One of the things I bragged to my friends back north about when we moved here was "the wave." I even proposed to some friends that you could make a great commercial promoting Floyd about this. A brochure about Floyd County once touted the county as having some of the highest elevations in the state (er..um..Commonwealth…gotta get used to that!) So picture this: a video of a drive around the backroads with people waving as you pass. Old people, young people, farmers on tractors, people in pickup trucks, people on a porch swing, kids in the front yard, just waving as you pass. And in the background is the Beach Boys’ song playing. The narrator says, ‘get away from the noise and the crowds and the traffic. Come back to a place that still remembers the old values, where people still matter." And then fade in the Beach Boys singing, "Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world…"
Okay, so maybe that’s sappy. But I love Floyd County. I’ve loved it from the first time we drove in and saw those rolling mountains piled on top of each other.
As a kid, coming to visit relatives over the summers and holidays, I remember we’d drive down the country roads into Snowville, and as we passed homes where people were on their porch, or in their yards, they would wave. Even more striking was drivers in cars that passed us…they would wave, too! I wondered how so many people knew my parents and recognized our car! I asked Dad who those people were, and he said he didn’t know. That mystified me…
When we moved to Floyd I would pile the kids into the Suburban and go on an "explore" down the back roads, and everywhere we went, people WAVED! Drivers waved, people on front porches waved. I felt so welcome, even though I knew we didn’t know each other. Somehow it made me feel this was home, that I belonged here. That was before we found out my dad’s ancestors were settlers here (Shelor, Sowers, and Bower). This was actually a funny kind of homecoming to move here, not knowing that my roots were in Floyd County.
Why wave? Country life isn’t for everyone (although it SHOULD be). It can be lonely. People are busy and don’t have time to socialize. The wave is a way of acknowledging another human being in a rural area where traffic isn’t heavy. A friendly way to say hello in passing. It’s a way to let speeding teenage drivers know that you’ve seen them racing past your place and you just might call their parents and say something about their driving habits. It lets strangers and potential wrongdoers know that someone has seen them. It’s just a nice habit.
But I’m noticing as time passes, we have fewer waves. Are we too busy? Driving too fast? Or afraid to wave at strangers in this crazy world? I spend most of my driving time in Floyd County now, and less and less in Montgomery and Pulaski counties. So I’m becoming conscious of fewer people waving. What really becomes noticeable as I drive into Montgomery County is that NOBODY there waves!
So hey, Floyd County…we have something really special living here. And the wave is an important part of holding on to the past times when life was simpler and people had TIME to be friendly. We can make a conscious effort to keep the wave going. And I can guarantee, no wave at any sports event can compare to the waves in Floyd County.