Dad’s Wave

Dad follows through on his wave.
Dad follows through on his wave.
People inherit many things from their parents. And its not always tangible assets. I have things I’ve inherited from my mother, like an itchy scalp, or from my father my itchy nose and from both, my big feet. But, in general I’ve inherited most of my physical traits from my father. My allergies, my lack of hair on the top of my head and my tendency to mumble all come from my Dad.But the other day my wife pointed out that I’ve inherited another characteristic that I hadn’t noticed before. It seems I’m not only a little uncomfortable in social situations like my Dad, I also wave like he does. Its hard to describe my Dad’s wave but its kind of like his hand rotates around his wrist while his fingers hang comfortably loose. My wife says its like a butterfly fluttering on the end of a flower, delicate and graceful.
In the midst of my wave
In the midst of my wave
Now my Dad is a veteran of WW II. He was a gunner on a B 52 manning 50 caliber machine guns. I’ve seen him hunting and fishing and handling people and emergency situations and he’s not a bit unmanly. Yet, he has this wave…I didn’t realize that I tend to wave in that same exuberant way. Since then I’ve tried not to but if I don’t pay attention my flailing, rotating hand waves nonchalantly at others as I cheerfully go about my day. Of course if I’m on top of things I try to do a manly wave as I can like a two fingered salute or if I’m feeling especially sporty, a fist to extended fingers on an upraised hand with my thumb at a jaunty 45 degree angle. It’s a very masculine, self assured way to wave.But all too easily I fall back into the habits coming from ancestral genes and flutter in the wind when I wave. My Mom remembers first noticing my Dad’s flamboyant wave early in their marriage. As they would be driving along country roads Dad tried to be friendly to anyone and everyone by always waving. Sometimes they would pass a few cows standing too close to the road and my deep in thought Dad would flip his wrist around to wave at the cows. He didn’t want to offend anybody.I didn’t notice his signature wave until I was in junior high and Dad was driving our family down the busiest road in town. Close to the high school there were pedestrian operated stop lights that went to red when a button was pushed. Somehow Dad missed the red light and drove right though one. He felt bad he said and hoped he didn’t get caught. Just then we all saw the police car coming towards us and Dad guiltily gave the policeman his wave. Mom must have thought he was trying to flag him down and said, “Oh, don’t wave at him!” But it was too late. The police car’s lights came on and Dad pulled over. He rolled his window down as the officer walked to the car.Dad waved his flappy wave and sheepishly apologized just as the policeman walked up to the car. “Sir,” he said, “As long as you realize what you did…just be more careful in the future.”“Yes sir!” Dad said. “I sure will.A few years later I came home for a visit and Dad was excited to be riding on the church’s float in the town’s Independence Day Parade. I had a new instamatic camera and he wanted to know if I was bringing it to the parade. I said I was and that I would try to take his picture. But standing in the crowd of onlookers I realized that to get a picture of Dad I would have to stand out in the street and at the last second I changed my mind. But Dad was up on the float waving his familiar wave to everyone, smiling as he went past. Later he was so disappointed to find out that I had missed getting his picture. I still feel bad about that.Last winter I shoveled too much snow and injured my rotator cuff on my right shoulder. It hurt to raise my arm to wave at people and to compensate I had to get into the habit of waving left handed. My rotator cuff injury is better but now I find that I can wave with either hand. But today I realized that whether I wave left handed or right handed I still use Dad’s wave. Unless I think about it. And now days, who has time to think before waving? But no matter how he does it, I always look forward to seeing Dad and his distinct wave.cid_part1_01020102_08090901att.png

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