Sunday, April 12, 2009

A New Dimension To The Northern Great Plains Vehicular Hand Greeting

Today was my last day serving out in South Dakota Ranch Country:
4 days.
6 services.
1 session of Confirmation. This Easter Sunday was a conclusion to a pleasant, thoughtful and prayerful 3.5 months of ministry in SD Ranch Country. I was thankful for the time, people and ministry. This was certainly not a big Holy Week schedule for some pastors, but it was plenty for me. I'm about ready to pass out.

I took in as much Ranch Country as I could during the spare time I had, hitting some of the small towns and topography in the region. It turned into sermon preparation; I drove around with an altered perspective compared to my usual tooling around my house, herding my children. I never would have thought SD Ranch Country as beautiful country growing up, but I appreciate it now like I enjoy a good Scotch or a well-aged cheddar. Not something I would take in every day, but certainly a lift to the senses, helpful for perspective and a celebration of God's varied creation.

That changed perspective alerted me to a new Vehicular Hand Greeting (VHG). While in Harding County, I came upon a mustachioed man waving at a string of cars as we all slowly approached a four-way stop (could have been the only one in Harding County). There was something different about his motion. accessory. A cigarette. Raymond Carver taught me to notice accessories when crafting a scene and enhancing dialogue. The cigarette was a great accessory for Carver, creating a more tangible reading of non-verbal communication. The greeter man in the blue Chevy S-10 held the cigarette between his two-fingers; he waved upwards in a nonchalant, yet friendly manner. He led with the back of his hand, yet the motion was intentional enough that his hand angle never varied much from 45 degrees, as to not lose control of the cigarette ash. Unfortunately, I missed whether he added the nod combo--I was fixated on the use of an accessory in the greeting. I was so glad about this discovery, I wonder if I smiled accidentally and violated the rules of VHG's. I have yet to receive a VHG with a smile. I'm not sure I have the VHG experience to add a component to the repertoire or make a ruling. Who is the governing authority of the VHG?

The kick off to Easter was better than I could have imagined. I might even go so far as to say it was one of my more fulfilling Lenten seasons. My Holy Week produced an unexpected book reading (I will review it at a later date), a good run, thankfulness, some rich prayer time, photography, exploration and a time away from my television. Unfortunately pillow talk with My Dear Wife took place on the phone and I didn't get to put my girls to bed. But those late days of the week were good soil time for both my sermon preparation and me. I hope to integrate that growth into my time at home.

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