Years ago, when my family and I lived near Dallas, Texas, we used to travel back to North Louisiana to see family. Once I was driving my youngest son Brady around so that he, a city kid, could see some of the country.
Brady was at the age when kids ask all kinds of questions. First he asked me, "Dad, why is the dirt red here?" Although I'm no geologist, I did my best to answer that question.
Later we met a car on the narrow hilly parish road and I returned the wave of the driver. Brady asked, "Who was that?" I said I didn't know. Brady asked, "You waved at them and you don't know who it was?" Yep, I replied. People do that in the country. We wave at each other when we meet on the road, even if we don't know them.
I glanced over at Brady who had sat quietly looking out the window. He seemed quite puzzled by his father's answer.
Now, I grew up in the Ruston area, so I'm no stranger to piney hills or friendly country people. I also lived in the New England, and by contrast, there, if you got a wave, it might be minus a few fingers.
This brings me to Minden. Well, actually, my love for an old high school sweetheart brought me to Minden, but that's a story for another time.
As an outsider coming in, and this may not be a grammatically-correct statement, but even so: Minden is the wavingest place I have ever seen.
Driving or not; everybody in Minden waves. Son Brady would be mystified. When my wife and I take our walks around the neighborhood, we wave at every passing car and everybody waves at us. I like to think of it as walking mixed with some upper body exercise.
Case in point: The other day I passed a city employee who was running a leaf blower. He was wearing dark goggles, an orange vest, and headgear to protect his hearing. As a passed him he was making a turn and he looked up at me and waved. That was the day that I became truly convinced that everybody in Minden waves.
I once lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a town about the size of Minden.
Settled in 1629, it was a beautiful New England picture-postcard of a town with gorgeous homes once owned by ship captains and a cobblestone road leading through downtown.
Much like Turner's Pond, Marblehead had a beautiful little 1.8 acre pond - Redd's Pond- named after Wilmont "Mammy" Redd, who was accused and convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Redd's Pond would freeze over in winter so the town kids could go skating.
While not quite as old as those in Marblehead, Minden's homes on Elm Street seem every bit as beautiful and stately. Add the cypress trees in the bayou and area lakes, the stately pines, the red brick road leading through downtown, (a rarely frozen) Turner's Pond, and you've got all scenes Norman Rockwell would surely have painted.
I feel very fortunate to now make my home here in Minden where I can wake up every day and admire its beauty. Believe me; compared to the flat, brown, treeless, Dallas landscape, this is the ever-loving Garden of Eden.
I hope you who have lived here all your lives have not come to take the beauty of these surroundings for granted.
I consider it a gift to be able to live in such a beautiful place where people wave at you with all their fingers.