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No 28. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, July 10, 2015
No Cell Phone Service
Recently, I went to my sister Debi’s wedding. It was in Granville, TN one full hour outside of Nashville. We landed, and immediately left in our rental car.
Beautiful, Tennessee is green and beautiful and it poured rain (we don’t have that in Santa Monica). We had our Google Map lady in our phones take us there along with some directions from a local. As we drove off the main highway, into the side roads, then through the hills of Tennessee, THERE WAS NO CELL SIGNAL! By God’s grace, we found “The Cottage” and my sister’s home.
What a lovely family reunion. My baby sister was a champion ballroom dancer, my professional dance partner, and a European champion in Denmark. We had not all been together since Daddy’s passing some time ago. Also, the family had not met my newly wed husband, Joel Rieck.
We had a lovely dinner with the family then we started to leave. Dark curving roads along water….NO SIGNAL.
My sweet sister got in her car and escorted us to The Cottage. The air was pure and clean and the sounds of the southern country evening filled the air. Where were the sirens? Where was the traffic noise? (also they did not have the sound of the Pacific Ocean as we do!)
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The next morning we walked to the local eatery (not even a stoplight in Granville) and I began to realize that no one was on their cell phones. No one was driving and texting. The patrons at the diner/store/gas station/market/who knows what else, were all speaking to each other. Joel and I pulled out our phones and we realized, other than for photos (I took over 400) that we had to sit there and TALK to each other without posting to Facebook and we could not blast out photos on Instagram.
Kids were walking around talking with one another and no one was crossing the road in heavy traffic while texting and listening to iTunes in both ears. I felt as if I was in a time machine and had gone back two decades. I asked the cashier about the cell phones and she said that some people on the mountain tops had “boosters” for their phones, but for us all, and for everyone working in the market, no one had their phones.
At the wedding later that day, everyone SPOKE to each other and we sat and CHATTED. Not one person was checking their email….WOW! Since I could have my Samsung S6 surgically implanted into my skull, I was taking 100’s of photos as fast as I could. I was worried like mad for they were not uploading immediately to Dropbox. No Signal! Where were all the tons of notification sounds, phone ringtones and vibrating phones on the table tops! There was only peace and quiet all around us along with the local country music station.
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The wedding was lovely and spiritually moving. Afterwards we waited for the reception dinner and we listened to some real Bluegrass Music by a band that could have appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Everyone was sitting LISTENING to the music and no one was on their cell phone. The afternoon concert was over and then we all went in for the dinner.
Debi and Charlie danced their first dance, then Debi and I danced two fun routines together. So much fun. Just a few were taking pictures and no one could email them immediately. We were enjoying the moment to the fullest and we were communicating with each other. Amazing. Debi and I danced two more times through the audience as they applauded her in her beautiful wedding gown!
That night at Debi and Charlie’s, we gathered and they opened their wedding presents and cards. NO ONE was on their cell. We laughed, talked, told stories, ate and drank. It was wonderful and healing with all the love in the house. I was of course glued to my phone taking photos like a maniac!
That night we all departed full of stories of our youth, memories of the day, and love and family cheer. Joel and I made it to The Cottage fine. During the night, a signal would come through for 5 seconds and we heard our phones chirp and we both jumped up like trained dogs. Oh my, I just got 5 emails! I just received 3 texts! We were pitiful phone addicts! Our phones were torturing us and mocking us!
In the morning we ate again with people not on their phones…anywhere. We started to drive back to Nashville and got LOST! Not by much, but we did not have Google Maps and it was daylight going the opposite direction in the hills of Tennessee. Then suddenly as we neared the highway….A SIGNAL! We had returned to civilization. Our phones took us to Woodlawn to see Mom and Dad’s markesr, then visit the Parthenon, burgers at White Castle, then drive to the airport.
What a wonderful visit. When we were at the airport, our time travel portal had closed. No one was talking to anyone else. All were glued to their phones, calling, texting, uploading photos, posting on FB about their travels. Then, back to LAX and on the road with drivers calling and texting at 70 mile per hour. All was back to normal!
I loved the freedom from my cell signal. But for now, I can’t wait to post this on our web site, FB and Twitter and send it out to my family, friends, and Arthur Murray readers. Ah, the world of the internet. Yet, I will remember for a long time being in a city way in the hills of Tennessee without a cell phone signal…a bit of heaven!
Keep on Dancing!
David Woodbury