Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A sad celebration

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun

Published June 21, 2006

Six years.

That’s how long we’ve lived in Baytown.

During that time, we’ve watched our 18-month-old baby grow into a lanky 7-year-old girl. We’ve made friends. We’ve grown close to our church family. We fixed up an old house. We converted the “junk room” into a nursery for another baby girl. We’ve had wonderful times and tragic experiences.

Basically, we have made this town our home.

So how are we going to mark our sixth anniversary in Baytown?

By moving away.

My husband Chad has accepted a ministry job in ... well, I won’t say it just yet. It’s in another state.

There’s a “for sale” sign in our yard. We’re starting to pack things up. But in a way, it doesn’t feel right. In about seven weeks, the place where we always sit in church will be empty. When the new second- graders at Travis Elementary walk to school on the first day of classes, Julia won’t be among them. Someone else’s kids will be covering our driveway with sidewalk chalk. And this little strip of newsprint that I’ve occupied for almost four years will be filled with somebody else’s writing.

Julia, our 7-year-old, asked me the other day if she could go outside and kick the “for sale” sign. I said only if I could do it, too.

Where we’re going will be a great place to live. Over time, it will become home, too.

I realize this column hasn’t been very funny so far. So I’ll throw in some humor.


That’s where we’re moving. Little Rock, actually. I’m about to become a walking Arkansas joke.

So go ahead. Tell me we won’t have to pack any shoes. Ask me who my daughters will marry since they don’t have any male cousins. Tell me that 32 Arkansas women in one room make one full set of teeth. Remind me that Bill Clinton is from there.

Bring it on. I can take it.

The truth is that Arkansas is a pretty neat place. Tommy Watson assured me of this, and I found out for myself when Chad and I visited Little Rock a couple of weeks ago. (If you know Tommy, ask him about the time I made an Arkansas joke to him — without knowing he grew up there. Not one of my finer moments.)

Little Rock is a beautiful city, and a friend tells me they have something known as “winter,” during which little white things fall out of the sky. Must be a local custom. I also noticed a lot of indentations in the terrain. I understand they’re called “hills.”

There’s a lot more I’d like to know about Arkansas. Like what Little Rock residents are called. “Little Rockers?” I hope so. And why isn’t Kansas pronounced “Kan-saw?”

I’ve moved before, and I know how stressful the whole process can be. I figure I can either let it overwhelm me, or I can get paid to make fun of it. So I’ll keep writing my column until we leave.

And, during the next seven weeks, we’ll be packing up, saying goodbye and trying to sell our house. (Three bedrooms, two baths, nice neighborhood, great schools.)

So if the Kerrs or the Mundingers or any of our other neighbors see us outside kicking that sign, please tell them not to worry. It’s just therapy.

Deana Nall currently lives in Baytown with her family.


  • At Wed Jun 21, 07:18:00 AM, Blogger SJ said…

    It was the summer before my fifth grade year when we moved from Irving, TX to Arkansas. I really did go out and kick the "For Sale" sign in our yard. I was not happy. I grew to love it though. I hope you will too. (There are Targets here too.)

  • At Thu Jun 22, 07:50:00 AM, Blogger elizabeth said…

    I thought they just worshipped the god of WalMart! You might have to be converted!

  • At Thu Jun 22, 02:17:00 PM, Blogger KentF said…

    Congrats Deana and Chad! Just make sure the girls make it back to A-town for college. So...have you found a double-wide, hmm, I mean home yet? ;-)

    (My apologies if you really are moving into a double-wide. They're probably more prevalent in Texas than Ark.)

  • At Thu Jun 22, 02:46:00 PM, Blogger Brandon Moore said…

    To begin with Arkansas does not have winter, so don't get to excited, and there are some real good sides to Arkansas, one of which is not their obsession with pig sooie! Something is desperately wrong with a state where the favorite past-time consists of pretending like your calling hogs!

  • At Thu Jun 22, 03:54:00 PM, Blogger Deana Nall said…

    Brandon -- if the temp in AR dips below 65 any time between Nov. and Feb., then they DO have winter. Remember, I'm from southeast TX!

  • At Fri Jun 23, 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh girl you have a full couple of months ahead of you!!! Chin up though! I think you will love Little Rock. It really is very pretty and you can fly southwest to Houston for pretty cheap. Hang in there though. I know most youth ministers wives are sorta on their own during summer so I know moving during the On-season will be a challenge. SG
    (Blogger forget me and I forgot my password!)

  • At Fri Jun 23, 10:59:00 PM, Blogger Paige Robins said…

    I'll come kick the "For Sale" sign with you guys.

  • At Thu Jun 29, 08:06:00 AM, Blogger Jana said…

    I know what it's like to be part of a community you love and, at this point in my life, I would not be excited about leaving. So I'm sorry for the heartache that will be pervading your life the next few months. But congrats to Chad on the new job. I've never lived there, but have spent time in Little Rock, and it's quite a lovely town (and close to the Ozarks that turn gorgeous colors in fall). Plus it's halfway between TN and TX so we'll come stay overnight with you when we make our annual trip to TX to see family. It doesn't really matter that we've never hung out, right? We're bloggers and that makes us friends, RIGHT?!

  • At Thu Jun 29, 08:45:00 AM, Anonymous mark frost said…

    Now for a little history lesson on why Kansas isn't pronounced Kan-saw. I know whereof I speak, because I attended high school in Arkansas 40 years ago and I remember my Arkansas history.

    The name of the state is a corruption of the word the Native Americans used to describe the area. (I think Choctaw and Ouachita are two other corruptions of that same misheard word.) When Arkansas was a candidate for statehood, two senators were elected. One said that the name of the state should be Arkansas (pronounced ar-KAN-sas); the other advocated the name Arkansaw (pronounced ar-kun-SAW). The debate was heated with neither one willing to yield. So Congress, in its wisdom, forged a compromise. The new state's name would be spelled "Arkansas" and pronounced ar-kun-SAW.

    At least that's the way I remember it from history class. However, I must warn you that my memory is likely as corrupt as the English settlers' hearing of Native American place names.


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