The Other One-Finger Salute

As you may have noticed, I did not manage to complete my Easter project on time. I have not, in fact, finished it at all, and since I missed the deadline I have another year to get it done. This is only half a joke. As much as I would like to think that I’m about to finish it in a blaze of hard work, I know myself better than that. I have other projects I should be putting off.

I did, however, have a very nice Easter on the Hi-Line, a place that runs along the north border of Montana, in which everyone on the highway will wave at you as you pass. This is not officially the wavingest town in the west (that would be Broadus – no, seriously), but there is an etiquette to driving up into the underskirts of Canada. When you drive into Hill County, you’ll notice that the drivers in the oncoming lane wave at you as you pass. My parents have lived in the area long enough that I feel obligated to wave back.

This is less work than you might think. “Waving” doesn’t, in any way shape or form, resemble waving as you may know it. Not even the royal hand gesture will do. To wave in Hill County, just lift a couple of fingers off the steering wheel of your car. The really enthusiastic lift all four (the thumb, naturally, remains tucked under the steering wheel). I, myself, am a two-finger waver. Now that I think about it, I probably look like I’m flashing everyone the peace sign. So be it. World peace, everybody.

Dad goes with the one-finger salute. And no, not that one. I mean he lifts his pointer finger off the steering wheel and, if someone else is in the car, says something like “how’s it goin'” in a curmudgeonly way that’s designed to make whoever’s sitting next to him snort. When my dad retires he’s going to be that old man in a trucker hat who drives his truck ten miles under the limit with a surly expression on his face and a one-fingered salute for everyone who passes him.