Adventures on West Washington Street

Published 7:51 pm Saturday, July 12, 2014

By Dennis Edwards

If variety is the spice of life, then adventure has to be its main course. The kind of exciting exploit I’m talking about has nothing to do with bungee jumping or white water rafting. It has everything to do with the adventure that is life itself.

I’m talking about the willingness Kipling describes in his fascinating poem “If.” “If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss.”

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That’s the kind of exploration of unknown territory I’m talking about. The kind that defines us, that comes out of the best of who we are, that drives us to become better than we thought possible. Lofty expectations, aren’t they? Well, maybe, but these adventures aren’t always rare. Maybe we create them in life or take advantage when they come along. Or perhaps they are simply the evidence of dreams executed every day on the streets of Suffolk.

Defining adventures are underway in downtown Suffolk right now. The latest is playing out in the 200 block of West Washington Street. It’s a charming little spot called “Cosmic Pizza and Wings.” Ralph Nahra, Kyle Tierney and their staff have combined efforts to bring a unique specialty pizza experience to the west side of town just weeks before Kyle’s planned marriage.

What a magnificent pressure! The kind that makes life worth living. Right now Tierney and the young partners who make up the city’s newest law firm may wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into. Bush and Taylor is as new to Suffolk as new can get. Justin Bush and Fred Taylor are men with young families taking advantage of an opportunity most would fear. They’re seizing a moment, acting on a dream and, whether they know it or not, probably having the time of their lives.

How can you say that with so much at risk? What’s so good about struggling or making it day by day? How do you justify the worry and the wondering? You just do it! My guess is they’ll never be more alive in life than now. These are their good old days. These times are defining and redefining them, forging iron friendships and strengthening marriages through the kind of challenges that bind people together for life.

If they can believe in downtown Suffolk, why can’t we? If they can invest the best of their time and talent here, why can’t we?

They aren’t alone. Over on Main Street there’s Harper Bradshaw’s Harper’s Table, Ed Beardsley’s  Plaid Turnip, Randy Withers and Valerie Morrison’s C3 Vino, LaTroy Brinkley’s Serendipity Hair Salon, Susan Glover’s Susan’s Bakery and Café and Karen and William James’ All About Virginia store.

Add to their presence more than 67 loft apartments already under construction, and exciting vision is everywhere. The broader view includes plans for a state of the art downtown library and satellite community college campus for Paul D. Camp, all just a few doors down from Cosmic Pizza.

What I like about these businesses is how they give downtown a quaint uniqueness, the kind of place you want to walk around.

Does all that come with stress, strain, risk and worry?  Of course it does. Will these men and women wonder whether it will happen as it should? Of course they will. But in the process they are becoming more than they thought they could be and they’re carrying our hometown right along with them.

Were Kipling somewhere in the shadows he’d use the language of his day to remind us how it will all get done. “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the earth and everything that’s in it. And what is more, you’ll be a man my son.”

Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor, He is a 1974 graduate of Suffolk High School. Email him at