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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Saturday, June 24, 2006

THE SOUTHERN WAVE

For those who have never lived in the sunny South, let me explain to you this unusual cultural phenomenon I call "the southern wave." The southern wave differs from the northern version not in the movement of hand or accompanying smile, but in who the wave is directed at: strangers.Strangers here, complete strangers, will wave a hearty hello as you drive down the street.

Coming from where I grew up, one normally waved to two categories of people - your neighbors and those included in your acquaintance. Waving to strangers was a faux pas. One usually didn’t intend to send a wave in a stranger’s direction, but would to their embarrassment realize too late the person was not who they originally thought.

Since moving to Texas, more than one stranger has cheerfully waved at us while out making trips back and forth to our new home. At first I was confused, disconcerted even, while trying to figure out if we perhaps knew the "waver," but then Mom explained she’d heard that is what people do out here. Ah, so that is why they call it the friendly South.

Not wanting to seem rude, I suppose I’ll have to adopt the "wave at strangers while driving past" rule, but I have to admit . . . I’ll only do it if they wave first. :)

~Cara

6 Comments:

Anonymous Jen Barnes said...

Cara,
I understand your problem, only in the opposite direction. Having been raised in Okalahoma, where one waves at anyone and everyone, it was a more than a little weird to come up to Yankee Territory, where no one, under any circumstances, ever waves. We've lived in our neighborhood for 9 years, and it took 7 1/2 years of strange looks for folks to get the picture and start waving back. I'm glad to hear that you catch on so quickly!

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Bethany said...

ah dear, you unsocial Northerner... you know i'd love to live down there and have all that friendliness. good for you to loosen up!!! :)

10:57 AM  
Blogger The Serven Clan said...

I think it is a country thing--even in Yankee CA, people would wave in the country. It was a different story it you waved in the metro areas! Lots of looks and stares. Here in MO we exchange waves in the outlying areas but never in "town" (St. Louis proper).

It was great to see you a few weeks ago. Hope you are well!

Rebecca

3:03 PM  
Blogger The Serven Clan said...

Oh . . . we enjoyed the pictures of the wedding on Tim's blog! : )

3:04 PM  
Blogger The Horn Family said...

Jen,
It was great to hear from you! Are the rumours true that you might be coming down to SA in the near future? If so, I'd love somehow to see you.
Your comment made me laugh. Seems as if God placed both of us out of our comfort zones and made us adapt to new surroundings. Just so you know, people did wave to their neighbors back in NJ . . . just not to strangers. :)

Bethany,
:cough: "unsocial Northerner" now don't you think that's a bit extreme? :)

Rebecca,
You might have a point with the country v. city theory. People are much more apt to wave where we are moving (the country) than where we presently live (San Antonio proper).
Your family's blog is such a delight to read. Thanks so much for all the interesting posts and essays!

~Cara

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Jen Barnes said...

Cara,
I've been rather remiss in my blog reading recently, hence the long wait to answer your question. I also have heard said rumor, and am happy to report that it is indeed true- I am trying to come down to SATX. However, trying does not always imply succeding. :)
I'll be sure to let you know if and when it works out- I'd love to see you, too!

5:27 PM  

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