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My grandparents became snowbirds after they retired from teaching, and were finally able to escape the worst part about living in Minnesota – the winters. For those of you who don’t know what the term Snowbird is, it refers to the people who fly/drive/go south in the winter and then come back up north in the summer. They wintered a few times in Arizona when I was really young and then made Florida their winter home somewhere in the early years of my elementary days. I took my first trip to Florida when I was a year old, and then again when I was in 2nd grade. That was my first spring break at Carefree Country Club.
My sister and I continued to visit our grandparents and Carefree with our mom every spring, and dealt with countless jokes from friends about how our spring break was spent in a place where the minimum age to live there is 55. But we were happy – we had sunshine, a pool, card games with our grandparents, and plenty of books to read. We always came home with plenty of freckles and a few tan lines.
Since high school, the trips to Florida changed a little – Erica and I each took a friend with us once, and Erica and Tony have gone together a few times. But still – driving through the gates to Carefree kind of feels like coming home again. After spending a total of 14+ weeks there, it’s like a home away from home.
This year, Matt is up to his ears in school work at both CLC and St. Scholastica. Erica is in her 2nd tri at Chiropractic school, and Tony is working full time. So, when my parents decided to visit grandma and grandpa in Florida this spring, I decided to go too. The beauty of being a photographer in Minnesota is that while the summers have little opportunities for free time, the winters are usually full of downtime and respite.
I was not disappointed, in the least.
I have a delicate equilibrium which has made me the designated backpack holder whenever I visit an amusement park. You know, the person who can’t go on rides/hates rides, and so they sit on the bench holding everyone else’s bags, getting sunburnt while the rest ride the rides? Yeah, that’s me! [That was exactly what happened one year in Junior High at Valley Fair.]
If one day we call a year-round warm place Home, I am visiting a local farmers market or flea market weekly to buy our produce. What a novelty that would be!