All around us here at Beauvoir, which means beautiful to view, we are surrounded by interesting trees, plants and animal life, extraordinary buildings and architecture, and fascinating articles and reproductions of 18th century life, museum artifacts. Here’s an opportunity to be with the family, share history and both learn with and teach each other. The shop has lovely gifts and souvenirs, not the usual assortment of made-in-China trinkets and license plates. This is the last home of Jefferson Davis and the Jefferson Davis Library. History seeps out of the seams of every flag on the place. In front of the Post- Katrina era building is the Mississippi Bay, blue water, rolling waves and white sand, and restorative ocean-like breeze.
So why are there so many people walking around looking at their shoes, mumbling to themselves, with plugs in their ears or cell phones in their hands? Why are they not talking, pointing, listening, learning, and most of all, sharing the moment with each other?
The saddest thing I saw was on Friday: 4th grade girl follows mom into the building where I’m seated at my book signing table. Mom has head down, cell phone to ear, not seeing anything, not hearing the girl trying to get her attention; she wants to see my table. Mom is waving her away with her hand. Back facing the girl, she walks corner to corner in the shop. They are there 40 minutes. The wall of the shop is glass and I watch the entire time. Girl is bored. Mom is absorbed. They walk out, mom still on the phone, girl follows and sadly waves to me. For the first time I notice Dad has been sitting on the front step the entire time absorbed in his ipad, (probably facebook) waiting for them. Probably doesn’t realize how long he’s been there. Alone.
I feel sorry for Mom. She has no idea how quickly time will pass and there will be no girl following her. She’ll be alone. Just her and her phone. This beautiful day at this beautiful place had so much potential. I’m sorry for them both to have missed it all. How important was that call?
We all need to assess how much time we spend every day plugged in and tuned out of the moment at hand. When I sign my therapy dog book, Just for the Moment, I write: Our lives are measured in years, but lived in moments. I should add, be in every one