Queen’s wave

It’s said that the origin of the queen’s wave dates back to the era of King George V and Queen Mary, both enthusiastic wavers who after suffering wrist strains, sought a medical consultation and modified their greetings to the masses to the present day “opening a jam jar” royal motion.

I bring this up as I was thinking about the many ways we greet and acknowledge people we don’t know during various everyday activities. As I was taking one of my solitary walks this evening on a local bike path, I fell into my “give a half nod and weak wave” habit as I passed strangers tramping in the opposite direction. It’s that odd thing, wherein you don’t want to be rude and ignore someone you don’t know, but also don’t want to come across as a crazed, staring stalker.

I have noticed informally that people in my age bracket are more likely to return my wave or make some eye contact. Young boys and most young girls or women stare straight ahead, or have mastered the art of walking while checking texts and so don’t feel obliged to engage at all. I tend to veer too much to one side, heading for trees or ravines when I try to multi task like that. What a talent they have, (she said sarcastically)!

So how did all of this crazy waving and nodding start, anyway? I mean, why don’t we just bump heads or do the shimmy when we see people instead? According to that great online all-knowing explainer of things, Wikipedia, waving likely started out in the late 1700’s as a military salute. Fancier folks even waved handkerchiefs to either show their approval or to signal someone.

In my small lake community, everyone waves at one another when passing in cars. My late husband James used to take it to the extreme. While in our car passing a neighbor he would loudly proclaim, “How ya’ doing!” while giving an exaggerated wave, even though they could not hear him from the sealed safety of their own vehicle. And if I failed to wave or to acknowledge a wave, he called me on it.  He was of course being a bit of a smart ass.

I don’t know where he got that from.

Join the resolution revolution

Just when it seems darkest, one of my tribe reaches out with a Coleman lantern and waves it in front of my face.

I am fortunate to have a family I get along with. But since they have always lived an airplane ride away, I have formed wonderful relationships over the last several decades with many friends who I will now refer to as my tribe members, since the line drawn between friends and family has become so blurred.

Today, sitting drinking my morning coffee, I get a text message from one of the tribe elders, Pam.

“Call me when you are up. I have ideas!”

Many people besides myself were impacted by the loss of my husband. Pam has found it to be especially tough, coming on the heels of a year when she helped her husband through a bout with cancer (he is now fine) and other events which have made her question her life’s purpose at this juncture. It was a tough year for all, indeedy-do, in Pam’s lingo (and as I may have mentioned ever so tactfully, in a previous blog).

This is not us but could have been (except for the gal holding the cell phone, as they were not invented yet when we were attending JFK Junior High School).

But Pam has already been trying to pull herself back up by her boot straps. We are part of a core group of friends who met in junior high school and camped together a lot. We gals thought nothing of packing a cooler and tent and heading for nearby Vermont for the weekend. We still see each other. Most of us went for a walk on New Year’s Day at a local park. We have more shared experiences than we could ever hope to remember. That’s why I know my friends were happy when I met James and married. At last I had found my mate as my friends had decades before me.

In either case, back to the text message. I immediately picked up the phone and without preamble, asked Pam for a run down.

“Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m calling it six in six!”

“Like a lottery scratch off game?” I responded.

“Well, yeah…OK,” she said, used to my offbeat quips.

Pam’s idea takes the New Year’s resolution to a different level.  We would each commit to plan something to do together. It could be read a book, take a day trip, sneak into the movies, steal a car (haha) –  something we have either never done or want to revisit with fresh eyes, she explained.  She takes six months of the year and I take six months and we plan one event per month.

We are all familiar with the typical type of singular resolution. The gyms are full of them come January. This idea appealed to me. A new twist that could inject some life back into our lives. Something we both needed desperately. It recalibrates the stale idea of making a resolution. Create a roadmap of experiences to look forward to throughout the year and share them with a friend.

I could already feel a small ember in my core, starting to be fanned ever brighter by a light breeze. It was not a giant plan, we would never conquer Everest, but maybe it could inspire us on to bigger and better?

“I love the idea!” I said to her, already starting to think of what we could do as the year unfolds.

The wheels are starting to turn, a bit resistant due to recent rust formations but moving all the same. So I dare you – go ahead – foment your own kind of revolution in 2017.