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On Your Table Blog

November 8, 2023

The farmer wave

The farmer wave

by Kelli Bowen

The other day I was driving Miss A’s friend to her house after a play date. She lives on the other side of the town we live. The girls sat in the back with Miss A sitting in the middle of the bench seat so she could sit right next to her friend. On the ride home, Miss A asked what I was doing.


I drove along a bit more, “No Mom. THAT! With your hand.” Ladies and gentlemen, I have failed my child: she didn’t know a farmer’s wave.

“It’s a farmer’s wave.”

“You're waving???” she said excitedly. Then she got quiet. We met a car on main street.

“They didn’t wave,” she tattled.

I then told her how when I was young, everyone waved on the country roads and my dad used to say that no one waved in town. I always took that as a knock to town people. Like they are too busy to care about their neighbors, or to have common decency to do things like acknowledge another person. My dad was speaking of the town where I went to school. We lived 15 miles out from where my sister and I went to school as kids and it was about a third of the size of the town I live in now. Regardless of city or country, I notice a lot less people wave.

When an officer was killed earlier this year, there was tons of media coverage. I was reading an article where another law enforcement officer was making a comment that people don’t act friendly toward the police anymore: don’t buy a coffee, smile, or wave like they used to. I know there’s a whole big emotional bucket to unpack there but my first thought was: do people wave anymore? I thought I did, but I didn’t know for sure, so I started paying attention and I started farmer waving.

I have noticed that a lot of people don’t wave, I have noticed A LOT of people preoccupied with their laps (weird), but I have also noticed that some people wave back, once they realize they’re getting “the wave”, they wave back and some even smile. I have decided that if my small gesture of flipping a couple fingers in the air can make a person feel seen and acknowledged, that is a good thing, so I’m going to keep waving.

the farmer wave

Also, Miss A thinks it’s fun to keep score now.

Kelli BowenKelli makes her home in Cass County with her husband, two daughters (11 and 8) and two dogs. She works for a regional seed company by day and tries to be an alright mom, wife, friend and writer by night.

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