THE HILLBILLY HELLO
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2
When I worked at the Airport in those days, the terminal was tiny with one airline counter and a bar that could support a dozen sloshy souls. The slogan for the small city was “Why Not Minot” the locals filled in the answer, “freezing is the reason.” Jetways did not exist then, at least not at the Minot airport. Our daily entertainment was watching the twice-daily commercial flights deplaning. Boeing 727’s, deplaned through a rear stairway out onto the tarmac; in January, it is commonly forty below zero with forty miles per hour winds. We called them sunbelts, first-time arrivals to the Dakota’s from California, Florida, and Arizona—suited businessmen and ladies in dresses. The frozen expressions of shivering sheer terror were hilarious as they completed the 50 yard Dakota dash to the door.
I had a friend flying in from California; I had briefed him on what he was about to experience. Phil’s shivering response, “Why would anyone live here.” As the bags came in through the door, no turnstile, just bags placed on the floor, the locals responded,” freezing the reason.” The lake is ninety-five miles away from Minot, about two hours on finger-drifted icy roads. Passing drivers wave in Dakota; some just a two-finger hands on the wheel wave some a Forest Gump wave—every wave was unique. After the first hour of the drive, Phil said, “Do you know everyone in North Dakota?” I responded, “No, it’s just the ‘Hillbilly Hello.'” Phil replied, “In California, our citified hello is with one middle finger.”
The ‘Hillbilly Hello’ is a reminder to all; we only survive together in a community helping and sharing burdens. The farms of the 1930s were small;
not every farmer had a tractor or a threshing machine needed to sow and reap a crop; they shared and bartered. Linda’s grandfather, Guy Andrew, drilled water-wells with a horse-drawn drill. In the dirty thirties, water was more precious than diamonds. Not everyone could afford the water well drilling, so he often would exchange his service for garden delicacies, chickens, or settle with him when they could—his kindness complicated his dusty struggle. The drill sits high on the hill at the farm today.
When tragedy strikes a family, a rural community drops everything to help. Deaths in a family bring love-filled condolences, warm food, and an army of brothers and sisters to bring in their harvest. This community practice exists today, the threshing machine replaced with giant John Deere combines. Not a day can pass without a few embellished stores told; Bottineau main street “Family Bakery” has an “I came alone table,” a long table for anyone to sit and join the conversation.
2020 and 2021 are not as thirsty as the dirty thirties, but the effects on communities have been more oppressive. It has been a time of separation, the sense of community lost in isolation. We need to come together and stamp out fear, share burdens, and seek the truth. Today the attitude of Church suppers, community men’s breakfasts, bingo night fundraisers, and all come to support them when one falls is alive and well. After Phils Christmas stay witnessing how rural communities operate, the power of a kind word, and helping hands, he gave every car a full Forest Gump wave on the two-hour drive to the Minot airport. He carried the virtues back to California and practiced them daily.
God’s word in Galatians 5:22-23 “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” We can use these virtues to heal our planet and save humankind. On the roads, you travel, give a big hillbilly wave and say a kind word to all.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. ~ Colossians 4:6
In the post entitled Vivian fromThursday this week I talked about a photo I took that has sold over four hundred times in every continent less Antarctia and eighty countries…
Thought I would share it today.