A week for waving in Iowa

It’s Farmer Wave Week in Iowa.

The idea started a few years ago thanks to radio personality Todd Steinkamp.

“The farmer wave is a cultural institution woven into the very fabric of ‘Iowa nice’ that helps rural and small-town folk casually remind each other that they really do care,” Des Moines Register columnist Kyle Munson writes today. “A wave suggests that they’d stop to fix each other’s flat tire — even if they don’t know each other, or perhaps if they know each other all too well for their liking.”

There apparently is a proper technique if you’re going to do it correctly.

Even out of its native habitat, the farmer wave packs a punch. A couple of years ago Munson told the story of a woman who brought her farmer wave to the streets of suburban Minneapolis.

(Kathy) Kalmoe eventually moved to suburban Minneapolis to teach art classes. She rented an apartment with a few roommates. She continued to wave at those whom she considered to be her neighbors. This utterly confused one man in particular. I’ll let Kalmoe pick up the story from here:

I did not wave to everyone in Minneapolis, but people going in and out of the apartment parking area I figured were neighbors, so I did the farmer wave. One morning I found a note under the windshield wiper of my car. It said, “Do you know me?” He signed it “the Red Plymouth,” and he put his apartment number. I started laughing and wrote him a note that explained I was from Iowa, where people wave. I signed it “the Silver Honda.” We met in August, were engaged by Christmas, and married in May. We did not know each other a full year. We have been married 37 years. We moved back to Iowa 32 years ago, and both our daughters were born here.

The man in the Red Plymouth, Paul, turned out to be the “heavy-footed person” who lived in the apartment directly above Kalmoe. The farmer wave sparked a whirlwind romance that endured and now includes three grandchildren.

“And then he didn’t want me to wave anymore when we started dating,” Kalmoe added with a chuckle.

Wave on, Iowa.