Sara The Snowy Owl Fable - 2004
Sara the Snowy Owl was a bit of a joker and that is why the children always liked her. From the very beginning, they always wanted to touch her soft feathers or give her a hug. Since Sara love children as much as they loved her, she was always glad to oblige them with a big, full-winged embrace.
So it wasn't unusual for her to stop at schools when she first arrived in the Saranac Lake area. When she looked up her young friend Joseph Firo, she teased him about being a Yankees fan. Joseph was also a joker and would tease Sara right back. He was quite proud of the Yankees, especially since they had just won the World Series the previous summer over the New York Giants. Sara bet him a soda pop that the boys in pinstripe wouldn't repeat in 1924.
Once, when Sara was talking to her friends Summer and Meadow, Joseph said: "Look Snowy and Summer separated by a Meadow," and he laughed and laughed. Of course Sara had the last laugh that year because the Yankees were four years away from their next World Series victory. But it was all in fun and everyone knows the Yankees have won enough World Series.
So Sara flew in from the North in early February and decided to stop into Lake Clear School. The children of the Lake Clear were very much excited about the coming Winter Carnival. Part of the excitement was because they were going to march in the Winter Carnival Parade. There was a rumor that this was going to be one of the biggest parades ever, with 80 floats expected. The students knew all their family and friends would be watching them along the roadside.
The children were also excited because the school librarian, Emily Mugino, was telling the children a story about Sara the Snowy Owl. Most of the children had heard about how friendly Sara was from their older brother and sisters. A few had even seen Sara fly over the school the previous year. So, during story hour, they were excited to hear tales about the great white bird.
Miss Mugino was reading a book to the children about snowy owls, to get the children enthused about the 1924 Carnival that was set for February 12-16. Just as Miss Mugino held up a picture of a winter owl, Sara landed outside of the library window.
"Can everyone see the owl?" Mugino asked, Sara played librarian and give the children a 'shush' sign with her wing and smiled. Then she did a funny little dance, pretending to be a ballerina – - all behind Miss Mugino's back.
Miss Mugino was a little perturbed when all the children began to giggle. Once Sara had the kids laughing and she continued her pirouettes until Miss Mugino figured out someone was behind her. Fortunately Sara had arrived just before recess and the children could go out and play with her for a while.
After classes resumed, Sara headed for Saranac Lake. Ironically, when she arrived at the Village by the river, she ran into Summer and Meadow, whom were moping outside of the Berkeley Hotel, in the center of Saranac Lake.
The two girls told them they were sad because the wanted to act in a play, but there was nothing going on in the debts of winter. They had acted in school plays and were thinking it would be fun to do a play during Winter Carnival, but they couldn't find anyone to direct.
Sara thought for a moment, but she couldn't think of anyone who could direct the play either. It was getting late, so Sara told the girls she would try to find someone, but wasn't sure if that was possible. One of the problems with Winter Carnival was, with so many things to do, everyone was busy.
Sara flapped her wings and took flight to her temporary home of ice blocks built by the IPW 101.
Just before Sara was about to fall asleep in the Ice Palace, she heard someone shuffling outside of her abode. She expected it to be a couple; perhaps Mardi and Andrew, the couple Sara had married the year before.
It was very common for couples to steal away to Sara's Ice Palace home and sneak a kiss or two. Everyone was aware of the romance that floated around Sara. It floated around her like the breath of her friend, the great guide Paul Smith, when he was chopping wood in February!
In 1925 it was when the villagers were still building the Ice Palace up on the hill. Anyone who wanted to visit Sara's Home, needed to walk up the road near the Village Hospital. But it wasn't young lovers outside the Palace; it was a scraggly character that Sara thought was a vagabond.
"Excuse me, may I ask who you are?" Sara asked politely.
The stranger told Sara that he was just out for a walk and that his name was Clark. At the time, Sara didn't know it, but Clark was part of a group called National Vaudeville Artists. He was in Saranac Lake looking for some land to build a 100-bed curing hospital for stage performers with tuberculosis.
Clark was a little befuddled and looked quite a site with his hair blowing in all four directions of a compass.
Sara wasn't sure if that was how he always looked or if seeing a giant snowy owl living in an Ice Palace might have caused the strange hairdo.
He apologized for his intrusion. Clark was a bit of a curmudgeon, but he was a likable cuss. He told Sara he had been restless in the small town and had taken a late night walk to relax. He mentioned how he missed the theatre he used to work in.
"You worked in a theatre?" Sara asked, her mind spinning like the lariat a rodeo performer – - she had never met a theatre person she didn't like.
Clark admitted that he did, but he found it odd to be discussing such things with a giant snowbird. Little did he know, Sara was already planning his future. *
His future was not just with the NVA curing hospital, which would be completed in 1930 (at a nearby site), but the odd, grouchy man would soon be part of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. And he would never be far from the theatrical productions that he loved.
Sara was able to convince Clark to share his theatre knowledge and expertise with all the children of Saranac Lake and soon the arts were as much a part of Winter Carnival as the many sporting events!
* Sara bet Clark she could comb his hair without touching him and Clark quickly took on the bet. Sara then flapped her wings twice and the breeze the wings caused laid every hair in place.