We were sitting in Coffee Underground, downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Tristen was about six-years-old. Sarah was our host; she also attended our church. We love Sarah.
While we were chatting up our church friend, Tristen was thinking about the remake of the old Beverly Hillbillies show. (They made a movie in the mid-90s to bless those who were not familiar with the show from the sixties.)
At one point during the movie, the part where the hillbilly Clampett family had piled all their rustic belongings on their jelopy automobile and were entering Beverly Hills, California, there were a lot of open-border Californians upset about what they were seeing.
Rednecks. Old car. And a pile of junk. It was the worst version of the Antique Roadshow.
In a traditional and welcoming style, the Californians were “flipping off” the Clampetts. (Giving them the bird.) Perplexed, Granny (I think) asked what their sign language meant. And Jethro, the smart one in the bunch because he finished the eighth grade said,
Well, that’s how you say howdy in California.
It was an innocuous line, and since Tristen was not familiar with that kind of sign language, we let it pass when we were watching the movie.
Back To Coffee Underground
So, we’re sitting at the Coffee Underground, and Miss Sarah is serving us. As we’re pondering what we want to drink, we made small talk. Tristen, always wanting to add her two-cents, said,
Hey, Miss Sarah, this is how you say hello in California.
As my lovely daughter was saying these words, she had both her arms fully extended toward Miss Sarah. She wrapped all her little fingers in a tight fist, except her two middle fingers, which were sticking straight up so Miss Sarah would not miss this unique way of saying, “Howdy.”
Miss Sarah’s eyes widened. She leaned slightly backward in her stance, and her mouth opened, but no words came out. It was a moment frozen in time.
We ordered coffee.
Miss Sarah moved to New York City.
Tristen learned another way to say, “Hello.”