In the beginning, according to the 'word' of the winter season, the first chill drives the snowbirds south. They begin to arrive in October and the majority are in Florida by Nov. 1st. They aren't as bad as locusts or starlings but there are similarities. They make high frequency chirps and cluster in moveable groups.
You'd be mistaken if you think that description means I don't like them. Some of my best friends are snowbirds. My problem with them stems from the interruptions they bring. They disrupt the everyday cycle of year-round life. Point in fact, there are three notices, three count them, three, for potluck dinners hung on the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" bulletin board as I write this. There hasn't been a potluck dinner announcement on that bulletin board for six months.
Yes, many of the year-round members of the club and I hate potluck dinners because nobody brings anything worth eating. These gatherings also get in the way of the pleasure of boating. They coincide with the return from fishing trips and pleasant stops at happy hour celebrations. Come to think of it, that might indicate a conspiracy by the abstinent to interrupt the enjoyment of the non-abstinent.
During the last officially sanctioned "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" potluck dinner I attended several years ago, an abstinent member described to me in excruciatingly detail, the building of a wooden baby cradle. All I did was ask what he did that previous summer. He even followed me over to the bar, where I was searching for a glass of Hemlock. I finally escaped when his third serving of French onion Green beans casserole pitted his swiftness of foot with their agenda to escape.
Even at the 'Pukin' Pelican' there are potluck dinners of sort. That's when a group of non-abstinent members convince a group of abstinent members to hold their welcome back party in a restaurant. They gather together every available table and line them up, usually blocking the egress to the bathrooms. They separate into sexes with men at one end and women at the other. The women exchange antidotes about summer before sliding into their favorite subject, those no-good kids or no-good grandkids.
The arrival of snowbirds have changed the menu at the 'Pukin' Pelican' over the last month. Gone are the low priced summer specials replaced by higher dollar items. It's a trend that is sweeping some of the waterfront restaurants. Worse yet, some of the happy hours are changing. There is an unconfirmed rumor that Doc Ford's will be shortening their happy hour in the winter as has others already done. I'll miss Doc's great $6 happy hour appetizers and reduced price beer most days because I still fish and work.
Restaurants have to make lots of money in the winter because they can't make enough money off us cheap year-rounders in the summer. A developing restaurant trend towards closing all or part of their biz over the summer is disappointing.
The Fish Monger Seafood Restaurant just re-opened Oct. 1 after a summer hiatus. I actually had to suspend my 'catch and release' policy and cook the keepers just to get that fresh Fish Monger taste. They unload their own boats, don't you know. Mary is back tending bar on Wednesday night and making her homemade deserts. More news: Owners Mary and Nick are now grandparents. See pics on their website.
The Big Game Waterfront Grill closed the main bar last summer but kept open the Sunset Bar. All of Big Game has a great waterfront view but the SS bar is fantastic especially when Christina is working. Their main bar is surrounded by televisions so it is packed during football. I am sure that they and others are ecstatic that the snowbirds are back. Our club is, too, now we can collect the back dues from the forgetful members.
Mrs. boatguy likes abstinent and non-abstinent people. She is tolerates the complaining about the kids and thinks some of it comes after the third 'cosmopolitan.' But that doesn't explain the abstinent grandmother's griping.
Many of the snowbirds return to their winter abodes for the Thanksgiving holidays. The ones that don't go north bring the families down to be with them at maudlin holiday potluck dinners. Two years ago it took a month to get the crayon drawings off the clubhouse floor. But we love the little tykes, grand, they are.
Speaking of grand, another month of college football, two and a half of professional football, now pro basketball and there is no hockey. Who could ask for more? Now the Bayside Grill is the Browns backers meeting spot so Sundays are full of O-H-I-O people as well as Saturdays. Much more crowded but at least the Bayside still has their daily specials and great prices on beer.
I don't know why am I doing this? I won't be able to get into Club Mary's (Fish Monger) on Wednesdays or the Bayside most days and there won't be a seat available at the Big Games Sunset Bar, either. I should keep my mouth shut. Well there's always the 'Pukin' Pelican!'
Thank goodness the election is over. I voted for the winner, did you?
Boatguy Ed is an avid boater, past Commodore of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" (like them on Facebook) and manufacturer of Super Shipbottom Anti-fouling Paint (www.supershipbottom.com) the best paint for everywhere. Send questions and comments to boatguiEd@aol.com. Remember, never try to buy him a beer or in this case, accost him!