A wave hello, a wave goodbye

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Residents in Luverne have been treated to the wonderful ministry of Johnny Jones, manager of Crenshaw County Hardware located on 106 South Forest Street, or as we call it, &#8220Main Street.”

If you needed a fitting, an extension cord repaired, Crenshaw County Hardware was the place to go.

Johnny offered not only nuts and bolts, but something hard to find in mega-chain store departments – he offers a helping hand, homespun humor and the gift of his warm and infectious smile.

After eleven years of serving Crenshaw County, in two weeks, Crenshaw County Hardware will be closing and Johnny Jones, while staying in Luverne, will no longer be dispensing pots, pans, wire and fittings.

But the greatest loss will be not having Johnny sitting on the bench outside his store, offering the ministry of the wave to everyone who drives past.

I have thought about Johnny's ministry of the wave while passing down Main Street.

Sometimes I am hurried to get from one place to the next – or am preoccupied with my thoughts for the day, and I find myself lost to all that is taking place around me in this fair city.

While waiting for the light to change, I look over and see Johnny sitting on the bench, waving… waving hello to those he recognizes as well as waving goodbye to those with out-of-state tags just passing through.

I have wondered how many people on their hurried journeys have come through Luverne, see the sign &#8220Friendliest City in the South” and felt very friendless in their lives?

We live in a fast-paced, hurried world, and it is easy to be alone while surrounded by many people.

Many can feel forgotten and unnoticed in their livesŠthat is, until they pass by Crenshaw County Hardware and see a man, wearing khaki pants, a white T-shirt and usually a black fedora waving, &#8220hello” and &#8220goodbye.”

I will miss stopping in Crenshaw Hardware – to browse the brass and copper fittings, to see the famous cookie tin collection, or to just look at the knickknacks in the store.

I will miss many things with the passing of the store but most of all, I will miss &#8220the wave.”

Thank you, Johnny, for modeling before us what it means to live in this friendly city.

Here's my wave to you… hello and goodbye.

Rev. Ken Jackson

Luverne United Methodist Church