Thursday, May 5, 2016


A snow bird is a nickname for the dark-eyed junco. The junco has affectionately been called the "snowbird" because huge numbers migrate south in the winter from higher latitudes into much of the United States as the snow begins to fall.

 However, we have generally used the term "snowbird" for people who move from northern colder climates and migrate southward to warmer locales such as Florida, Arizona, Mexico,etc!  The majority of "snowbirds" are between the ages of 50 and 69.

I can't really claim I am from a northern climate-- but I claim Northern California as my home and I am between the ages of 50 and 69!! Does that make me a "snowbird".  Whatever!! So when I was invited to join a flock of "birds" in Florida I spread my wings and flew!!

Somewhere in my dim and mystic past, I remember visiting Florida several times.  About all I remember was that it was hot and humid and couldn't understand why people would flock there.  I expected to get off the plane and be greeted by warm steamy weather giving me an instant friz.  So I was surprised in so many ways!

I indeed received a warm welcome, not from the weather but from my host, Kathy. She greeted me like a celebrity with poster, fans and media!  (Actually, the media and fans were waiting for the local winning sport team to arrive!)

Our destination was Amelia Island, the northeast corner of the state. The weather was perfect my whole visit, making me understand why there is a mass migration to Florida in the winter.  Not only was the weather outstanding, but the residents were warm and welcoming.  I made so many friends the first day.

Amelia Island is a jewel in the "Sea Island" chain of  barrier islands off the East coast. It is "easy to reach but hard to forget". A beautiful island with a lot of history.  I was in for an unforgettable experience.  Kathy has been a long time resident of the area so nothing like a seasoned tour guide. We biked the Amelia Island Trail--a lovely paved tree-lined trail that stretches through the Island. I didn't get tired of biking the "canopy" roads .  There were walks and lounging on the beach and strolls down the historic streets of Fernandina Beach with the oldest saloon and old mansions. 

 I did take a little side tour of the oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine. It was settled over 450 years ago. History is brilliantly on display in St. Augustine. From the coquina walls of its forts and city gates to its brick-lined streets. Again with a seasoned tour guide and driver Fred, Kathy's husband.  What a difference it makes when you have someone who can relate stories of the history that go along with the ancient landmarks.


So to just sum it all up--I loved my "snowbird" experience and hope to do it again. It was one of the most relaxing and "renewing" vacations I've had!

 I have to give a shout-out to my hostess with the mostest-- Kathy.
Kathy and I were linked by the Lymphoma Foundation over 15 years ago by their "Cell Buddy" support network. We had met at some of the LRF conferences. But mostly over the years, we have been email buddies. So this visit was very special for both us in many ways.  We are both "survivors" and thriving and enjoying life so much.  Kathy is a real champion in managing lymphoma. This visit I witnessed what a kind and generous soul she is.  What a gift was given to me years ago with by that link! (Thank you Izumi at LFR!) 

"Each friend represents a world in us,
 a world possibly not born until they arrive, 
and it is only by this meeting 
that a new world is born.”
Anaïs Nin




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