The old adage "The early bird gets the worm" was certainly true at last Tuesday’s snowbird meeting. The 8:30 a.m. crew got to enjoy Jabbo and the Boys celebrate Fat Tuesday with all the jazz and revelry that makes Mardi Gras an eccentric affair. Due to equipment malfunctions, however, the 11 a.m. crowd wasn’t as fortunate. Still, the camaraderie, nomination of next season’s board members and plethora of door prizes made attendance well worth the time. The snafu won’t happen again.


There will only be one meeting next Tuesday, the season’s last meeting, at 10 a.m. and the NWFSC Jazz Band has a reputation for being so full of energy that electrical audio equipment may not even be needed.


Many snowbirds had already celebrated anyhow. Thanks to the efforts of incoming president Don Collins and his wife Joan, two full busloads of snowbirds ventured to New Orleans to enjoy Mardi Gras last Sunday. Beignets, lattes and lots of parades were all part of the annual pilgrimage.


"We walked a total of about 26 miles," said Bob Jacobs. Bob and his wife Pat have been Destin snowbirds for about 17 years, but this was their first bus trip with the flock to New Orleans. They were impressed with all the parades and the people, but wished they had been given a little better touring advice.


"The bus parked right near the parade route," Pat lamented, "but no one told us, so we headed off in the opposite direction." They saw just about all there was to see, but their feet paid the price.


Fortunately for them and everyone else, a restful stop at the beautiful Scarlet Pearl in Biloxi, Mississippi, was on the schedule. Enticing perks included $40 in free-play and $10 food vouchers. Then, before heading home on Monday, a visit to the IP Casino gave everyone another $20 in free-play and a luncheon buffet for half-price. Is it any wonder this trip sells out every year?


Folks who missed the bus didn’t miss out on celebrating. Destin’s own HarborWalk Village held its annual Mardi Gras parade last Saturday. Catching beads has become a sporting event for several of the snowbird ladies and the report is that Diane DeVincent of Michigan was last year’s winner.


"It’s every woman for herself this year," said Michigan snowbird Brenda Murphy. "I’m not being polite," she added in a challenging tone.


The tone was much more serene the day before at the third annual Writer’s Group Open House held in the Destin Public Library. Presenters included Dick Ault of Michigan, Ann Borger of Indiana, Ellen Ryan of Ontario, Janet McMillan of Georgia, Patricia Stott-Prince of Ontario, Jane Mayes of Michigan and the group’s founder, Pat Hager of North Dakota. The standing-room-only audience was treated to a creative variety that included prose, poetry, songwriting and photography. Delicious refreshments were available as presenters and observers mingled to discuss products, processes and future endeavors. This is quickly becoming a favorite snowbird season-ending event.


And, yes, the season is coming to an end. Only one more golf outing is planned. It will be on March 4 at Indian Bayou. Email Joe Pierce at snowbirdgolf@gmail.com for more information.


There is only one more Singles Friendship gathering. It will be at the Shrimp Basket next Tuesday after the 10 a.m. meeting.


There will be another party-bridge meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. at Acme Oyster House, with future gatherings to be determined.


Storage boxes will not be sold at Tuesday’s meeting. If you have a need or a question, you can contact Linda Zukonik. Her contact information is on the website at www.destinsnowbirds.org.


What will be at the next meeting? In addition to the fabulous NWFSC Jazz Band there will be the installation of the board members who were nominated last Tuesday. Returning board members include Don Collins as the new president, first vice president Tom Voelkel, treasurer Dick Sikkenga, secretary Cindy Varnell, webmaster Jack Krasky, publicity director Mary Pierce and members-at-large Linda Zukonik and Dean Harper. Ted Spring will return in the capacity of past-president advisor and the newest board member, Ruth Beckett of Michigan, will be installed as our new second vice president.


Safe travels to all our snowbirds who head north at the end of February. Where did the season go?


Mary Pierce, publicity director, is from Toledo, Ohio, and can be reached at 419-250-9377 or destinsbclub.publicity@gmail.com. She will be writing the weekly column for the papers, so if you have something to share, contact her.