This post was run on December 8th, 2014. We were living on the coast then, and now that we are in a more citified environment, we don’t see many Winter Texans. However, I’m sure this list would still be handy to those living by the Gulf.
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This week’s top ten list is inspired by the fact that we on the South Texas coast are in the process of the annual migration of the northerners, which we call Winter Texans. We like to be friendly to those who choose to winter over here, but it is sometimes tricky. Not all the temporary Texans are the kind of people you want in the community, but since it is almost impossible to weed out the less desirable, we have to take the bad with the good. Interestingly, most of these people are retired, and one would think they learned something in their sixty-five-plus years on this Earth. Since you are not a Winter Texan, I hope you enjoy the list. If you are, then see if it applies to you.
Top Ten Things Not to Do as a Winter Texan
10 If you are a Winter Texan, do not drive your fifth wheel and trailer at forty miles per hour in a sixty-mile speed zone on the main two-lane road. If you do, at best, you may have to put up with the glares and tailgating of those trying to get around you. At worst, you could cause some hothead to take unnecessary risks trying to pass with possible tragic results.
9 If you are a winter Texan, do not fail to respond to a local greeting of “Good Morning.” If you do, at best, the locals will take note of your state and never visit there. At worst, you will convince all locals who come into contact with you that Winter Texans should be avoided and unfriendly. (We Texans put a lot of stock in returned kindness and Good morning is the least of kindnesses)
8 If you are a Winter Texan on a fixed income, do not help yourself to the salt & pepper shakers and sugar packets when you visit a restaurant. If you do, at best, the next person will have to do without. At worst, you will convince the local restaurateur to keep all condiments behind the counter for on-demand use creating an environment of inconvenience for others.
7 If you are a Winter Texan, and want to fish, do not fail to get a license. If you do, at best, you will not contribute to the preservation of coastal fishing that fees provide. At worst, you could find yourself handcuffed over the hood of a Wildlife Ranger’s truck which will be the beginning of a very annoying process that could mean spending some portion of your golden years in jail.
6 If you are a winter Texan, do not go over the catch limits. If you do, at best, you will contribute to declining numbers of certain species. At worst, you could end up like number seven.
5 If you are a Winter Texan, do not allow your dogs or yourself to use the beach as a private outhouse. If you do, at best, you will be contributing to polluting the environment. At worst, you will be breaking the law and could find yourself fined for littering or arrested for indecent exposure. You would have to admit the sight of an unclothed senior citizen would indeed be indecent.
4 If you are a Winter Texan shopping at the local stores, do not slip items into your farm overalls and then forget about them. If you do, at best, you will contribute to higher retail prices to cover shrinkage. At worst, your pants may let go just as you pass the town constable, and the unavoidable noise of products hitting the floor may be too much to ignore, not to mention the view of those “greatest grandparent” boxers.
3 If you are a Winter Texan, do not try to build the biggest bonfire on the beach. If you do, at best, you will need to stay up all night to watch it. At worst, you neglect to stay up all night to watch it, sparks from your conflagration jump to the dunes, and you are responsible for wiping out the west side of town.
2 If you are a Winter Texan, do not drive your dual-wheel pickup near the waterline. If you do, at best, you will contribute to the demise of delicate creatures who come in contact with your heavy tires. At worst, you may start an ecosystem chain reaction that could cause the abandonment of the area by those animals and birds that relied on the delicate creatures as a food source.
1 If you are a Winter Texan, do not leave anything behind. If you do, at best, the locals will spend additional tax money cleaning your mess. At worst, your trash, old fishing line, beer cans, cigarette butts, and six-pack carriers could end the life of a precious being that might be the final straw in the ecological balance. Then folks will really be pissed, and you don’t want that.