Decades After I Came To Florida, I’m A Snowbird


This is the year. After living half my life in the North and half my life in the South, I have come to the conclusion that these snowbirds may be on to something. So, I’m going to try it out. And this is the year.

I stumbled upon snowbirdism by accident. When I moved to Florida, I was unfamiliar with the phenomenon because I was raised in Wisconsin and nobody ever leaves Wisconsin. People say it’s cold, but, as the wife of Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers once said, “Do you not own a jacket?”

I ended up in Florida accidentally when my first husband, a New Yorker, asked if I wanted to come here. (New Yorkers spend a lot of time in Florida when you compare them to Wisconsinites.) Anyway, I thought he meant for a vacation, and that is what he was hoping I thought he meant. And it’s not as if I had belongings. I was 22. So I packed my little suitcase and off I went.

Then came work and kids and, once the kids arrived, they had friends they were not willing to leave, even though I had a husband whom I was leaving. So I ended up in Florida for most of my life. Turns out there are nice things in Florida, in addition to the weather. I am speaking, of course, of Walt Disney World and its resident discount. The kids had their friends, and I had Mickey Mouse.

But then one of the kids produced grandchildren and, in order that those grandchildren were able to identify all the Disney characters at a glance and were able to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” by age 4, I moved back North to be near them.

The winters didn’t seem as cold anymore (they certainly weren’t as damp as in the South) but suddenly I had a new enemy — ice. The first time I slipped, I caught myself just before going splat on the concrete steps. I thought, “Hey! I could do some real damage here.”

And the snowbird idea was born. Well, the idea of spending winters in the South was first invented by rich New Yorkers whose lead was quickly followed by birds themselves.

At any rate, having spent most of my adult life surrounded by people who earn pots of money up North and then spend some of that money getting to the South, I have decided that’s the way to do things. The only difference is, I don’t have pots of money. I screwed up that part. But it turns out the sun shines brightest on the most disadvantaged, as evidenced by the awesome tans on hitchhikers.

Long story short, I am here now and, come spring, I will pack my little suitcase and be gone again. I’ll do that for as long as it makes sense to do it.

Worst case scenario — the money runs out. And if that happens, I’ll get me one awesome tan.