Message from the Publisher


I’m a big fan of the “wave”. I’m not talking about the crowd participation wave that is done at stadiums during games, but the courtesy/thank you signal you do or receive when you let someone merge into traffic, or trying to make a left, or moving over on a narrow street to let the other person through wave. I even use it when I’m walking and trying to cross a street and someone is kind enough to let me cross without trying to run me over (which believe it or not happens more often than not.)

I’m not exactly sure how I learned the wave; maybe while growing up from watching my parents when they drove. I don’t remember it being taught in driver’s ed in school, although I think it should be. I see very few, if any, younger people using it.  But to me it’s a nice little gesture to say, “Hey thanks for being a good person today. Hope someone is nice to you.”

When someone doesn’t acknowledge your good deed, how many of you sarcastically say to yourself, “you’re welcome” despite the fact the other driver could care less or doesn’t hear you? After that your ability to be nice is a bit harder to dish out. However, I try hard to continue to show my little gesture of appreciation whenever someone gives me a break.

Lately though, it seems the wave has been replaced with the single digit hand gesture; and I’m sure you all know what that is. And my curiosity took me to the internet to find out the origin of “the finger.” I won’t go into much detail, as some of the history is pretty graphic, but its origin actually dates back over 2500 years to ancient Greece. So people have been flipping each other off for quite a long time. If your curiosity is sparked, look it up. You’ll find out some pretty interesting facts and legends.

But getting back to the wave; wouldn’t driving or just plain life itself be nicer if everyone was courteous to one another? “Please”, “Thank You”, “You’re Welcome”, even just “the wave” could brighten someone’s day. Courtesy seems to have gone south and our younger generation isn’t getting much instruction or good examples. They are instead bombarded with foul language, rude behavior and just plain bad manners. Social media is loaded with it, not to mention television.

There was a video on Facebook showing a guy holding a door for a woman coming out of a convenience store. The woman was too busy looking at her phone to acknowledge his kindness. You then see him grab the woman by the arm and drag her back into the store, closing the door behind him. Now I’m not condoning this kind of response, but it was a wakeup call for the woman to next time at least say thank you.

So the next time you’re stuck in traffic and someone lets you merge in (or any other vehicle courtesy), don’t forget to acknowledge their kindness by offering the wave; A simple hand gesture that doesn’t take much effort, but could make or break (if it’s the single digit kind) someone’s day.  Be the good example you want to pass on to others.

October is Fire Prevention Month. In the wake of the tragic fire in Chicago that killed 10 children ranging in ages from 3 months to 16 years, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have working smoke detectors in your home. If you live in an apartment, landlords must supply smoke alarms, but it’s the tenants’ responsibility with maintaining them. That means making sure they have working batteries.

Now I know how annoying that little “beep” can be when the batteries are getting low in your smoke detector. Some people instead of changing the batteries will simply knock the old battery out just so the beeping will cease. TAKE THE TIME TO CHANGE THE BATTERIES! It could be the difference between life and death for your family.

Many fire departments offer free smoke detectors and installation if you call. If you visit fire department open houses during Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13) many departments will actually have them on hand to give out. Check with your local department to see if they offer them.

Daylight Savings Time ends on November 4th, and they tell you that when you set your clocks back an hour to change your smoke detector batteries too. However, if you haven’t changed them in a while, don’t wait till November – do it now!



Barbara J. Piltaver, Publisher
People & Places Newspaper