Sunday, November 25, 2007

My dear, waving friend

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For the last few years I have driven on the same road to work; a familiar route which takes no thought on my part to drive after years of travel along it. This pathway has become so familiar that it is like an old friend, a dear friend, one who is always there and does not change.

It was about two or so years ago that I was traveling my familiar route, and I noticed a Hispanic woman walking along the same street, toward me. This was not unusual, as I regularly saw dozens of people and cars in the course of my morning travel. However, this woman stood out to me for some reason. Well, several reasons really. For starters, I usually pass this woman at about the same place each morning—usually just crossing the train tracks when I turn onto the intersecting street. It didn’t take long for both of us to notice that we passed each other quite often on this same stretch of road.

When we each first noticed the other we didn’t do much more than maybe take a second glance, that is, until one day one of us waved to the other. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure which of us started it, but somebody did, and from that point we would smile and wave to each other each day after that as we passed near the railroad tracks.

It’s amazing to me that the simple act of a wave caused something to change between us, no longer was she just the Hispanic woman walking down the street, but she became—in essence—my friend; A friend who greets me every day that I see her with a smile and an enthusiastic wave. It wasn’t very long before she stopped waving one arm, and started to wave them both when she saw me and I always wave back in return. This is now a bright spot in my day, and I can’t help but continue on to work with a smile. There is just something about this woman which is infectious.

There have been a few days I’ve needed to go to work a bit earlier than usual, or am running a little bit late. It is on these days that I do not see my dear, waving friend. In fact, there was a period for nearly a month where I did not see her at all, and I wondered where she was and how she was doing. It may sound strange to hear this, but I felt as though a part of my life were amiss. These mornings when I did not see her made me feel like I did when I’d left my lunch sitting on the kitchen counter or had forgotten my school keys…something was missing.

I recently began to see my friend again…in fact, about two weeks ago was the first time I had seen her in a long time. Like before, no words were exchanged, just a smile and a friendly wave.

It may seem strange that I have a friend, one whom I have never spoken to, I’ve never visited at her home, and I know nothing about her other than what she looks like, but none of those things are important to me. Maybe one day I’ll stop and talk to her, and maybe I won’t. But no matter what happens I know that whenever my dear friend and I pass each other in the morning, we’ll both greet each other with a friendly smile…and a wave.


annette said...

Very touching.

I guess I never really thought about it before, but people who affect our lives come in all varieties, from those with whom we are intimately aquainted to common strangers who we encounter here and there.

Summer Lord said...

When I lived at "home" (during some of the college years), there was an older man that walked from one corner to another almost the entire day and waved with the greatest of gusto to every car that passed by. I loved driving this part of the road, because I would almost certainly see him, and be instantly cheered with his enthusiasm and the greeting that he shared. It wasn't just to me he was waving, but especially on the days when I needed an extra boost, I would pretend he was waving just to me! He passed away a few years ago, and his lawn and section of the road that he walked was filled with flowers, posters, and other such messages from other passer-byers that had obviously been touched in a similar way by our friend on the road. He helped me realize the power of a smile, a wave, and a greeting even to strangers that are yet to be my friends. Again, you created a moment to take me back to a wonderful memory...thank you!

Teachinfourth said...


I know that I am glad for a variety of people, named and nameless, that have made major contributions to my life.


Isn't it strange just how much we can be changed by others? Stranger yet are the strangers who do it. The amazing thing about your waving friend is that he may be gone, but he will live on in your, as well as others', hearts.

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