Friday, December 03, 2004

Another Nall Family Voyage

Published in The Baytown Sun on December 01, 2004

Last week was a time to spend with family while reflecting upon everything for which we are thankful. Personally, I am thankful that my family survived a trip across Texas without inflicting any deep emotional scars on each other.

When my husband Chad and I left Baytown last Monday with Julia, age 5; and Jenna, three months; I was tempted to drive straight to the state hospital in Rusk to check us all in for even attempting such a trip.

But it really wasn’t so bad. I attribute this to a wonderful little invention called the portable DVD player. You just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and you can watch movies to your heart’s content — as long as you’re not the one driving.

So that took care of the 5-year-old. The baby, when she wasn’t sleeping, amused herself by staring into space and drooling.

Our itinerary included Dallas, Abilene, Lubbock and Denver City (a tiny town almost in New Mexico). All along the way, we were greeted by aunts, uncles, cousins and great-grandparents whose voices immediately jumped up three octaves when they saw our new baby.

Why is that such a natural response for people when they talk to babies? I do it, too. Why don’t we talk in extremely deep voices? Or with Hungarian accents? I think this warrants an in-depth study.

Anyway, by the time we got to Chad’s grandmother’s house in Denver City at the edge of west Texas, we decided we had gone way too far and seen way too many relatives. So we got ready to head home.

“You can either sit in the back with the kids or up front with my mom,” Chad told me.

I thought for a minute.

“Couldn’t you just strap me to the top of the car?” I offered.

When he refused, I ended up in the back. Julia entertained herself by watching “Freaky Friday” and perusing my “Good Housekeeping” magazine (which I found ironic in light of the fact that she has destroyed just about every attempt I’ve made at good housekeeping during the last five years). Jenna stayed happy by, once again, staring into space and drooling.

By the time we were south of Dallas, Julia was so bored that she started playing with the language selections on her DVDs and ended up watching “The Lion King” in French. It’s amazing how French can make even Pumbaa sound refined and cultured.

This works for people, too. Next time you’re touring Paris, go up to a native and say, “J’habite dans une voiture, et je me marie avec ma soeur.” It means “I live in a car, and I am married to my sister,” but don’t you sound spiffy?

Well, we’re done traveling for 2004. I can now say that I have breastfed at nearly every Dairy Queen on I-20. Here’s something else I’m thankful for: We’re not taking our Nall Family Texas Tour for a whole year.

Special thanks to Leslie Cushman, French teacher at Lee High School, for her help with this week’s column. Merci!

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is


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