Adventure Is Out There – A Visit With The Arkansas Halls

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This past Friday, the Texas Halls took a trip to Norfork, Arkansas to see my brother and his family (the Arkansas Halls).

We had a good time:

  • Exploring the Blanchard Springs Caverns. I found it interesting to hear that the man who did the lighting for the caverns normally lit opera houses for a living. I also thought it was interesting that the Cathedral Room is long enough to hold three football fields. If you are ever in the Ozarks, I can’t recommend visiting the Blanchard Springs Caverns enough.
  • Sticking our feet in the White River/Norfork Lake junction. The water was freezing! Felt so good.
  • Eating some BBQ at Holy Smokes in Mountain Home, Arkansas. BBQ isn’t quite what I’m used to in Texas but the sauce was solid. The smoked macaroni and cheese–while good–screams for some bacon.
  • Mowing my brother’s yard on his new riding lawn mower.
  • Hanging out, swimming, talking, and launching fireworks.

I enjoyed getting to catch up with my brother and his family. Was fun to see where they live now and experience a little taste of their new surroundings. We will return… once my brother fixes his go-kart!

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Rewind Wednesday: For the Love of Nook

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Reviled by many gamers due to his slumlord-ish ways, Animal Crossing’s Tom Nook is a character I will forever be thankful for. Tom Nook, you see, is single-handedly responsible for easing my wife into the world of video games.

Back in 2004, I met my now wife at a Halloween event hosted at the college we both attended. We literally bumped into each other in the darkness of night. From that moment on, we dated and got to know one another as all couples do. As things began to grow more serious, I knew that I needed to share my love of video games with her. So, I went out and bought her a Nintendo DS and two copies of Animal Crossing. Two copies? One copy for her; one copy for me.

Soon we were enveloped in the chatty world of talking animals and weed pulling. Random bouts of letter writing, fishing, and strange conversations consumed our gaming time. Every once in awhile, we would visit the other’s town and exchange items—it is because of these visits that I was able to obtain a wide variety of fruit trees—. We were both enjoying the time spent playing the game and hanging out with each other.

Our love of Animal Crossing lasted almost a year. I don’t think that I have ever played a game for such a duration of time. One of our final gaming sessions in the game revolved around checking out the New Years celebration. Fireworks exploded in the sky with great bursts of volume and intensity. A sign, situated in the town square, proudly proclaimed, “Happy New Year”. We were surrounded by virtual buddies we had spent countless hours with. It was a happy new year indeed.

Looking back, we both fondly talk about our New Year’s Eve spent in Animal Crossing. If it wasn’t for Tom Nook and his gateway drug game, I’m not sure that my wife would still be playing games like she does today. A big thank you Tom. Your evil squirrel ways will not be forgotten.