By Blake Spurney
NORTH NEWTON—At Walmart, they are not, but Teresa Jones and Cindy Miller greet motorists and pedestrians passing by Wheatland Homes on West 24th Street with a friendly wave and smile nonetheless.
Jones has been waving at folks since she moved into the complex five years ago.
“It’s just really showing the love of God,” Jones said. “No matter how I’m feeling before I hit the door, I just have love for God, and I want to spread it.”
Miller joined her a couple of years ago.
“Ever since I met you,” she told Jones. “And I like it having someone out there cheering me on. It’s the North Newton welcoming committee.”
“Cindy and I hooked up as friends, and then we became best friends,” Jones said. “And we started waving, and now you can’t stop her.”
Miller said she and Jones started talking when they were outside smoking.
“Well, we haven’t stopped talking yet,” she said. “Every morning, one of us calls the other, and we get together. Sometimes we cook for each other.”
The sexagenarians look after each other, such as when Jones underwent two knee replacements during the past year. Jones checked on Miller last week when she was feeling a little under the weather due to the heat.
Jones came to town from Kansas City, Kan., and Miller hails from Wichita. Neither has family members close by.
“Yeah, we got each other,” Jones said.
Miller fell and injured her leg last November.
“After I was out of the hospital, she was right there waiting for me,” she said.
Even the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the women from their duties. They dutifully donned masks and continued spreading their goodwill. When the weather is cold, they bundle up.
“We’re always out there, like the mailman,” Jones said.
Jones said three weeks ago a man pulled over and asked for a hug. The man told her that he had been down in the dumps, but seeing them smiling and waving helped him. Some people have brought them meals and cookies, and others stop and thank them.
“You never know what you’re doing for someone, how you’re helping them,” Jones said. “I mean, it blesses me.”
“Me, too,” Miller added. “A lot of people are smiling at us when they wave back. So, I think it makes them feel good to see us waving.”
Miller said she would likely be sitting in her apartment watching television if she hadn’t struck up a friendship with Jones. Both said they would continue to be the welcoming committee as long as they could continue to wave.
“Even when we get so old to where we have to hold our arm up there, we’ll still be waving,” Miller said.
Jones said she would like to pass along a quote that serves as her philosophy: “If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes. Then only you would see how special you are to me.”