Goodbye, Winter

Tulip Festival 16

Holland Tulip Festival, May 2016

This week, one of the foxes asked, “What is your favorite sign of spring?”

I enjoy all the usual signs – warmer weather, green grass (we enjoy it while we can, because a lot of it turns brown by the end of the summer), flowers blooming, and wearing a lighter wardrobe. I enjoy having clear roads to drive on. Since I’m still working on a school schedule, I look forward to spring break, which is next week. But as a senior citizen who interacts with other seniors in several different groups, I’ve found one other significant event that signals spring here in Michigan:

The return of the Snowbirds.

For those of you living in warmer climates, a snowbird is someone who goes south in the winter to avoid the nasty weather we have here. Some go for a few weeks at a time, while others have second homes they live in for up to five months each year. Many of these are mobile homes, although several of my friends drive popup campers or motor homes. Still others have children who have moved south to find better jobs, so they’re able to stay with family. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to pack up and go away for a few months. For several years, my parents traveled to their time share condo Kissemmee, Florida at the end of January and would stay on until March, visiting several of their friends. After my dad passed, mom didn’t go anywhere for several years until my brother in North Carolina convinced her to fly down to visit him for a month. He lives near the ocean in Wilmington, NC, and she seemed to enjoy it.

I always thought I’d be a snowbird by now, but times have changed. My husband doesn’t like to travel, so I keep busy with various writers associations, performance groups, sewing circles, and of course, teaching. Other family commitments also keep me here. But every fall, the numbers in my organizations, especially the sewing groups, starts to dwindle. People leave for warmer places, and we trudge on without them. And we grumble when they post pictures of themselves in t-shirts and shorts, having to wear hats to shield against the sun.

Eventually, the snow melts away, and people start to return. The number of my high school friends meeting for brunch rises. The tables at the church quilting group are filled. The community band gets a bigger, more resonant sound. By the middle of April or beginning of May, everyone is back. And life gets back to normal, whatever that is.

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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9 Responses to Goodbye, Winter

  1. Joselyn says:

    So many people around here leave. A lot of our groups get pretty slim between December and March.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jeff7salter says:

    with your busy schedule, it would seem nearly impossible to be a snowbird.
    In fact, you’d probably find that several of your colleagues and friends in all those organizations would file an injunction to KEEP you in MI.


  3. It seems that the snowbirds really affect your community. I know there are people here who go south for the winter but I do not personally know any. There is one business in town that closes in the winter because the owners are snowbirds. I’ll probably talk more about that tomorrow.

    Flooding is something that we deal with a lot here too. Luckily, it isn’t covering roads here yet.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      The weatherman says this year’s flooding isn’t quite as bad as it was a few years ago. Still, it’s a nuisance to have to plan alternate routes to get places all the time.


  4. Guilty as charged, Patricia. Rich and I will be in Florida for 6 weeks this year. I vacillate between feeling guilty because everyone can’t escape like we have, and pinching myself because I’m in such beautiful weather. I’ll spare you the pictures. I never thought I’d be a snowbird, but I could get used to this


  5. Ah, yes, the snowbirds. We just talked about them, but it never occurred to me that you must lose members of your groups! I have never lived where that was a problem; in Colorado, people liked winter weather; in Idaho, they were people who moved there purposely and stayed, Navy families who had no choice and were going soon enough, or mostly the Mormons, who were going nowhere away form their businesses and farms.


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