Winter Texans or snowbirds have Best of Both Worlds Midwest and the Rio Grande Valley
Posted by Admin SATXProperty on Saturday, July 16th, 2011 at 10:58pm.
The Natural Snowbird Nesting Area
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Being a natural homebody and of the stubborn constitution which orders me to put on the big-girl panties and adjust to a situation which offers less than salubrious weather twelve months round . . . it would never occur to me to spend three months out of the year parked somewhere other than home sweet home. I am a creature of habit, to put it plain - and I actually appreciate seeing all the seasons straight through, noting how the direction of the sun setting along the horizon creeps through the degrees of change, and the color of the leaves. They're the most delightful, tender shade of green just now, did you notice? Then they will be a darker and richer shade, and then with the first cold in the fall, they will change again - gold, and bronze and certain ornamental maples will turn a deep red . . . well, anyway, I like all that stuff.
And when I lived in a place with four distinct seasons, even winter has charms. Christmas lights reflecting at twilight on deep drifts of snow, the sound of snow falling in heavy flakes (it makes a kind of barely perceptible rustle), how your boots squeak when walking over it after a fresh fall, and the eerily brilliant way that snow on the ground and an overcast of clouds with a full moon behind makes everything appear surreally bright and shadow-less . . . yes, winter does have charms. I liked it, anyway. Although such charms are considerably diminished by having to shovel three or four feet of snow out of your drive on Monday morning, just to be able to get to work . . . and breaking something essential like a hip, by slipping on a patch of ice as slick as polished glass . . . no, not fun. So I can sympathize with citizens of the upper-middle West, of a certain age and possessed of a level of income which allows them to flee with all dispatch, south to more salubrious climes. And so they do, and have for decades. The southernmost states - California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and points east - are natural nesting sites, the winter terminus for the flight of snow-birds.
I spend a weekend in one of the most southerly, in the Rio Grande Valley, along the McAllen-Pharr-Harlingen axis, where it seemed that there was an RV park full of license-plates from Minnesota, Kansas and Iowa for every palm tree along Route 83. It was an oddly serene weekend, kind of like spending 48 hours straight at a Lutheran Church pot-luck. There was one madly adventurous day trip across the border, to Nuevo Progresso. Food featured highly, also trivial gossip about mutual acquaintances and the scent of orange and grapefruit blossoms, borne on a mild spring breeze.
Palm trees, like enormous up-ended feather dusters were everywhere, along with citrus trees. I came home with a huge plastic bag full of grapefruit, picked off the trees in the RV park, which was the regular nesting ground of the friends of my friend - just like when I was growing up, and everyone had orange and lemon trees in the back yard, trees which fruited so generously there was always an accumulation of windfalls, rotting on the ground. Well into my thirties, my reflexive reaction to needing an orange or a lemon was to go into the backyard and pick one off the tree - why go and buy them, when they grew like weeds, everywhere?
One of the amusing tee-shirts spotted said essentially "The Best of Both Worlds - Midwest & The Valley". The only downside from my point of view was that the restaurants on both sides of the border - every one that I ate at, the whole weekend long - had blanded down the food, almost to the point where the salsa was as mild as ketchup. Someday, we should tell the snowbirds about jalapeno peppers . . .
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