I guess at one time we were more spread out in Texas. If you passed someone on the road it was an uncommon event and you would wave with enthusiasm and sometimes stop and chat. I still wave at everyone that passes on my trike ride each day. It’s the courteous thing to do out here on these Texas country roads. Part of the Texas southern history thing and just downright friendly.
I pretty much see the same people each day on my ride and I can pretty much tell what kind of wave I am going to get back from each person although they are not always done with the same enthusiasm I put into my wave. Especially true of the younger kids driving through our area. The mailman wave is a good wave and always has a smile behind it. The FedEx guy doesn’t wave but gives a friendly Toot Toot as he speeds by to fast. The guy in the service van holds onto the steering wheel with his thumb and gives me a four finger wave while holding the cell phone with the other hand. One of the ladies down the road holds up her hand by her face and gives me a four finger wave like telling a baby bye bye, but it is done with a big smile and enthusiasm. The people that live on this road have a more friendly wave than people that are just passing through and driving to fast.
People that live on this road tend to stop me and chat a couple of times a month. How else do you get the current local news out here in the country? Well there are a couple of other ways. You can go to Tractor Supply and hang out and talk to the locals. You gotta go in often enough that they consider you a local before they’ll tell you the important stuff like who’s pregnant and who caused it or who’s got goats for sale so they can make their mortgage. When they tell you the juicy stuff, they put their hand over their mouth and whisper it to you. I’m half delft so I never hear the real juicy stuff. They’ll talk politics with you right from the start though and it wont take long to find out where they stand on most things political. The guy that carries the bags of feed out to your truck for you is the guy that’s really in the know. He talks to everybody out in the parking lot, you know, in private. If he likes you, he’ll tell you everything. Even thing’s you don’t want to know. Him and the checkout gal at the grocery store. If you want something known, tell these two, before the day is over everybody in town will know.
The other place to get in the know is the Coffee Cup. This is where all the retired guys with nothing to do for a couple of hours every morning hang out. These guys will even talk to strangers but they tend to make up a lot of the stuff they tell. This is a mixture of farmers, ranchers, doctors, bankers and their mechanic. They will not let lawyer’s and preacher’s in though. The mechanic is in as a mechanic although at one time he was a Holiness preacher. None of them are allowed back at home by their wives before 10:00 am unless they have some real news to tell.
When the locals don’t stop to chat they will on occasion do a rolling drive by with the window down and yell out “How’s Miss Sue”, and as they drive off I’ll yell back “She’s just fine” even if she’s not. That’s another southern thing. Everyone is Mr Smith or Mr Jones or Miss Jones. If you know them right well they may be Mr George or Miss Sue. East Texas is as much a part of the cultural south as any state you will ever be in.
I know I’m often the topic of discussion at both Tractor Supply and the Coffee Cup. I’m that city slicker that moved out here and rides that crazy tricycle up and down the road waving at people with enthusiasm. They wave at me when we pass, but I know they think somehow he’s just not quite right.