Friday, May 1, 2015

Second Homeowners

May Day and can the summer people be far behind?

They also go by the name Second Homeowners, and part timers. Definitely not tourists. Tourists have no investment here and behave as such. The Summer People have second homes (called cabins) or condos they let out for the winter peak times. Many plan to ultimately retire here in the mountains.

I have several friends who are second homeowners. We will catch up over coffee and lunch, and shared community activities.  They show up in May to get the houses opened up and repairs made and catch up with all the other part timers with coffee or lunch at their favorite place. They come to escape the heat of Texas mostly. They come for the variety of summer activities here, not the least of which is golf and trekking. The highlight will be when the extended family comes in July.

I usually hear from various returning couples to check if I am available to pet set some date in the summer when they plan a trip to Santa Fe or up to Pagosa Springs. It is not as busy for me as April and November when all the locals (live here year round) are going on vacation. But busy. I am always gratified they call me and that their pets remember me.

The second homeowners also buy art. And more property. They also merge into the the community as volunteers for Music from Angel Fire, ArtsFest, and the return of the Balloons over Angel Fire. They participate in the summer pancake breakfasts, and the various bike and foot races. Most have communicated through Facebook almost all winter so their lives and our community milestones are at least known to each other. But none of these people ever lived here before. They were part timers from the day they bought their condo or cabin.

It is rather different for those who were once full time residents and just recently decided they cannot do winter or why do winter. They own part time homes in Florida and Mexico and Phoenix. They come back after a winter away and expect a time warp to have held all things at bay like Brigadoon. But life marches on. It is like pulling your finger out of a bowl of water.

I am not sure why it is so different. I am just totally aware that it is. Those are snowbirds. Not summer people. My parents found that out when they began taking their Airstream to Havasu, Arizona every winter. Nobody back in Missouri wanted to know how they spent the summer. They were away. Nothing else seemed to matter. Friendships did not pick up where they left off. And more and more of their friends were at the campground in Havasu. They shared a life style with them. Mother devoted time keeping up with them more than she had devoted to keeping up with friends in Missouri. She took those friends for granted. Friends in Missouri found other friends to fill their absence and did not jettison them when my parents returned.

Length of time has something to do with it. I have friends who customarily take a couple months away in the depth of "ugly" part of winter. But if you approach half the year there is a change in the snowbird and the community they leave. Most second homeowners do not spend all their winter away. There is the family reunions at Thanksgiving, and a skiing holiday with all the relatives around Christmas, and coming back in March to close up the house.

And maybe it is that the second homeowners are choosing to come here while the snowbirds all too thrilled to leave us. Why then do we owe them any loyalty? They are like migratory fowl who do not even write. And if they do it is about how wonderful Florida or Mexico or Phoenix is. "Come for a visit. Surely you are sick of winter?"

Actually not. And that is when I realize we have nothing in common.

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