I’ve been back in the Republic for a few days, and have had some time to reflect on our osofast trip to the motherland. And the one thing that I keep coming back to is how much I love my home state. So this post is dedicated to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State, the Land of Opportunity, the Wonder State (Hurrah!), and any other adopted and discarded nicknames it might have.
First, it was very green. The Republic is not so much these days, as my yard sounds like corn flakes and the sticker burrs have overtaken my side yard. I gave up on cornhole around here in the summer due to the infestation of sticker burrs. I don’t like them.
But Arkansas was so green. Everywhere you looked, it was a deep, “we’ve had way too much rain that should be landing in TX” green. Everyone there is sick and tired of the rain, but we are getting pretty desperate here in the Republic.
I am also never more surprised at how small my hometown is. Having lived in metro Cincinnati for several years, and now in the HOT (Heart of Texas, for those not up on the lingo), I’m used to bigger options. I went from my in-laws’ house outside Jonesboro to my mother’s in Paragould in less than 25 minutes. Without speeding. Growing up, the trip to Jonesboro was like going to the moon. We would pack a lunch before heading to visit my grandparents. Now it’s barely enough time to find a good XM station. Or a few songs with Trey Stafford on the Fox or whatever it’s called these days.
Now I don’t want to sound too uppity, because I’m really not. I love my hometown. I love running into people I either went to school with or worked with or knew through baseball or basketball or any other extracurriculars I participated in. I love searching through my memory banks to see if I can find their name. I love my mother telling me about so and so she ran into at somewhere and how many children he/she has now and what part of town they live in.
I love my family. They are Arkansas to me. They live and love and share and pass it around. They grow vegetables to share with others, they visit each other unannounced. They expect nothing, except maybe a little kindness and hospitality. They just love you with all they’ve got. I want to be like that. Ohio people are amazingly friendly, with the caveat of once you get to know them. Texas people (and I’m just generalizing here people) are super friendly and nice up front, but they will talk about you once you’re gone. But Arkansas people are out there for you. They love you with all they’ve got.
I have no idea where we will end up once we’re finished with school, whether it be the Republic or somewhere else. We couldn’t do much better than Arkansas. As far as I know, my daddy only spent the 2 years overseas in WWII and 6 months in Illinois away from Arkansas in his 80 years. His final resting place is on the side of a hill in rural Greene County beside his baby daughter, parents, brother, sister, and other family members. Lord willing, that’s where I’ll end up, too.