Sara the Snowy Owl fable - 2010
Yeee haw the rodeo
It was the kind of weather that Sara loved. Sunny with a tailwind that pushed her down from the Arctic Circle. She was traveling to Saranac Lake again to enjoy the highlight of winter — Winter Carnival. It was February 1960 and the airstream helped push Sara the Snowy Owl to her home way from home — the Ice Palace. Like the canoeist who recreated in the river village during the summer the snowy owl knew very well that it was better to be with the wind, than against it.
She was just flying over Lake Colby when she heard the booming Texan voice.
It could only be one person, Beanpie LeDuc. It had been a couple years, but there was no mistake about that voice.
Beanpie had been pretty busy with his new job and Sara wasn't sure when he would be coming to town again. She did know that there was fun to be had by all when he stomped his python boots on the streets of Saranac Lake.
After just a couple days of being around the ex-marine, the fluffy bird was catching herself saying "y'all" and "howdy." More than once, Sara had turned a few heads by doing the Cotton Eye Joe with the long and slim Texan.
Sara first met Beanpie six years earlier. He had come to town partly for Winter Carnival, but mainly to look up some Korean war buddies. He returned the next year, then every couple years since then. He had become a college student with less funds and time, so his visits were a little more random, but always a pleasure. The Texan was a work hard and play hard veteran. Now his job was to work hard for the United States Government.
The snowy owl decided to swing by her home first. The villagers of Saranac Lake always made her feel at home by building a home fit for a queen. They built her a palace and each year the palace workers always designed a new palace, much to Sara's delight. This year the Palace gleamed in the mid-day sun.
"Well there you are," came the Texas drawl, from behind you. "I thought I saw you flying over head. Why didn't you drop down and say 'howdy' to me?"
Sara apologized, but said she wanted to get settled. She then wrapped her wings around Beanpie and gave him a big hug.
"This 'shure' is a pretty use of lake water," Beanpie said pointing to the walls of Sara's temporary home. "What the heck — pardon my language — but what is that?"
Beanpie was pointing to a large block of ice and frozen inside was a fish.
"Ain't that something you don't see every day...in fact in Texas you never see that," Beanpie said with a laugh. "In fact, this is more ice than I see in a year.
Sara explained to the cowboy that the Ice Palace Workers would often find blocks with fish in them and put them up around eye level so if Sara needed a little snack she would have one.
The Texan found that about the funniest thing he had ever heard and laughed for a good 10 minutes.
The two partners did some catching up. Sara learned that Beanpie had graduated from college and now was working for the U.S. Government as an engineer, for some organization that Sara didn't quite understand. The name of the agency sounded like Nazzah and what ever it was, Beanpie said they were going to put a man on the moon. It's sounded crazy to Sara, but most of his stories did and of course most of Beanpie's stories were actually true.
Soon it was time for Beanpie to skid-addle, he told Sara that he was going to have a beverage with Willard Hanmer and discuss the possible purchase of a guideboat. He told Sara that he had always wanted to come to Saranac Lake to do some canoeing, or — maybe if he owned a guideboat — he might do some rowing. Especially in the summer when it is 'hot as blazes in Texas.' Also, his buddies down at the VFW were saying they could beat him with one arm behind their back. If there was one sure way to get the Texan cowboy to the Adirondacks, it was with a challenge.
Beanpie added that Mr. Hanmer was getting up in years, but if you wanted a decent guideboat, he was the man to see. Beanpie always liked to go with a winner!
Before Beanpie left, the crafty snowy owl was able to rope the cowboy into helping her with the pre-parade festivities on Saturday. Sara liked to bring the kids together at the palace for a get together just before the parade started.
The next night, at the Friday Night Rotary Show, Beanpie and Sara sat together and the cowboy told her that he had a special surprise for her. She thought it was a new dance step he was going to teach her at the Carnival Dance, like maybe the Texas Two-Step, but didn't give it much thought.
The next day — Parade Day — Sara was just waking up when she heard some commotion outside the palace. At first she thought it was kids coming early, but when she looked out she saw Beanpie. She wondered what he was doing up so early, then she thought maybe he hadn't gone to bed yet.
Next to Beanpie was a stack of ice cubes, but they were actually arranged in the shape of an Ice Palace, much like the one built for Sara.
"What in tarnation are you doing?" Sara asked and realized she had started to talk like Beanpie again.
"My surprise, of course," the cowboy explained.
Then Sara noticed that each ice cube had a penny frozen inside. She asked how he had managed that trick.
"I have a few friends in the restaurant business who allowed me to use their freezer and some trays for a night," He explained, then added with a laugh: "The hard part was herding all those cubes over to the lake."
In a confessional tone Beanpie whispered, "There are more, but they are hidden all around. I've invented The Snowy Owl Ice Cube Hunt, kind of like an Easter Egg Hunt. I think the kids will love it."
After Sara had stood there — slack beaked — for a few moments, Beanpie picked up an ice cube from the miniature palace and asked, "penny cube for your thought?"
Sara laughed and said, "You crazy cowboy, let's get this rodeo on the road." Then she gave Beanpie a big slap on the back, followed by a snowy owl hug.