The Baytown Sun
Published August 16, 2006
BRYANT, Ark. — Well, here we are in the land of Clinton, Wal-Mart and the Razorbacks.
It's actually quite nice. On the trip up here (which I’m not making again with a toddler for a long, long time), the scenery just got prettier and prettier once we got ... well, out of Texas. In our little community just outside of Little Rock, we’re surrounded by trees and hills, and I have yet to see a mosquito.
We have encountered the occasional reminder of Texas. It's pretty sad when a dead armadillo in the road makes you homesick.
I’ve been thinking back to December of 2001, when I first contacted The Baytown Sun about doing some writing. I ended up on the phone with one of their editor-types. He hates being mentioned in columns, so I’ll call him “Qwertyuiop.”
“Qwertyuiop” didn’t know me from Adam’s pet chinchilla but let me write anyway. I started with some feature stories and was writing my own weekly column by that fall. For the next three-and-a-half years, the people of the Baytown area read whatever I managed to come up with week after week. I have a box full of letters — most of them nice. I was asked for a couple of autographs and was even called a not-so-nice name for making fun of Amegy Bank’s name change.
I also kept up the feature stories when I wasn’t busy having babies. I was honored to have the chance to listen to survivors of Brownwood and the 1947 Texas City blast tell their stories. I interviewed a number of families whose lives have been deeply impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. I was warmly welcomed into the mosque on Hutto Street by local Muslim leaders, who told me about their faith and how the events of Sept. 11 had affected them.
Those are just a few of the people who let me write about their experiences for the pages of The Baytown Sun. Thank you for letting me have a peek into your lives.
During the past six years, Chad, our girls and I were also blessed by wonderful friends, neighbors, and the members of our irreplaceable church family at Missouri St. Church of Christ, who have stuck “...closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
Andy Warhol said everyone gets 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime, but I’ve had much more than that during my stint as a weekly columnist. Thank you for reading my offerings and for letting me know what you thought of them. That meant more than you know. I must also thank the two members of my fan club: Lois Snead and Gladys Adcox. And a sincere thank you to Wanda Garner Cash and “Qwertyuiop,” for their years of support and for taking a chance on a stranger on the phone.
I’ll check in from time to time, and you can find out what’s going on with me and my family through my blog at deanaland.blogspot.com.
It’s no secret that people gripe about Baytown. But it has been a wonderful home to us. I wouldn’t have traded the last six years for anything.
I'm pretty bad at saying goodbye — so bad that I usually won’t even say it. The apostle Paul said it better than I could in Philippians 1:3.
Oh, come on. Get off your duff and go look it up.
Deana Nall and her family have moved from Baytown to the Little Rock, Ark. area. This is her last column for the Baytown Sun.