Nobody looked at a cell phone.

You can't tell it from this photo, but last night this table on our patio at home was full. It was full of people and delicious food and drinks and lively conversation and unbridled laughter. There was music playing in the background. There were nine of us at the table and not one had a cell phone out during the whole evening.

I lie. There was that one moment when Del snapped a cell phone photo with Putsy, but that was it.

We talked about everything - pop culture, music, theatre, movies, books, food, travel, family. We even talked about the things that you're not supposed to talk about: politics. religion. Even the Kardashian family came up in conversation - but just long enough for almost everyone to admit that none of us have seen an episode of their TV show. We didn't all agree completely on everything, but we had a great time.

There were a good number of Catholics at the table. There were a good number of Southern Baptists at the table. There were lots of great stories - like the one about the lady at church who was sweet on the preacher - so sweet on the preacher that she would carefully take out her compact and retouch her lipstick during one of those last verses of "Just As I Am" just in time to go down to the front and re-dedicate her life to Christ every Sunday night just so she could hold onto the pastor and whisper into his ear. I think the Baptist boys had the best stories, but I'm probably biased.

It didn't occur to me until later how remarkable (and refreshing) it was to look around the table and see that everyone was engaged. There were people laughing and talking and looking at each other. No heads were tilted forward toward little handheld devices. There were no double-thumbed messages being typed during our time together. No selfies. No check-ins. We were all just there, having a great time.

Of course, later, several of us texted and facebook messaged each other to say what a good time we had. So there's that.


  1. One of the best things I've read lately is: Listen with the intent of hearing and not with the intent of what you are going to say next. Oh - and this blog. Love your posts. (Pat Harris)

  2. Wonderful blog post - best lesson. Tim took a Thanksgiving photo of those gathered in our den that day, waiting for the dinner bell. As you said, every head down looking at a handheld device. Shame on us for allowing it to happen. Next year I'm going to set boundaries when family and friends are at my home. Thank you, MIchael - for sharing so well what we already knew.


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