Sooner or later we knew that the snowbird season would come to an end, and for many that time has come. Some of the Walton County Snowbirds have literally “flown the coop” making their way to the northbound highways. Others are preparing for the exodus, visiting their favorite eating spots and watering holes one last time before departing. Farewell get-togethers are abundant with the promise of renewing friendships upon returning next year. As Shakespeare would say, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
One such farewell included members and guests of the 40-member Tennis Club assembled for that group’s annual shindig. Phil Ashley began the festivities by reading his poetic composition, An Ode to Mainsail, in which he demonstrated both passion for the sport and the club’s penchant for not taking the game too seriously. Co-host Walt Schumann allocated equal portions of humor and gratitude to Phil Ashley, Herb Eckardt, Jere Meredith and Joe Wolschlag for their valuable service without which the club would not have existed as it has for the last 14 years. Schumann then distributed awards — first to Sue Argus, Linda Ewart, and Janet Faro for playing tennis on even the coldest January days, and then to Herb Eckardt for clearing the courts of water after rains. Mary Ann Kaplan was also awarded for her assistance in court management. Special recognition went to Phil Ashley, the club’s chief contact person, and to Joe Wolschlag, club president, for tireless efforts in registering new players.
It was standing-room-only at the Santa Rosa Community Church on Feb. 22, when the Walton County Snowbirds, under the direction of Katie Ott, performed the charity concert billed Walton County Snowbird Singers 2014. The recipient for this year was the Alaqua Animal Refuge. The audience was treated to 11 songs in total as well as musical duets played by Mert Thomasma and Marlene Feira, both talented and accomplished pianists who share their musical gift each year with the snowbirds. Many accolades to conductor Katie Ott, a brilliant musician whose wonderful sense of humor and willingness to donate her time and artistic prowess has endeared her to each and every singer.
Snowbirds appreciated the cushy seating at the last general meeting for this season held at the Village Baptist Church. The Snowbird Singers performed an encore performance to the club members in the acoustical and comfortable auditorium setting, making them feel like the concert stars they really are.
Dr. Dale Yount, the collegiate adviser at South Walton High School, was present to receive the $1,000 scholarships for two of her deserving students. Yount was very grateful to the snowbirds for their ongoing support of the scholarship fund. These scholarships give high school students the ability to attend college, who, without this financial support, would be unable to continue their education.
The final cache of door prizes was distributed by Jeanette Diggins and her devoted committee. A special thanks to quick witted and very amusing Nancy Gerkhe who provided comic relief during the distribution of the prizes at our general meetings throughout the season.
Recognition and appreciation to our out-going president, Dom Trolian, and all the board officers this season for their leadership and dedication in providing the Walton County Snowbirds with a successful year.
Snowbird activities are certainly winding down; some have already ended their season with the remainder finishing up this week. So many members take advantage of these unique opportunities to exercise both mind and body, none of which would be possible without the activity leaders volunteering their time and talents. A heartfelt thank you goes to those who were able to make someone’s winter experience more memorable and enriched.
As the year is ending so is the need for reporting on the Walton County Snowbirds. The migration back north might seem a little premature since many of us could be returning to the cold and snow we flew south to avoid. But migrate we must. Safe travels to all. Enjoy your summer and let’s plan on doing this all over again next year. In the meantime don’t forget to stay connected by checking out the Walton County Snowbird website at www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com.
Karen Moosekian, editor in chief for the Walton County Snowbirds, can be reached at email@example.com.