Not taking it for granted

Published 8:40 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do you think those who live in Orlando still get excited about taking a trip to Disney World? Do you think those who live in Hollywood still think twice when driving down Rodeo Drive?

The answer is probably not.

The same could be said for me. Growing up in south Alabama, I took for granted the chance I had at any point and time to go to the beach or go deep-sea fishing.

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While working as a waiter at a waterfront restaurant, I never fully appreciated the feeling tourists had when watching a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. I’d seen it before. I’d see it again tomorrow.

But, now since I am new to this part of the country, I get to experience the thrill of finding something new and special each day.

As someone who loves history, I find it cool being so close to historically significant places such as Norfolk, Williamsburg and Yorktown. For lifelong Virginians, the feeling may have long worn off, but to me, it’s still a thrill.

Since moving here, Nikki and I have tried to work in trips each weekend “exploring” the area and learning more about the place we now call home. We get a thrill of spending time in areas throughout Suffolk, Newport News, Virginia Beach and Smithfield.

Each time, we do our best not to look like those tourists, but can’t help it when we stop and read each historic marker and “ooh” and “ahh” at each neat shop or snap pictures at each location.

We can’t help it.

For those who have grown up in Suffolk and surrounding areas, the bloom is off the rose, as it were. I am sure each time they drive or walk by the Mr. Peanut statue they don’t even think twice about it.

Those who drive over the James River Bridge each day probably don’t even see the massive ships under construction or the others under renovation. But, for those of us who are new, forgive us if we rubberneck a little.

This area has a tremendous history — a history that is well known throughout the country and the world. It is something that should be fully embraced and celebrated at every chance.

For those who call this area home, the history here may be something you have taken for granted in the past, but let that end today. Just like the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico I took for granted for years, the history here is tremendous and unlike anything else you will ever experience.