I saw a Canadian license plate in the last couple of days in September. Sure sign that the "snowbird season" was about to begin. First to arrive are the oldest and, or, the farthest north. We're happy to see them come, but like Cracker Bob always asks, "If it's "snowbird season" why can't we shoot them?"
He's kidding, really. He doesn't have a job that depends on them so he can make crude jokes but anyone who depends on the seasonal influx doesn't make those kind of jokes. Come to think of it, everyone really does depend on them.
If the weather predictors are correct, this is going to be a frigid winter up north and more people than usual are going to want to visit Southwest Florida. We are going to have a normal winter unlike last year's exceptionally warm weather. So my brother will get to experience a real January. I'm sure they will pack nothing but shorts and bathing suits because that was all they used last January.
Another prime indicator is the ramping up of the restaurant personnel. The Pukin' Pelican cleaned house, manager-wise. Out with the old 'Greasy Gracie' and in with the new one that no one still knows his name. Almost immediately two of our favorite bartenders put in their notices. "Why are you leaving," we asked them.
"Time to move on," was their replies. Then we remembered that this happens quite often around the beach. A new manager and new staff, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to the customers. We bond with the people we see every day. We learn about their foibles and their dreams and then they're gone. See you around they all say but we don't.
"Where did Sally go," Cleveland Jack asked the new manager. Time to move on he replied. "That's bogus," Jack replied, "where are you from?"
"Lower Wikiguber, Ohio," said the new manager, "but I've been down here nine months."
"He's okay," said 'Cuyahoga Hank.' People from O-H-I-O have to stick together because there are so few of them down here. But Jack reminded Hank that Sally was from O-H-I-O also. Our little group was thrown into a quandary. Should we support the newbie Ohionan or the one we've known since she was brought on board by the last manager from O-H-I-O.
"Sally worked hard all summer for short money and now that the Canadians are coming back and they'll be throwing around quarters like they were manhole covers, she's out of work. Ain't fair," I said.
"Have no fear. Every place will be hiring now. I'm sorry to see her go but there isn't anything else we can do because nobody here will listen to us," said Cleveland Jack.
The new manager overheard jack's remark and came back to our end of the bar. "I want to get your input. Anything your unhappy with, just let me know." We assured him that we would.
"Why did you guys take the chicken wings off the happy hour menu," I immediately asked? Several other outspoken members of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" came up with multiple questions and comments. The new manager was so taken aback that he almost bought us a round of beers but was called away at the last second.
"No more chicken wings? Probably the new 'chef's' idea," said 'Cleveland Jack'. We all nodded in agreement as a new bartender walked passed while tying on a new apron. "Probably Sally's replacement! He won't look as good as she did in that low cut-tied back t-shirt!"
'He's going to fit in better with the new sports scene theme. They'll probably dress him in a referee's uniform," said Boston Bob fallaciously. "Maybe he was a replacement ref?"
"The new sports bar theme is a bust as far as I'm concerned,' said Hank. "A couple more TV's don't make a Sports Bar. You need motive!"
"Motive? "What you talking motive," asked 'Gangsta Bruce. Hank corrected himself. He meant motif, a decor, theme and decoration scheme.
"They changed the menu the same day they put in the television sets. Most of the stuff don't fit on that kind of menu. Where are the brats and hot sausages and hot dogs? Chili cheese fries and stadium burgers," asked Cleveland Jack. "I don't want quiche and eggplant parmesan!"
"And wings on happy hour and game day menus," I said.
A handsome, intelligent individual interrupted our heated debate, "Excuse me are you the guy, boatguy, who writes stories in the newspaper," he asked. When I admitted I was the one who wasted his time, he continued telling me how much he liked all the strange characters I wrote about. He shook my hand and beat a hasty retreat when those strange characters glared at him.
"Well, do we have a personality here," asked the new manager back from the errand and forgetting the questions from before. I didn't answer the inane question because the rest of the club members drove him off with renewed inquiries.
Boatguy Ed is an avid boater, past Commodore of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" and manufacturer of the best bottom paint, Super Shipbottom, www.supershipbottom.com