I watch the young couple at their table, each with their cell phones, each communicating, …with whom? Are they talking to each other? Is it easier to text than to speak to each other? Rarely do I contribute to Facebook but when I pull up a message sent to me I am amazed. “I think I’ll take a nap.” Period. “I’m so bored.”…period. Good communication is shared with these medias, I’m convinced of that but I am intrigued with the reason for it. Is it because they are concerned about the response they would receive if they were face to face? There is no doubt my views are old fashioned, but I announce here for the world, I am mystified. Is that what they are doing? Announcing to the world? Is it the absence of a good friend that they resort to these avenues? One-hundred-forty-six characters, is it a speedy way to get their views out there without any commitment? “This is who I am, take it or leave it. This is the person I want you to see.”

There is a virtue that I see in texting, that is if one has difficulty hearing on a telephone, they can send and receive messages accurately. I am concerned, however, that conversation is becoming a lost art. Small talk can be boring, but a real conversation can be informative in so many ways. Opinions are shared, facial expression and voice inflection contribute to real understanding. I enjoy the use of my cell phone and email, sent and received at my convenience.

I am driving  down Limberlost Lane in Pineville and coming, from the opposite direction, three young people, side by side, each with an implement of some kind, with earphones in their ears, not conversing to each other and oblivious to the approaching traffic (me). Each in their own little world. Someone once said that when we are in our own little world we make a small package, or something to that effect. I hope they are receiving important messages, learning something, sharing something meaningful. I am also hoping this is a passing phase and one day soon this electronic generation will recognize that communication can be exciting when it is face-to-face, and the electronic devices can be used as a last resort or in emergency. I depend upon my cell phone and road service when I travel. Bad weather, power loss, these are wonderful services to have available. Today I watch a 4-year-old manage a cell phone and wonder what will this world be like for him when he is an adult.  Maybe I would rather not know.

The McDonald County Historical Society reluctantly postponed their end of the year Christmas party last Sunday. At this time we are planning – weather permitting – the party for Sunday the 15th. We hope you will join us. Located on the square in Pineville, the historic old courthouse will be offering music, food, and an opportunity to share our mutual histories. Come bid on a decorated Christmas tree and enjoy this last week – the museum will close following the party to open again in the spring. Free to all, we are looking forward to meeting you. The telephone number at the museum is 223-7700, or call me 223-4127 should we find weather once again dictating a change. You can go to info@mcdonaldcohistory.org or www.mcdonaldcohistory.org. We appreciate the electronic age, but look forward to meeting you face to face.

Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.