MY EIGHT-YEAR-OLD SON is named after a town in Texas. His given name was Daniel Streeter Phillips. When he was born, my wife, Debra, and I broke out the map of Texas and our finger kind of stopped at Streeter. It was actually going to be his middle name, but since it fits him so well, and since there were so many other Daniels in his nursery school class, we switched it. Now he’s Streeter Phillips. If we had had a girl, she would have been Brady, the heart of Texas. Debra and I later visited Streeter, and it was a virtual ghost town. The sign is still there, and so is what’s left of the old post office and maybe a schoolhouse. It’s pretty much a dried-up creek bed and a bunch of rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds. But it’s our town—there’s no going back on it.

Journalist Stone Phillips was born in Texas City and lived there until age ten, when his father, a chemical engineer with Monsanto, was transferred to St. Louis. He is co-anchor with Jane Pauley of the newsmagazine Dateline NBC.