When our friends Rhonda and David visited last month, we decided to take them to a Jackson Parish tourist site – the Jimmie Davis Tabernacle. A tabernacle, huh? To a Catholic, it’s the repository of the Holy Eucharist. I doubted seriously that this was that kind of tabernacle, so I took a wait-and-see attitude. I’d heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so I guessed it was the Christian equivalent of an opry. I suppose I could have googled it, but I’m too lazy for that.
Here’s the tabernacle. Impressive! Eerie – we were the only people in the area. Where was everybody? I was a tad creeped out, but that didn’t stop me from sneaking a peek into the arched glass doors where an aged piano rested just inside the doors. That’s as far as I could go, however, because the doors were locked. Drat! I wanted to touch that pretty old gal and hear the music she could make. At least she wasn’t relegated to the dump, like so many old things these days.
Note to self: a tabernacle is a place where choirs sing. Jimmie Davis has his own tabernacle – lucky! I love choir music and sang gleefully during my high school days. Maybe I’ll have a tabernacle one day.
More impressive than the tabernacle was the cemetery behind it. Y’all know that I have a penchant for passing by the cities of the dead to pay my respects. I know, this is what creeps out most people, but not me. Visiting the departed makes me feel pensive – about life, being alive, and how all forked roads converge at the same destination, like it or not (I don’t like it).
I wondered such things even when I was a little kid. Like, when my daddy died, where was he? Did he still exist, and if not, had he ever? To be gone, at least to Daddy, meant that his conscious thought had ceased, so to him at least, he never was. I know, weird thoughts for a little kid, but I experienced loss at such a young age. If I hadn’t tried to rationalize things in my head, my brain would have exploded.
So, to visit Jimmie Davis was an honor. An homage. You see?
And it gets even better than the cemetery. I got to step back a little further in time to the place of his birth, right next door to the cemetery. What humble beginnings for a future governor of Louisiana! I really wanted to go inside, but these doors were locked, too. Drat!
A sprig of holly, surely leftover from Christmas, lay dried and shriveled on the padlock of the front door. Why can’t Christmas last forever and ever? Everyone knows it’s the best time of the year! But the holly took the path that Jimmie took, the path we must all take – the one thing we all have in common.
It’s no reason to despair – I hope I didn’t give you that impression. It’s reason to rejoice: We’re here now and it’s a beautiful day. And even if it were an ugly day, there would be something beautiful – at least one thing of beauty – in it.
Today, I am surrounded by friends in a beautiful place. That’s my thing of beauty today to keep me in the light. What’s yours?
Have a beautiful day, everybody!