This past weekend, I was visited by long time best friends from San Antonio, Texas. It had been many years since they visited our area. Of course, I could not wait to show them around in order for them to see the many things that have changed in the last 10-plus years since their last visit.
First of all, the retail development — stores, restaurants, etc. — we have experienced is “off of the charts!” They could not believe it! Simply put, the pasture land and cotton fields in both north Bossier City and Southeast Shreveport have been turned into major retail developments with more currently in various stages development right now…and much more on the immediate horizon. I heard repeated and enthusiastic “wows” every time that I would show them something new.
Secondly, the hotels and casinos. I think they visited them all and by the end of their trip. In short, they were very close to becoming “Parrotheads” by the time they left town on Saturday morning. Also, there were quite a few comments made about our road/transportation systems and the ease of access in which we have to almost anywhere that you want/need to go with very little driving time involved. Well, it easy most of the time I told them… you just need to be sure not to be on Airline Drive or Benton Rd. headed north after about 2pm on Fridays (and most any afternoon between 4-6:30 p.m.). However, like I have pointed out in past columns, what a GREAT problem to have!
Finally, we got to visit the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on South Arthur Ray Teague Parkway last Friday afternoon. This is something that I have long wanted to do and I am ashamed to say something that I had never done before last Friday. My friends and I were amazed. My friend’s wife teaches 5th grade in San Antonio and her class is currently studying Wetlands. So, that is one of the main reasons that I took them there. She found everything that she needed to take back and share with her class. What a real treasure this facility is to have in our midst.
So, upon my friends leaving town on Saturday, I began to think about all that we got to do and also all that we got to see around here in just a few short days. I began to be somewhat amazed myself. Actually, I think that maybe we sometimes take it somewhat for granted or in fact, do not fully realize or appreciate all of the positive activity going on here right in front of our noses.
In reality, we are exposed to all of the activity repeatedly each and every day. In a way, we are too close to it. However, to see our positive growth through someone else’s eyes and to repeatedly hear both their amazement and appreciation for all that we have going on here in our area adds a totally different perspective and even an enhanced appreciation from my point of view (and I feel that I already appreciated it a great deal, as I have also duly noted in past columns).
I now have a new appreciation for the activity boom and growth that we are experiencing in our area. And truthfully, I was very proud when my friends said upon leaving, “You know, Randy, you have a great hometown, we were glad to visit, we can’t wait to return and really, we are now thinking that this would be a great place to retire in a few years.” To me, that says it all!
I think it is easy for us to lose sight of all that we have going on in our area and right in front of us. We are now used seeing it constantly. Thus, it begins to lose its freshness and appeal from a day-in day-out standpoint. However, to see our positive growth through someone else’s eyes, especially when they have not been here for quite a while, adds an entirely new dimension, respect and appreciation.
Let’s continually be proud of what we have going on here in our area— appreciate it, live it, promote it!
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org