I’m guilty of a grievous breech of southern etiquette. I fail to wave back to people when driving down the road.
If you’ve ever waved to me when you’ve seen me driving then please don’t take offense if I didn’t wave back. I never see anything except those white and yellow lines while driving down the road. I never look into other people’s cars while driving. I didn’t even know that people were waving to me until my kids mentioned it one day.
One kid said, “Hey daddy, Mrs. Wheatley just waved at us as we passed her car but you didn’t wave back.”
“Really? I didn’t see her.”
“Yeah, people wave to you all the time but you never wave back.”
“Well, I never see them because I always look at the road.”
“We know, so we explain it to them later when we see them.”
“What do you tell them?”
“We tell them you’re stuck-up.”
“Thanks for straightening that out for me. I always wondered why your mama gets to go everywhere while I sit at home.”
Kids. You can’t beat them. At least not where it shows.
I hope some day that I will reach a level of success in life that I can have something to be “stuck-up” about. But, as I approach 56, my time is rapidly running out.
Really, now isn’t it funny how you can reach the wrong opinion on people?
Here’s my all time favorite story in that area. A priest told it during a revival about 10 years ago.
This priest was always real jolly and upbeat. Nothing and nobody seemed to get him down. That is until one day when he was sent to minister temporarily at a small church.
Most Catholic churches used to have Mass every weekday at 6 a.m. Mass lasts for about an hour. It’s not unusual to have only a few people attending.
The priest noticed from the beginning this same little old lady each morning at church. Many times she would be the only person that came.
Anyway, this little old lady would just sit and give the priest a real sneering look every time he said Mass. He couldn’t believe that she could be so disrespectful and mean. He didn’t even know her!
He tried to ignore it but there she would be, day after day. He couldn’t think of why she was so mad at him.
He always made it a point to look directly at her and smile during every Mass. But she’d just sit there and give him the same cold hard look. It bothered him greatly and he would literally lose sleep every night thinking about it.
He never talked to anybody about this continuing nonverbal persecution by this woman. He didn’t feel that would be right as a priest.
He never tried to talk to the lady. He felt that someone that mean probably couldn’t be reasoned with. But inwardly he got madder and madder.
Finally, after about a year, it was time for him to move on to another church. He was saying his last weekday Mass and was having a problem keeping his emotions under control.
She was there and continued to give him that awful look. The priest had had enough and decided to get to the bottom of her obvious bitterness against him. He was going to confront her directly after church.
Mass ended and he walked right up to her and said defiantly, “This is my last Mass at this church. Is there anything you want to say to me before I go.”
The little old lady looked up at him with the same sneering look.
She said without any hesitation: “Why yes I do! You don’t know what a comfort you’ve been to me for the past year. I had just had this terrible stroke and it left me with half my face paralyzed before you came. Coming to Mass each day and seeing you smile at me would always brighten my day. It restored my faith in God.”
It was then time for the woman to wonder at the incredible look of astonishment on the speechless priest’s face.
Yeah, things are seldom what they seem.