Advice to Senior Citizens Wintering in Deep South Texas


February is drawing to a close and so is another season for the hundreds of thousands that flee their northern homes to escape the brunt of winter.  The migrating herd consists primarily of retirees, farmers, or seasonal workers from the northern US, as well as Canada.  The Country’s southern most states, boasting tropical weather year round, know these creatures as Snowbirds, Silverhairs, Old Farts, Cheapskates, Yankees, Damn Yankees, or  Oh My God, Thooose People!  Down here in the Rio Grande Valley they are known as Winter Texans.  And boy do they come!

I live on an island right off the southern-most tip of Texas that attracts Winter Texans from mostly Mid-Western States and the Canadian Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.  Winter Texans (WTs) start to trickle in by mid-October, reaching their peak influx after Christmas.   As the months of January and February are generally considered off-season for tourism, these migrating seniors virtually have the whole place to themselves.  More than a few hotels, condos, bars and restaurants find themselves beholden to the WT’s dimes and nickels (literally) during the lean winter months.  This economic arrangement has been going on for many years; however, somewhere along the way, many of the WTs developed a sense of entitlement, forgot their visitor status, and began to gnaw the hands (or tits) that  patiently feed them.  Many of the WTs have formed temporary winter herds in an attempt to monopolize prime grazing lands.  Other aggressive herds are beginning to bully landowners into special concessions by threatening boycott.  As with most good things, a few (well more than a few) are threatening to ruin everything for all.

In the interest of better relations for those returning next year and a fresh beginning for prospective Snowbirds and/or Winter Texans, I offer the following advice:

  • You are more than welcome with the understanding that since you checked out of society, a thing called marketing was perfected.  You can easily be replaced with a better model.
  • Permanent residents are nice to you for two reasons: one, you are nice to them and two, you spend a significant amount of the money hiding in your clothing.
  • If you were diagnosed with macular degeneration in your home state, you will still have it when you come south.  Sub-tropical climates will not cure blindness.
  • If you have been a mean, nasty, grumpy old fart all of your life, retirement will not  improve your attitude.  Stay home and continue to piss off those that currently put up with you.
  • Embrace the culture and customs of the place you visit.  Try new things.  Going to a Denny’s restaurant with a palm tree out front does not an exotic vacation make.
  • Be aware that nobody here gives a damn if there’s three feet of snow in Bumfuck, Iowa.  That’s why we are here.
  • Take some time to talk to someone under the age of 65.  You may be surprised to find that younger people are neither violent nor morally bankrupt.   You might even learn something from them.
  • Many of you, by virtue of advanced age and saving every dollar ever made, are quite wealthy.  You are old now and will die soon.  Don’t be afraid to spend some cash.  Your children do not deserve all of it.
  • Tip your bartender and wait staff.  Tip them 20%.  No exceptions.  If you receive less than good service, it’s probably because you are either an asshole or a bad tipper!  Tip 20% and I guarantee better service is in your future.
  • The cost of living rises here just like where you are from.  Accept it, stop bitching, or stay home.
  • Driving 15 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone is not acceptable.  Would anyone dream of driving 35 in a 70 mph zone?  If you did you’d already be dead by now.  Drive or get out-of-the-way.
  • Pick up your dog’s shit.  While this may not be a practice at your little house on the prairie, it is down here in paradise.
  • Limit travel in packs. You will be better received.  Think back when you were younger and saw a school bus full of screaming kids pull in.  Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
  • And finally for all the old guys,  speedos are never, ever to be worn under any circumstance.

Hopefully this advice will be helpful.  Y’all come see us again now,  y’hear!


About Phil

Hi, my name is Phil. I’ve managed to escape the corporate world, rid myself of excess belongings, travel the country extensively in my old Winnebago, and find a new home on a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. I define myself as: a free spirit, a writer, a philosophical anarchist, a poet; a lover of nature, a lover of art, a protector of animals, as well as a devoted friend and partner
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