THE SPECKTATOR

Thanks a Million

Gobble-gobble and grumble-grumble

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Kerry Speckman shares her unique perspective and observations on people, places and events on the First Coast and beyond. She's also the 2012 winner of Jacksonville Dancing With the Stars, so she's got that going for her.

Between the non-stop Black Friday ads and premature Christmas displays, it's easy for folks who don't work at Hallmark shops to forget about Thanksgiving. While I try to avoid traditional holidays celebrations (which reminds me, check out my blog next week to read about my commemoration of America Recycles Day!), Thanksgiving is one of the few I even acknowledge.

Of course, there's the all day gorgefest that usually starts with eggs Benedict and home fries for breakfast and ends with a midnight trip to the kitchen for leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, but there's something to be said for a day that encourages us to be grateful.

I am most appreciative for my friends and family and my health. I am also thankful to call Jacksonville home. I dedicate this post to everyone who complains about living on the First Coast—and remind them that moving is always an option.

1. One of the biggest complaints about Jacksonville is there's nothing to do. Clearly, these people have never opened a Folio Weekly (have you seen our calendar of events?); visited Jax Events', Downtown Jacksonville's or Visit Jacksonville's websites; or (shameless plug alert!) listened to my weekly events wrap-up on WJCT's First Coast Connect. There's always something to do if folks would stop complaining and start paying attention.

2. How many times have you heard someone bitch about Jacksonville traffic? Clearly, these people have never been to Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York City or Boston. People in live in those cities know traffic. As a matter of comparison, D.C. commuters spend an average of 67 hours a year sitting in traffic, while Jacksonville drivers are idle for 11 hours a year. In fact, we are ranked 45th in traffic congestion in the country.

3. I've never understood why people grumble about the humidity in Florida. Sure, it's unpleasant to start sweating two seconds after you walk outside inthe summer, not to mention drive in a sauna on wheels. But guess what? We have it pretty good. In fact, we aren't even close to being the most humid city in the country, according to The Weather Channel. That honor goes to—you guess it—Quillayute, Wash. with an annual average of relative humidity of 83.5 percent, followed by Mount Washington, NH at 83 percent and Astoria, Ore. at 78.5 percent. Jacksonville's is 53.

4. Speaking of weather, who isn't sick of it raining all of the time in the summer? Well, newsflash, our average annual rainfall of 52 inches is way below that New Orleans (64), Pensacola (65) and Mobile (67). Don't you fell "all wet" now?

Crime, education, parking Downtown, construction, the Jacksonville Jaguars ... I could go on ane on with the things I hear locals bitch about every day and have plenty of facts to "prove" that Jacksonville is a great place to live but there's no convincing haters. 

WIth that, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. And please feel free to complain about this post.

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