IT WAS DANGEROUS, living within walking distance of 2 Amy’s Pizza in Upper Northwest D.C. The folks there knew us by name, or at least by order—we were either “Hunter and Katie” or “two negronis, a Norcia pie and an escarole salad.” It was Our Place. And that was important to us as two transient out-of-towners. It was our place to turn inward, to feel like at least one small corner of the city was ours. Was home, even though home was 1,097 miles west on Interstate 40.
Once back in Little Rock, I missed that place. In fact, settling into my old ways, I realized I missed more than 2 Amy’s—I missed that “Our Place” thing. I felt like I didn’t have that in Little Rock. But I soon realized it wasn’t because I was disconnected from the town. Quite the contrary. I was so connected, in fact, that almost every place in our neighborhood was my place—the playground at Allsopp Park, the promenade on Kavanaugh Boulevard, the wine shop, the coffee shop, the “pizza store” (as my daughter calls it), that high-top next to the window at Pantry Crest. There was nothing “inward” about my life in Arkansas. I lived outward, finding friendly faces at every turn, and I was more than OK with that.
I think that’s how so many of us live in Arkansas: outward. Maybe that’s why it was so hard for some of the folks to whom we put this month’s central question—What do you consider your “third place,” the place you’re most likely to be when you’re not at home or at work?—to give an answer. But they did give answers. (You can check them out here.) And the thread that wends its way through all of those, just as it has each time we’ve pursued a version of this feature, illuminates the reasons we love Arkansas: the soul-edifying natural beauty of the place, and the ease of living amongst it all.
This is our place. Aren’t we lucky?