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Highway 101 runs straight through my little town of Brookings, Oregon. As you approach, the speed limit goes from 55mph to 35 mph all in a stretch of about five miles. When you hit downtown it’s 25mph, then after passing Sacks Thrift Avenue, Modele Salon, Mo Joe’s, Sweet Pea Tea Room and Vista Pub, the speed limit quickly jumps up to 35 then 55 all over again.

If you just so happen to be driving along this lovely stretch of road at around 3:30 in the afternoon, you’ll see him: A tiny piece of walking joy. He’s a small bearded man who faintly resembles Popeye dressed for a walkabout – complete with pith hat. When you spot him, you’ll see him waving to a car and think, “Oh that’s nice, he must know those people.” Then suddenly, he’ll turn his full attention on you and give you the most sincere smile and wave. Better still, he waits for your response. If you’re like me – not used to public displays of friendliness, you’ll politely nod and sort of smile his way, while keeping your gaze on the straight and narrow. To that he touches the tip of his hat and bows, very debonair-like.

Photo courtesy of Curry Coastal Pilot

The next time I saw our Waving Man, I was driving with my husband in his truck. I had no idea Tony had seen him before and watched in amazement as he rolled down the window and yelled, “Alright Buddy!!!” While boisterously waving and smiling. Feeling a little ashamed of my first response, I joined in. To this Mr. Happy stopped walking, bent his knees, pointed our way and shouted, “Alright!!! Thank you!!!”

“Do you know him?!” I asked my husband. Of course not, but they acted like they knew each other, and in a way they do. They’re two human beings acknowledging each other in a revolutionary act of brotherly love, via waving. It’s very beautiful in it’s simplicity. Knights used to wave to one another. The raising of their hand meant, “I am not armed, I come in peace.” In the same spirit, Mr. Spread-Joy is boldly walking along HWY 101, facing traffic, waving like a modern day knight. Without speaking, he’s saying, “I come in peace, and I want you to know, you do matter!” It touches my heart to have such a great person living in our town.

He has been spreading the love for many years now: http://www.currypilot.com/20050205103710/News/Local-News/THE-WAVING-WALKING-MAN