"I want to write a story about snowbirds," I announced.
"Isn't it the wrong time of year?" my husband replied, bewildered.
"No, it's the perfect time of year. Now is when they are returning," I said.
"Oh, you mean snow geese," he responded, convinced he knew what I meant.
"No, I mean snowbirds – the kind that go south every winter and return north in May," I answered.
"Oh, the human kind," he said, enlightened.
This is a story about snowbirds.
I must admit, I'm a little envious of snowbirds, no, make that very envious.
It really gets me the way they kick up their heels at the first hint of cold air and head south with their fifth wheels in tow.
To me, it's not fair that anyone can go ahead and skip winter and then come back and brag about it in May.
Is it my imagination or do snowbirds pretend that winter really doesn't exist? The closest they get to cold weather is when they have to listen to the rest of us moan and groan about how winter takes us hostage for nearly six months.
I don't know about you, but I think snowbirds have a way of rubbing it in. "Snow. What's that?" one says with a sarcastic glance. "I don't own a winter coat," one brags with a swagger. "Gave them all away since I began wintering on South Padre Island."
In my book, snowbirds have it made. For heaven's sake, they live in summer-like climates year-round, they don't have an arthritic bone in their bodies and they wrap themselves in the security of knowing that they've left behind slipping and sliding, shoveling, scooping and scraping.
Ah, snowbirds…When I observe their perpetual tans and see them head south from Manitoba, Minnesota, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and other places, my heart sends out a perennial appeal, "Take me, take me, I beg of you. Please don't leave me behind to sojourn through another frigid winter." But to no avail, my pleas go unanswered.
Basking in a bubble of mild temperatures through November, December, January, February, March and April, snowbirds don't seem to possess the slightest tinge of guilt over their escape. Is it my imagination or do they look healthier, maybe even younger than the rest of us?
Now, as snowbirds return from a "tough hard winter" in the Sunbelt, they are making me crazy with comments like "Fifty-three degrees? Brrrrr!" [Oh, ple-e-ease.]
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took first-place statewide. To contact Paula, email email@example.com, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2010© Paula Damon