Monday, November 16, 2009


It is that time of year.

The folks who can, leave the cold of the northeast and head to the warmer climes of Florida for the winter or an extended visit. The permanent residents of Florida call them "snowbirds."

Thousands of people head south in trains and rarely drive the distance from Virginia to Florida. The auto-train is the preferred method of transportation if you are taking your car with you. I went down twice on the auto-train. Once to give a speech and then visit friends and the other time to get out of the cold for two weeks. My experience led to the following poetic ditty.

© 2008 Rolland G. Smith

Quilted coats, shuffled steps and canes
Are what you find on South bound trains.
The halt, the lame, the elderly
The ill, the weak, and crotchety
Are Florida bound in cubby holes
With all their flaws and hairy moles.

Snowbirds they’re called without respect.
They flock to Florida’s warmth prospect.
If you are younger and can watch
Count the wrinkles, connect the blotch,
And you will see where you may be
Before they site your eulogy.

It is with respect that I acknowledge the elder in others and within myself and I understand just how close I am to the poetic expression of my words. The only counsel I would give all who call themselves or see themselves or know themselves to be elderly is to smile, laugh, tease the young and throw your healthful caution to the wind for it will carry you to places of wonder that cannot be seen or experienced in the morning light of youth.

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