Each winter, Florida’s warmth beckons baseball teams and snowbirds. We went south to visit my snowbird brother and cousins. Approaching my brother’s RV park, I texted an explanation for our late arrival, “Hitting noonday traffic.”
“They call it snowbird traffic down here.” he replied. Passing one full RV park after another, I could only imagine the population difference between January and July. Last year Mel and Deanna spent a month in Florida renewing acquaintances with folks they knew from New York. This year they will stay and play for three months when Florida is hopping. The popular restaurant we visited at 2 p.m. had a waiting time of 10 minutes. By the time we left, a line had formed.
“We hit the slow time,” Mel winked.
Two days later, we watched the professional snowbirds play during a spring training baseball game. “Looks like it won’t rain after all,” we said thinking of the day’s forecast of thunderstorms.
We spoke too soon. The game ended in the seventh inning due to rain.
For meals and migration snowbirds fly together. As March wanes, my brother will push in his RV slides and join the migration back to New York. Cousin Sheila and her husband Butch leave before Thanksgiving and stay until April.
Sheila and I strolled around their mobile park. I listened as she pointed to trailers, “He comes from Canada every winter.” and “They live here year round.” “She has been in the hospital a lot this year.”
At the restaurant, folks from her home town spotted her and stopped at our table to catch up on the news. This year she talks about her growing collection of figurines reflecting life back home. Little porcelain dogs and people line their trailer windows, tables and shelves. Some will stay in Florida, others she will take to New York.
And then there are the snowbirds who came and stayed. My cousin Donna left New York years ago to settle in Florida. She and Bob had settled happily into their retirement home when a friend asked them to look at a house about to go on the market.
“We aren’t looking. We like it here,” they protested.
“Just come and look at it.”
“We walked in and through the living room I could see the view on the lanai and I said, ‘I want it,’” Bob recalled. The house had been built half a dozen years before for other snowbirds who rarely returned, “I think the microwave had been used once,” Donna said.
I loved their lanai with its collection of colorful toucans, Bird of Paradise floral arrangements and live plants just outside the screen. Their other collectibles fill the shelves and neatly line high ledges. “Our collection of world globes began with this little metal bank,” Donna pointed up at the long ledge filled with carefully arranged and dusted classroom sized globes and banks in every color and size.
Bob pointed out his complete collections of favorite authors and said, “I read six books a month.”
I guess that included the books in his Marilyn Monroe collection that he began many years ago. I doubt that Donna counts it as a collection, but near her completely furnished doll houses she showed me six fat notebooks filled with pages of pictures taken through the years with people identified and events noted. We enjoyed seeing their collections and visiting them after so many years.
Hours later, we left this last snowbird’s home having added one more memory to our collection of visits with family.