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Dear Dawn

The Truth About Snowbirds, Narcolepsy and Black-Eyed Peas

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By Dawn Bright


Dear Dawn,

I’m from a traditional southern family that always serves a big pot of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. This year I brought home some of the leftovers from the family dinner, but when I warmed them up for supper a couple of nights later got a shocking confession from my live-in boyfriend. Apparently, he doesn’t like black-eyed peas. He never mentioned this in the entire 10 years we’ve been together! This feels like a deal-breaker. What should I do?

– Aimee B., Baker



Are you upset that he doesn’t like black-eyed peas, or because he didn’t tell you for 10 years? If it were me, I’d be upset about the 10-year thing. Why didn’t he mention it before? And what else is he hiding? Because this definitely feels like something he hid from you at least once a year for 10 years.


In my family, my sister, her husband and all her kids don’t like black-eyed peas, but they all take one bite for good luck on New Year’s Day. Yes, the experience is unpleasant and disgusting for them, but they do it for tradition and they don’t hide the fact they don’t like them. You should probably sit down with him and find out what else he is hiding. I hate to say it, but this is obviously more than a black-eyed pea thing, and could very well be a deal-breaker.

Dear Dawn,

I watch a lot of late-night television, and I’ve noticed an increase in commercials for medication to deal with narcolepsy. The weird thing is, the people they depict in the commercials don’t seem to have anything wrong with them except they’re tired all the time. I’m tired all the time. Do I have narcolepsy?

Ted S., Santa Rosa Beach



I’m not a doctor, Ted, but that really doesn’t sound like narcolepsy to me. I met a guy with narcolepsy recently, and believe you me, he was more than just tired. This guy would sit down in a chair and immediately fall asleep with his eyes open. And not just open, they were slightly crossed so he looked like some kind of weird mannequin. I saw this guy sleeping with a forkful of food hanging mid-air headed for his mouth. Asleep standing up inside the cockpit of a plane we were touring. Asleep in a tunnel, on a couch, in a restaurant, in mid-sentence and simply standing up attempting to look at something on a computer screen.


Are you exhibiting any of this kind of behavior? Because if not, if you’re just “tired all the time,” I’d suggest avoiding your gadgets before bedtime, going to bed earlier, cutting back on caffeine, and listening to soothing white noise like ocean waves or rain when you lay down. That’s what I do and it’s very effective, especially the ocean waves part. But if it’s more than just being tired, seek professional help immediately. Those medications they advertise are more than just white noise, and you deserve to live your life with your eyes wide open!

Dear Dawn,

My husband and I are from Wisconsin. We come to the Destin area every year for a few months to get away from our weather and enjoy yours. I understand we are called “Snowbirds,” but I don’t really know why. I looked up Snowbirds and it doesn’t seem to describe us at all. So why are we called Snowbirds?

– Nancy M., Madison, Wisconsin



It’s all in how you look it up, Nancy. There’s Snowbird, Utah, home of the “Greatest Snow on Earth” (and I should know, I skied Snowbird a zillion times in my 20s); there’s the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, Canada’s military aerobatics flight demonstration team who are called the Snowbirds; there are actually winter birds categorized as Snowbirds, and then there’s you.


If you look up “Snowbirds in Florida,” you’ll see it’s a term to describe a resident of a northern state who spends winters in the south to avoid the cold and snow. Now we do have our small share of “cold” (it was 35 degrees when I got up this morning), but snow is rare and you’ve definitely come to the right place to avoid it. And we welcome you! Enjoy Destin, and be sure to read Beachcomber cover-to-cover so you don’t miss any of the fun events we have going on this month!


Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to

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