SARA THE SNOWY OWL XXIII
King of the Trees (2020)
Sara landed in a tall birch tree, in the little pocket woods behind the animal shelter on 11 Mills Avenue. After the long flight from the great white north, she was glad to have a little rest. And in the tree she could wait for her four-legged friends that would come out for a walk in a little bit.
The shelter was now known as Tri-Lakes Humane Society... and would soon be moving from Mills Ave to a new location on George LaPan Highway... but that was a couple years or so away.
1998 was going to be a big year for Winter Carnival, it was the anniversary of Sara's first visit to the village by the river and the time the villagers had built a Ice Palace shelter for Sara. King Jacque and Queen Linda would ensure a fun carnival and after about 100 years this Winter Carnival was very special for Sara the Snowy Owl.
Just around the corner, the finishing touches were being put on the Union Depot and it was just a matter of time before there would be the sound of a train chugging into Saranac Lake.
Sara was losing herself in some reminiscing and why not, the theme for this year's Carnival was “Magical Memories!” Suddenly a young voice brought her back to the present.
“Hey bird, what are you doing,” came a voice from a 12-year-old Steve in a tree next to Sara.
Generally speaking it took a good bit to startle Sara, she usually was the most observant animal in the forest, but she had not noticed Steve and she almost lost the grip she had on the birch branch.
“Well if you look close, you would see I am perched here enjoying the view of the village.. waiting to meet some of my friends from the Animal Shelter. And you, young man, what are you doing?” asked Sara.
“I am king of the trees and I’m just waiting for hockey practice to start at the Civic Center -- down the road,” replied the young boy, who like most children in Saranac Lake was well aware of Sara and had been expecting her. The big white owl might have been the most popular bird in the Adirondacks because of her yearly winter visits.
“King, you say?” hooted Sara. She thought: well not Jacque DeMattos king, but anyone perched so high in a tree might very well be the king of trees. And certainly a new friend to make an acquaintance.
“Don’t forget me,” came a voice from another tree. “I’m the assistant to the king of the trees.”
Apparently, tree royalty abounded around this area of the village. The boys, Steve and Thomas, were well known for their interests in the forests around Saranac Lake. Sara soon learned these young tree climbers were also planning on being entrepreneurs... doing what they loved, taking care of trees.
After a warm conversation, Sara noticed her friends leaving the Animal Shelter -- the two she had been waiting to meet for lunch. Sara had scheduled to meet Kathy and Lorraine Anette Gast at the Shelter. The two often visited the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival and always made their first stop at Mills Street where they would play with cats and walk the dogs.
Sara excused herself from the tree royalty and all three agreed if they didn’t see each other at one of the many fun events planned this year, they would spend some tree time after the parade. Steve and Thomas hid their smirks, knowing that their reunion was only a couple days away.
Kathy and Lorraine insisted they go to the Lake View Deli, across from the Ice Palace (the palace was also know as Sara’s home away from home) then heading to the Palace. At the Ice Palace the three ran into Lynn Zuliani, who had a camera in hand.
It didn’t surprise Sara, since Lynn was an artist and the Palace was a wonder of sparkling ice. What was a little unusual was Zuliani insisted on taking many, many pictures of Sara. Photographs on the blocks of ice, perched at the top of the Palace and in front of the Palace posing with various Ice Palace Workers.
Sara offered Zuliani some of her sandwich, but the artist declined and apologized, explaining to the big white bird she had a project that needed to be taken care of before the Coronation on Saturday.
Little did Sara know, this was all planned. The Niederbuhl Bros. had been waiting in the trees for Sara’s arrival and as soon as she said goodbye to Steve and Thomas, they quickly contacted Zuliani, so she could be waiting at the Palace. To make sure the artist had time to get there in time, Kathy and Lorraine took a lot of time picking out their sandwiches. Sara was a very patient owl, but even she had been getting a little fidgety about how long it took the two women.
Now the plan was in action and no more trickery would be needed. Though every thing was well planned out, everyone who came across Sara’s path before the Coronation had to bite their tongue, lest a giggle or a hint would give away the secret.
A 100 year anniversary needs a special act of celebration, be it for an Ice Palace or for the kindness of a wonderful feathery friend.
Sara was soon to join the Ice Palace as the face of Winter Carnival!
As soon as Jacques DeMattos and Linda Piro were crowned king and Queen of Winter Carnival, all of the royalty turned and looked at Sara, seated in the front row and the big owl was then called to the stage.
When Sara heard her name called, you could have knocked her over with a feather... any feather from a big white snowy owl feather to a little brown chickadee feather. Stepping from the wings onto the stage with King Jacque and Queen Linda was none other than Lynn Zuliani with a picture under her arm.
Feathery hugs abounded on the stage, though Sara was still wondering what was going on.
Sara was handed a program and a decree. On the 100th anniversary of the first Ice Palace and Sara’s first flight into Saranac Lake....like anyone official, Sara was given an official portrait. One that had been rendered by Lynn Zuliani. And then the big announcement:
Sara was now the official mascot of Winter Carnival.