A few readers recently have asked for “more details” on where we live. Not the address so much as the context. So I walked around our neighborhood, took a few photographs, and thought about what it means to live in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
It may have been almost six years now since WFPC officially voted to extend the call, but I still hold some of that initial wonder at the fact that we live in North Carolina.
I’m not sure if I have shared this before but, back in late 2012 when we knew it was time to move on after so many amazing years in Brandon (it was almost 17 by the time we rolled out of town), I had been quietly talking with God about my own checklist.
We were open to going absolutely anywhere in the United States, but here’s what I was hoping for in terms of location after living 35 years in Florida:
- Seasons – all four of them;
- A small town with a real, active, town center;
- The kind of community where there is an independent hardware store, and a little bookstore;
- A place where I could walk from my house, on sidewalks, into the town;
- I wanted a larger city nearby with hospitals, universities, art, museums, entertainment;
- Preferably near a state capital city;
- Somewhere where both the mountains and the beach are accessible;
So – as if by divine intervention – Wake Forest happened, and Rebekah and I live in this Norman Rockwell-esque slice of classic Americana. Not just the fact that I can hike, on sidewalks, along tree-lined streets all the way into the town center, but that the homes are modest, pretty, well cared for and populated by lovely people, the kind of folk who work two jobs and mostly take care of their own gardening.
Circus of the Absurd:
It was a beautiful evening and I walked through the park – just a couple of hundred yards from our home. The place was full with kids and parents performing the classic “make your pre-schooler pretend to play real baseball” Circus of the Absurd. Under 30 parking spots and over 50 cars. As many dads as kids on the diamond, guiding and yelling and pulling and pushing their offspring.
- “No, run to first base!
- “No, not the mound, first base!
- “No, that’s a butterfly!
- “No, that’s third base!
- “No! Run!”
The dads look so serious and the moms look so proud and the kids are like, “But I want to watch this cool looking bug walking across the infield.”
I laugh, continuing my walk, listening to the serenity of all that excitement and noise fold into the background when I make the next turn. And there are kids playing on the sidewalk, and parents pulling weeds, and flowers blooming absolutely everywhere.
And it is 72-degrees in the late springtime in Wake Forest, and all is well.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.