Today, I waved at an airplane, a ‘skill’ I learned as a kid from my benevolent sister. She even described how they wave back, by tipping their wings. Really?
I followed my sister through school by four years and learned that it’s awkward following a sibling’s footsteps. “You’re not like your sister”, teachers would say, and I wasn’t. I was a bit more like my older brothers, not mischevious, but testing and challenging, wearing on teachers’ nerves and patience. My sister was, well, ‘precocious…’
I didn’t mind the comparison and was darn proud to have a smart sister who took me under her ‘wing’ and taught me to ‘wave at airplanes’.
Amazingly, I still enjoy doing it, discreetly, of course. I think of myself as a ‘good will ambassador’ for my community, welcoming visitors on their arrivals, like a greeter at Disney World.
The big unknown is whether or not passengers even see me. If they do, then they must be thankful for the salutation. If not, well, at least I tried.
Waving at people is not without precedent. I recall a roadside waver on the Pennsylvania Turnpike who waved at motorists from his lawn chair for years. Passersby responded by beeping. I like to believe if airplanes had horns, they would beep at me, too, because they sure as hell aren’t tipping wings.
As I think back, I reluctantly realize that I may have been duped by my sister. But all is forgiven. The joy of waving to people over many years, seen or unseen, has been uplifting. I like to think for them, as well, if they ever saw me.
As crazy as it looks, I’ll continue being that ambassador, waving at and welcoming airplanes. Keep an eye out for me if you’re flying into Rochester some day. And, please, wave back or at least smile. The world needs more of both.
Dedicated to my sister and big sisters, everywhere.