Ed Choate

Ed Choate

Statistics say the average American will move 11 times. I’ve always prided myself on being slightly above average. That’s my way of saying my latest move — to McAlester — is my 12th. That’s the number of homes/duplexes/condos/apartments in which I have lived in 58 years. Or, at least, that’s the number I can remember.

One of the reasons I applied for this job is because I consider this part of Oklahoma to be a second home.

My immediate family all were born in Oklahoma. I was born in Dallas. Don’t hold my Texan roots against me, please — I was raised an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

I read online that moving is in the top five most stressful events of your life including death of a loved one, divorce, major illness or injury and job loss. I’ve experienced three of those and hopefully, won’t ever experience the other two.

Moving also can be an adventure. Everything in McAlester is new to me — though it is getting more familiar by the day.

Each move means making new connections or creating new routines — from where to live, get a haircut and shop for groceries.

Every place is a new place to me.

I had the pleasure of delivering prize bags to two elementary schools students for their work on our “Design an Ad” special section. My school was Haywood. At the moment, learning the location of every school in McAlester is a daunting task, much less schools outside of town.

So when I reflexively asked where Haywood is, one of the responses I received was, “act like you’re going to Stuart …”

“OK, I know you think you are helping me, but …”

The best way to help me with directions at the moment is to tie them to a major landmark — or at least those that qualify as major landmarks to me. That would be food or golf.

When I needed to go to the Country Club, I knew that I would head toward KFC and instead of turning left down the hill, I would just keep going straight.

A newspaper journalist’s life can be hectic. I’m not proud of saying much of my diet comes after ordering into a speaker.

I cook a little — moreso if you are willing to count switching from French’s to Heinz mustard as a culinary choice.

But yes, mostly, I eat out or go to fast-food joints. If my driver’s side window ever fails, I may starve.

My last job was in Muskogee. It was there I was introduced to the concept of entire restaurants being closed for vacation. That became the start of many diets for me.

Staff here will begin to know my order, if not my name. Some wait staff will put in my order before I actually sit down. Some call me a picky eater; I prefer consistent.

I look forward to exploring all parts of McAlester. The stressful part of the move is over. What’s left is all fun.

But, by the way, feel free to offer suggestions where I can get the best hamburger here.

Ed Choate is the Publisher/Editor of the McAlester News-Capital.