A Little Trivia on Me
So…I’m a west coast guy. Born and raised in California. Attended high school and college in California. Met and married a beautiful west coast girl. All three of my kids were born in NorCal. I mean what is there not to like about living in Northern California? The weather is amazing, the food is crazy good (best authentic Mexican food ever made), and being located between Tahoe and Napa is pretty sweet. So, every time I tell a native Californian that I lived in Arkansas for a few years, inevitably they say, “Why?!?!” and “What took you so long to move back?”
Well, I will tell you…
In 2008, I was looking for a change. While I think California is great (for the most part), my wife and I felt as though we had not experienced much of the United States and needed a change of pace. My brother and sister-in-law had recently moved to Arkansas and after a weeklong visit with them in 2007, we decided that we were up for an adventure.
I started looking for employment in Arkansas in early 2008 and after submitting a few applications, I was offered a great opportunity that was accompanied by a full relocation package. So, not only were we going to have the opportunity to move, we also weren’t going to have to pay for it. Kind of hard to turn that down. Little did we know that this one decision would change our lives forever.
We arrived in Little Rock in the spring of 2008. New job. New city. New people. New landscape. New everything. It was the Bible belt, which was a far cry from the land of the left (also affectionately known as California). I don’t know that we were completely prepared for what we were about to experience. It would ultimately alter the way we think, talk, and act for the rest of our lives.
Here are a few of the things I learned about the south while living in Arkansas:
- Everyone does not wear overalls – It’s true. Regardless of what you have seen or heard, Arkansas is not a living and breathing Dukes of Hazzard episode.
- Shrimp and grits really do go together. Think of Cream of Wheat with some shrimp thrown on top and then drowned the entire dish in butter. It’s like that…just WAY better.
- “Ya’ll” is actually a word. (“might-could” is also apparently a word, but that never stuck). I find myself using this way too often. Oddly there’s something comforting about it.
- Grilling and barbequing are two totally different things. Barbeque usually refers to some type of slow cooked meat while grilling actually refers to anything cooked on a barbeque (odd…I know).
- Dentistry is a common practice and most people that I met had all of their teeth.
- Patience is a virtue. Things take a little longer in the South. However, don’t mistake slowness of action with slowness of mind. Some of the smartest people I know live in Arkansas.
- Kids can get a hardship driver’s license as early as age 14. This allows minors the ability to get to and from school and/or school activities, to and from work as well as medical appointments. There are some stipulations to obtaining the license but watching kids who are still in Jr. High drive to school takes some getting used to.
- It’s BEAUTIFUL. Because of the humidity, most of the natural foliage stays green all year round.
- You do see a lot more Duck Dynasty folk then you would in San Francisco, but they are just as friendly, funny and engaging as the family you see on TV.
- The women dress up for everything! Even if they are going to the gym, chances are that a “Bump It” and lots of make-up are involved. If you don’t know what a “Bump It” is, click here. http://www.bighappiehair.com/index.html
- Not everyone dates or marries their cousin. They do still have laws about that.
- SEC Football trumps everything. All other college conferences are considered inferior. In Arkansas specifically, the Razorbacks are the NFL, MLB, NHL and MLS rolled into one. If you aren’t a Razorback fan, you better find somewhere to hide each Saturday from September through New Year’s.
- Don’t try to purchase alcohol on Sunday’s. You will get the death stare from the clerk behind the counter. A call to the police or a citizen’s arrest may follow (I’m being a little dramatic, but that was the feeling we got). So, don’t even attempt it.
- You hear a lot of great one-liners, such as:
~ “She’s busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor."
~ “As welcome as an outhouse breeze."
~ “He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.”
~ “Her mouth flops like a barn door in a windstorm.”
…you get the picture.
In complete honesty, I loved Arkansas and all of the people that call the beautiful state “home.” We were welcomed with open arms from day one. The day we moved in, neighbors came by and gave us everything from cookies to their cell phone numbers. I will always consider it my second home and if given the opportunity, would do it over again in a heartbeat. (Don’t worry mom…I’m not moving back).
About the Author
+Jesse Converse is a consultant with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim controller services, recruitment, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Jesse directly at email@example.com or via telephone at 530-809-4670.