Sara the Snowy Owl 2007

Like a teenager
Sara the Snowy Owl parade
photo by Andy Flynn

Sara The Snowy Owl Fable - 2007

Like a Teenager

When Sara flew into the Village by the river, she knew that Saranac Lake was enjoying the fruits of the baby boom, just like the rest of the country. It was customary for Sara to loop around the village a couple times. She did this for a several reasons. First, she liked roam around the town to look for her many friends.

In the last few years the number of young friends seemed as though it had doubled. When she swooped in over Baker Mountain she noticed there were diapers on clotheslines throughout the village. On the playgrounds there were kids of all ages running around. Sara checked out a couple sledding hills in Saranac Lake and there were lines waiting to carom down the hills. It seemed as though there were more kids than adults.

There were many reasons to be happy (and perhaps a reason for all the diapers on the line). It was 1958 and the Korean Conflict had ended five years ago. Sara saw a lot of veterans going in and out of the VFW club on the Harrietstown Road. It was good to have the 'boys' back, though after war it is hard to think of a soldier as a 'boy.' The Snowy Owl understood wars happened, but she wished they would happen less often; finding it hard to see what they solve.

Having the soldiers back was a good indication that Sara's home, the Ice Palace, would be as big as ever. That was the main reason she flew around town — she liked to know what kind of home the 'Ice Palace Workers' had created. Each year it was different, but each year a thing of beauty. She was glad there was a place to sleep that was away from the winter wind, after a night of going to all the festivities — from the Rotary Variety Show to the Carnival Ball. She also planned to check out the Dog Sled Races.

The IPW did a wonderful job and she roosted on the top of the Palace to enjoy the view of the Village by the River. Saranac Lake was a beautiful town.

Sara's view was interrupted when she heard the sounds of a young girl crying. The girl was sitting on one of the discarded ice blocks next to the Ice Palace entrance. Sara recognized the girl as a friend she met during the 1953 Winter Carnival. The girl's name was June, but Sara had nicknamed her 'Little Bird.' Back in '53 the girl was eight-years-old and had followed Sara around, flapping her arms trying to be like Sara — so Sara gave her a moniker, 'Little Bird.'

"Little Bird, why so sad?" the Snowy Owl hooted.

The 13-year-old looked up at the Winter Bird and tried to smile.

"Aren't you happy to see me?" Sara asked.

"I am," Little Bird said through her tears, "but you are only here once a year and I have no friends."

No friends, Sara thought, how could she not have any friends? The girl was one of the friendliest kids around. Little Bird had all the qualities you want in a friend: caring, helpful and great sense of good humor. She felt compassion for her friend and gave the young lady a hug.

Sara did some Snowy Owl investigation and asked Little Bird a few questions. She gleaned from the girl's answers that there may be lots of little toddlers around, but there were also a good share of teenagers around. The problem was they ended up doing a lot of baby-sitting and didn't get to see each other much. Since Winter Carnival was the time of the year that many adults were able to break the winter doldrums with all the festivities, it mean more baby-sitting for the teenagers.

The Snowy Owl knew she would have to rectify this situation before the end of Carnival, but now she had an emotional teenager wrapped in her wings. She decided to teach Little Bird a dance she had learned a few years back. Fortunately Little Bird was your typical teenager and had a new transistor radio with her. Sara and the girl took the radio into the Ice Palace. When the transistor was turned up to full volume the music danced off the walls of Sara's temporary shelter.

Sara knew three or four square dances that some Swedish owls had taught her. She had memorized them enough to be a caller and dancer. She took Little Bird's hand and taught her how to do a square dance. Sara knew it would be hard to stay sad while do-si-do-ing.

Pretty soon there were about 20 kids of various ages swinging their partner around the Palace. It was about then that an Elvis Presley song came on the radio and the kids were rocking in the Palace. At first Sara thought the song was called "Ice House Rock," but realized it was from Elvis' movie, "Jailhouse Rock." That is when Sara realized what needed to happen.

The clever Snowy Owl scheduled the dance for the afternoon of the last day of the Carnival. At first a lot of the parents didn't want let the party happen, but Sara explained the dance would be in the afternoon. She winked at the parents and told them that after a week of events they would be glad to have a little nap. She added that it would be at the same time that most of the Village's toddlers would be napping, so everyone could be rested up for the last night of Winter Carnival.

Sara found an auditorium to have the teen party and it seemed like all the teenagers in the Adirondacks were there. The party started with a little glitch. All the kids had arrived with their winter boots on but Janitor John wouldn't let them wear boots on the floor. It was agreed that everyone, but Sara, would take off his or her boots (it was a sock hop after all).

It was a great time to be a teenager, and it that was true for Sara as well. Technically she was a teenager, because if you divided 65 by 13 — Sara was a teenager times five!

Little Bird had a big turn around. She was dancing every dance and smiling from ear to ear. It was then that Sara realized that the teenager wasn't really missing all the teenagers, but one boy in particular.

Sara was not one to stand in the way of love. She could tell that all the teenage fun was a sign that the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival was still the place to be in February.

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