pm

    🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼👋👋👋Love ya!

    Reply
  26. Gerri Johnson - May 5, 2018 12:29 pm

    Hey Sean! Hey Thelma Lou! This is me waving back!

    Reply
  27. Jack Darnell - May 5, 2018 12:29 pm

    Yeah us old people still wave. I like waving neighbors. We live in our motor home. We have for the past 20+ years. RV park people wave. Thanks for the reminder. Great post.

    Reply
  28. garden7daze - May 5, 2018 12:43 pm

    Wave back!👋

    Reply
  29. Myra - May 5, 2018 12:46 pm

    And here I am waving back. A young 59 year old “Mimi “with white hair that is growing back from chemo. who realizes that if most people noticed waves their days would be better.

    Reply
  30. ebvbrown - May 5, 2018 12:51 pm

    Hey Sean and Thelma Lou and your cousin….it’s me, Elaine, waving back to y’all!

    Reply
  31. Cathi - May 5, 2018 1:07 pm

    This is me, Barney & Miss Annie waving back at you & Thelma Lou and the whole world on this Saturday morning!

    Reply
  32. Geneva Chandler - May 5, 2018 1:14 pm

    My thoughts about waving: Country folk wave as they expect good will from others. City folk do not wave as they are suspicious of other’s intent. And, there is some wisdom in this, as I have lived both city and country.

    Reply
  33. Cindy - May 5, 2018 1:25 pm

    🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️

    Reply
  34. Jane Vaught - May 5, 2018 1:26 pm

    This is me waving 👋🏼 back to you like I was taught on my grandpas front porch where everyone was neighbor

    Reply
  35. Kathy - May 5, 2018 1:27 pm

    I’m waving back with both hands!

    Reply
  36. Jakki - May 5, 2018 1:29 pm

    Come to Saskatchewan- everyone waves back here!

    Reply
  37. muthahun - May 5, 2018 1:31 pm

    I grew up on a smallish island off the coast of Maine where THE WAVE is done to this day. When I started driving on the mainland, it was hard to not wave at every oncoming car. In fact, every once in a while my brother would get carried away and forget where he was and wave on the mainland, and when they’d occasionally wave back, he’d usually comment, “Huh… crazy bahst’d (said in the most affectionate of ways) thought he knew me!” Waving is so much better than texting.

    But re: the poop, if your daddy had known that every gram of doggy-doo contains 28,000,000 bad bugs – giardia, parvo, e-coli, and others, plus round worms, hook worms… you get the picture – which can not only make other dogs sick, but reinfect your own hound even after you’ve done weeks of antibiotics, I’ll bet he’d’ve advocated for SCOOP THE POOP, too!

    Reply
  38. Sue Rollins - May 5, 2018 1:38 pm

    Waving back Sean, with a smile!

    Reply
  39. Charlu Kent - May 5, 2018 1:40 pm

    Me, waving back, Sean!🤟🏻🤠💙🐭❤️😎

    Reply
  40. Marcia MacLean - May 5, 2018 2:01 pm

    🤟

    Reply
  41. Ronnie Carter - May 5, 2018 2:02 pm

    And this is me waving back. Hello Thel. Be blessed with precious memories of Ellie.

    Reply
  42. Louise - May 5, 2018 2:16 pm

    I’m waving and having a Flashback: I’m trying to stretch the telephone as far away from my parents as possible while my little brother is shouting, “she’s talking to a BOY.”

    Reply
  43. Gordon - May 5, 2018 2:23 pm

    Thank you for your wave this morning, Sean. Here’s one back atcha. 👋

    Reply
  44. Delynn Roberts - May 5, 2018 2:37 pm

    🤗

    Reply
  45. Lynn - May 5, 2018 2:46 pm

    👋👋

    Reply
  46. Joan - May 5, 2018 2:46 pm

    I love reading about Thelma Lou.
    I’m thinking about a new puppy.
    I’m on a waiting list. I really want another Bassett hound. My husband, not so much. Annabelle died right before lent. She used to love sitting on the front porch and watching the goings on. I wonder how many evenings a hound dog has lounged on the front porch of my 108 year old bungalow in Mobile?
    If I adopt a stray I would have to go look. I’m not sure I could leave without a dozen. So for right now, I’m dogless, and enjoying your description of Thelma Lou.
    Give her ears a toss for me.

    Reply
  47. Edna B. - May 5, 2018 2:50 pm

    I grew up when everyone waved. Not so much anymore. But Pogo and I still wave and we’re waving to you and Thelma and your cousin. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  48. Sue Cronkite - May 5, 2018 2:54 pm

    Bring back waving. And sitting on porches.

    Reply
  49. Jane Wood - May 5, 2018 2:55 pm

    This is me waving back to you and Thelma Lou. Hey there…

    Reply
  50. Sheri Odle - May 5, 2018 2:56 pm

    This is me waving back.

    Reply
  51. J Noah FUNDERBURG - May 5, 2018 2:58 pm

    And a wave back at you, your cousin, and Thelma Lou. My dad was a waver too. As a boy, when riding with him in his truck, he would wave at someone and I would ask, “Who is that?” His reply, “I don’t know, but it never hurts to wave. If it is someone you know, you might hurt their feelings if you don’t wave. If you don’t know then, well, it never hurts to wave.”

    Reply
  52. Jack Quanstrum - May 5, 2018 3:10 pm

    I’m waving back!

    Reply
  53. Arlene - May 5, 2018 3:21 pm

    This is me waving back all the way from Santa Clarita! Mornin’!

    Reply
  54. Kay Keel - May 5, 2018 3:26 pm

    👋 Mornin’ Sean! Your columns make me smile…well, usually. Sometimes they make me cry, but that’s ok too. Thank you for all of them!

    Reply
  55. Gabe - May 5, 2018 3:36 pm

    This is me waving back.

    Reply
  56. Janet Mary Lee - May 5, 2018 3:37 pm

    Waving from me and a paws up wave from May May! Give a Big sloppy kiss to Thelma from us! I love the memories this invoked! Like sitting on the porch and sprinkling the lawn with the hose, and talking. Or taking a drive in the evening to look at peoples homes lit up and the world at night.Or taking your kids and dog to a drive-in. Precious memories! Keep waving!!

    Reply
  57. Susan - May 5, 2018 3:41 pm

    👋🏼

    Reply
  58. WB Henley - May 5, 2018 4:20 pm

    Smart phones won’t ever replace hanging out with a cousin on the front porch but they’re pretty good for waving… and waving back.

    Reply
  59. Frances C. - May 5, 2018 4:56 pm

    Waving back & smiling too.. from a Mississippi girl & a Louisiana Catahoula.

    Reply
  60. Betty - May 5, 2018 5:19 pm

    👋

    Reply
  61. Barbara Schweck - May 5, 2018 5:29 pm

    Waving back!! I have been so blessed to have moved into a community where EVERBODY waves!! Only moved here 2 years ago from an area where nobody waved or hardly spoke. I cannot begin to tell you how much better my life has become because of simple friendliness!

    Reply
  62. Richard Cotton - May 5, 2018 6:55 pm

    And me, waving back. Have a great weekend.

    Reply
  63. Deb Moody - May 5, 2018 7:03 pm

    This is me waving back 🙂

    Reply
  64. Caron Eiman - May 5, 2018 7:51 pm

    👋🏻 From Panama City, Florida.

    Reply
  65. Jen Nixon - May 5, 2018 8:10 pm

    🙋🏻‍♀️❤️

    Reply
  66. Janet Chutro - May 5, 2018 8:29 pm

    Wave back, from Cassopolis MI.

    Reply
  67. Leslie Smith - May 5, 2018 9:37 pm

    👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻

    Reply
  68. Sandra - May 5, 2018 11:06 pm

    🖐🖐🖐

    Reply
  69. Beverly Wynn Bua - May 5, 2018 11:27 pm

    Back at cha’ 👋☮️😍

    Reply
  70. Kathy Dickson - May 5, 2018 11:52 pm

    I live in Texas, lots of waving here. I spent most of my childhood in Coffee Springs, AL. A friend started posting your stories on fb, after reading her posts, i signed up to receive the emails myself. I so enjoy your writings and look forward to reading them each morning! I print them out each day and pass them on to my 90 year old mother who enjoys them as much as I do. She passes them off to her table mates who look forward to them as well. I bought her the frequent stops for boiled peanuts book for Mother’s Day, I know she’ll get a kick out of it. I do miss boiled peanuts, Texans don’t know about those. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
  71. Jody - May 6, 2018 12:06 am

    Waving back, wouldn’t want to seem unfriendly.

    Reply
  72. Pam - May 6, 2018 1:03 am

    👋👋👋

    Reply
  73. Judy - May 6, 2018 1:39 am

    🤗

    Reply
  74. cat718 - May 6, 2018 7:56 am

    This is me, Larry, and our feline tribe, Muffin, Minka, Missy, Slanky, Saffron and Blackie waving at you and Thelma Lou from Phenix City, Al. God bless you, Sean. 🖐

    Reply
  75. Marion Pitts - May 6, 2018 8:37 am

    ✋Sean! I’m tired! Need to go to bed to try and sleep. Think I had too much chocolate today and I can’t get sleepy!

    Reply
  76. Lisa Snuggs - May 6, 2018 12:59 pm

    This is my favorite post yet. I’m waving back!

    Reply
  77. outlawman2 - May 6, 2018 11:49 pm

    👋

    Reply
  78. Kimberly Johnson - May 7, 2018 12:30 am

    Waving back!

    Reply
  79. Dianne Correll - May 7, 2018 3:09 pm

    Love this!

    Reply
  80. Bill Parker - May 8, 2018 12:59 am

    And this is me and Linda waving back to you, Jamie and Thelma Lou

    Reply
  81. Wendy L Beswick - May 12, 2018 4:28 pm

    We still wave here and let people in when there’s lots of traffic. 😊

    Reply

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