You don#8217;t know what you are missing

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

Welcome to Suffolk, a rare blend of town and country living, with historic roots reaching back nearly four centuries. Have fun in our revitalized downtown, a Main Street pulsing with exciting new places to shop and dine, and southern hospitality second to none.

We’re a city of pleasant villages with intriguing names like Chuckatuck, Driver, Holland, and Whaleyville.

Our 430 square miles make us Virginia’s largest city, so you won’t run out of things to do, sites to see and places to have a good time.


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No, I didn’t write that, it’s the first paragraph on a pamphlet produced by our Department of Tourism. You can pick one up at the Prentis House Visitor Center, Railroad Station, or the Hilton. And you will certainly be impressed as you read that you, especially if you live here, are headed for &uot;good times in 2006.&uot; I suggest you do read one or more of these colorful handouts and you will not mind at all that your property assessments are ballooning again.

I’m not sure that tourist dollars even pay the rent on the Prentis House, the printing bills, and the staff of four women who run the operation seven days a week.

Moving into the old courthouse after a $500,000-plus renovation doesn’t add up. We don’t need an Interpretive Dismal Swamp Center … one compliment I hear all the time is how great the conducted tour of the Swamp is for those who seek adventure. Let tourists walk the swamp trails and interpret for themselves.

And many have applauded the hour long Historic narrated bus tour of our historical sites by the lady that knows her subject.

History is not one of my long suits having lived through too much of it. I can’t remember my 80th birthday, but some guy named George Washington sticks in my mind. And, thankfully, not every beautiful home in the south was destroyed. I have been dragged to many plantations and restored domiciles below the Mason/Dixon and, to my dismay, there are few places for an old man to sit down while doilies and dishes charm the ladies. The malls do a much better job.

Back in the day

Remember those Burma Shave road signs? Before there were interstates, back in the 30’s and 40’s, we all drove two-lane roads everywhere.

These were small red signs with white letters usually in a farmer’s field.

Here’s some: Trains don’t wander all over the map cuz nobody sits in the engineers lap. Burma Shave.

She kissed the hairbrush by mistake; she thought it was her husband Jake. Burma Shave.

Don’t lose your head to gain a minute, you need your head, your brains are in it. Burma shave.

Drove too long, driver snoozing, what happened next is not amusing. Burma Shave.

Brother Speeder let’s rehearse, all together, good morning, nurse. Burma Shave.

Cautious Rider, to her reckless dear, let’s have less bull and more steer. Burma Shave.

Speed was high, weather not, tires were thin, X marks the spot. Burma Shave.

The midnight-ride of Paul for beer, led to a warmer hemisphere. Burma Shave.

Around the curve lickety-split; beautiful car, wasn’t it? Burma Shave.

No matter the price, no matter how new, the best safety device in the car is you. Burma Shave.

A guy who drives a car wide open, is not thinking,’ he’s just hopin’. Burma Shave

At intersections look each way, a harp sounds nice but it’s hard to play. Burma Shave

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Both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. That’s the skillful driver’s code. Burma Shave. The one who drives when he’s been drinking, depends on you to do his thinking. Burma Shave. A car in ditch, driver in tree, the moon was full and so was he. Burma Shave. Passing school zone take it slow. Let our little shavers grow.

Burma Shave. And: Don’t stick your elbow out so far. It may go home in another car. We should have those signs today.