In the midst of snowbirds down southPublished 11:24am Thursday, February 20, 2014
Click here to subscribe and skip the survey.
Thoughts of Washington and Lincoln, I’m sorry to say, were not crossing my mind as I made plans to celebrate Presidents’ Day last Monday. Instead we made a weekend of it, ours and two other families, and headed to Gulf Shores for some off-season fun.
My husband compared the village of condos where we stayed to a ghost town, and there are definite advantages to that. Low rates. No wait for the tennis courts. Low rates. Beaches wide open. Low rates.
Sitting there in the sand, wearing a winter coat, I tried to imagine the life of the beachcombers passing along the water’s edge. The majority appeared to be snowbirds, and if they happened to stop for a chat, well, their northern accents were sure to confirm it. Mostly they were amblers, but a few jogged, and one pair walked their matching poodles.
“So this is it,” I found myself thinking. “This is where a solid 401K will get you – walking your dogs on a beach a thousand miles away from your home, your community, and all your loved ones for six months out of the year.”
Carrying a scooper.
I confess. Shoveling snow must be harder than I realized.
Sunday morning rolled around, and 14 of us piled into an unsuspecting Shell Banks Baptist Church, where we took up half of the pews. During a meet-and-greet time one of the guys in our party, who happens to live near Birmingham, reached over to shake the hand of a man sitting next to my son.
“You know, you sure do look like our governor,” my friend remarked.
“I get that a lot,” the dignified gentleman replied with a smile. He paused a moment, then added, “Probably because I am.”
Sure enough, there in the midst of a congregation of what I thought for certain was a bunch of snowbirds, was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. Evidently snow isn’t the only motivation for escape.
At least I had one thing right – he is a retiree. Bentley enjoyed a successful medical practice before accepting the role of state leader. I was interested to learn, however, that one thing he hasn’t accepted since landing the job is a paycheck.
When elected in 2010, Gov. Bentley promised he wouldn’t receive a salary until Alabama reached full employment (5.2 percent). Fortunately for all involved, the state is getting closer to that point every day.
So while some of his contemporaries are out collecting seashells, this man in the crisp white shirt is busy collecting votes. At 71, Bentley is running for re-election.
In keeping with the holiday, I wondered what Washington would have to say about this governor and those like him who choose to use the knowledge that comes with age (and gray hair, according to Proverbs 16:31) to serve others.
As for what he’d have to say about being leashed to look-a-like poodles? Well, I guess I’ll save that to ponder some other Presidents’ Day.
Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.