Monday, December 26, 2011


I am Captain Suburbia. I live in an 60-year-old suburban neighborhood. We have sidewalks on each sideof old, wide streets, big trees, lots of kids of all-ages on the block, and cool adult neighbors who spend lots of time chatting in our front yards and are always free to borrow butter, the toilet snake, or bum a bottle of wine.

We also have one hermit-of-a-man who, around the same time every weekday, apparently after work, drives slowly down our street and never looks sideways. His door is shut on Halloween, we don’t see him at parties, he hangs no lights during the Holy days, and he never waves back.

One of my young sons waves at him every day. He has for years.

I’ve seen it hundreds of times; we hear the distant rumble of the diesel truck, it looms into view, I watch my son stand and wave, the man’s gaze fixed-forward, no wave back, the truck turns the corner. The rest of us, kids and adults alike, don’t wave anymore.

I stopped because I didn’t want to appear confrontational and I didn’t want to feel foolish or slighted anymore.

I’ve thought to ask why my son continues to wave, but know his reasons are clearer in his heart than could be articulated to me. I don’t ask because to him, it’s just what you do; no need for second thoughts or rational justification to you, Dad.

As a protective parent, I don’t want his heart broken or his spirit worn. Not in front of me, not this young, not in my front yard. Still, I don’t ask why he waves.

So again, yesterday as we hear the rumble of the truck, my son hurries down from the tree in the front yard, stands in plain view in the middle of the lawn, we see the truck, my son waves…

At the last moment, just before the truck passes, the man turns his head, and wearing the faintest ghost of a grin, he and waves back.

My son looked back at me, shrugged his shoulders a little, and smiled. Not a big, toothy, triumphant victory smile, but a small, simple smile; the kind you see when people are happy. This I saw through misty eyes.

I don’t know if that man has anyone to go home to, to call him, to celebrate with, with whom to spend his precious time. But I do know that he knows he’ll always have someone who will wave to him.

I am lucky enough to declare that each Yuletide season has been better than the last, but everyone I know and everybody knows that the Holidays came and went too fast,….again. I’m not ready for it to be over. I don’t want to take the lights down, turn off the holiday music, remove the tree, get out my pajamas, blow out the candles, shave…and I should wave more, again.

It is through the desire to continue to live in the Spirit of the Season, that we in my neighborhood have declared the post-season “¡Christmas-Más!” And so we invite you to give the best of yourself, spend a little more time in your PJs, and enjoy celebration without obligation to give material things. We invite you to carry on in the Spirit of the Season and continue to wave to everyone, regardless of what they have or don’t have to return.

Happy Holy Days and Christmas-Más,

Roger Clyne

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the story, Roger. It brought a tear to my eye as my father ALWAYS waved to everyone from his rattling diesel truck but sadly for me, he has left us for a better place. Your stories always inspire me to be a better person...I look forward to seeing you more for that than your music that fills my soul.