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Just Roman Around

2023 Winter Carnival


Moments & Memories

My Heart of the Adirondacks

Hometown Carnival Montage


Saranac Lake’s Illustrious

Lawn Chair Ladies


What a perfect 2023 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Parade Saturday!

Bright and sunny, not windy or snowing, the thermometer reading an Adirondack balmy mid-twenties.

My wife Robin and I arose early to pack & prep for the trip. We drove up Route 3 from our Monroe homestead in Watertown and were strategically parked at the top of the hill above Broadway shortly after eleven.

We made an agenda of planned visits and stops for our day. We decided we wanted to see Mike Burpoe’s Adirondack Artist’s Guild watercolor art exhibit, of course tour the ice palace, buy this year’s Trudeau Doonesbury Carnival button, then stop by the Historic Saranac Lake Museum, where we hoped to see my antique FM Bull bottle & Adirondack Bottling Works displays & maybe make our own winter carnival buttons before looping back down through town with plenty of time to spare before the parade.

In true Monroe fashion, Robin & I had indeed planned a full morning’s Saranac Lake spectator hike. Time was a factor. We had no time to dawdle. The parade started at 1pm. We had to get back down to Broadway well ahead of that.

I had another agenda.

A couple of weeks earlier, during a visit home my sister-in-law Patty had proudly informed us. She was once again parade bound. Saranac Lake’s famous Lawn Chair Ladies would of course be performing.

Not only that. My little sis-in-law had been promoted!

This year Saranac Lake’s Dr. Patty would be in the front row.

By informing me of such circumstance, my little sis’-in-law had given me an implied mission:

“Conduct a Lawn Chair Ladies Photo Shoot.”

At least, that’s how I interpreted matters.

And as Dr. Patty well knows,

I take assigned missions seriously.

Robin & I decided to hit the Adirondack Artist’s Guild first.

Michael Burpoe’s watercolors were on full display along the back wall. He was not there right that moment, but judging from the pink “sold” stickers on many of his pieces, his obvious artistic talent had been appreciated by many.

To be clear, my wife & I do not know Michael personally. In fact, we’ve never met. However, he is apparently one of my nephew TJ’s best friends. He did a watercolor painting a few years ago of our family’s boat moored at Middle Saranac Lake’s site 63, our family’s Bull Rush Bay summer camp. My nephew gifted the painting to me shortly afterward for my birthday. It now hangs in our home.

Who knows, maybe someday guests will walk into our living room and gasp;

“Oh my! Is that a Burpoe?!

That’s when Mr. Burpoe will know he’s truly made his mark, because it’s a well-known fact. Artists have only achieved true fame once they are referred to exclusively by their last name.

From there, Robin & I walked up through town towards the ice palace. There was a big crowd there. The palace had melted a bit around the edges over the course of the last week but was still quite spectacular.

The line for throne photos was quite long.

So, we settled for Coliseum pics mounted on lion & chariot instead.

We then ventured over to the Winter Carnival Kiosk, where Crowds flocked lakeside food vendors. We purchased our 2023 winter carnival poster & buttons.

Once our ice palace tour was complete, we wandered down Church Street towards the Historic Saranac Lake Museum, hoping to see my antique bottles on display and make our own carnival buttons. However, once we got there, we discovered the doors were locked tight.

A bit later we found out why.

Historic Saranac Lake’s staff was busy Roman the streets of Saranac Lake with their own portable Cure Cottage Bath House!

So, by that time Robin and I had completed all but one of our Winter Carnival agenda items. We continued down Church Street and cut up past the bowling alley towards the parade route on Broadway. Parade participants were just beginning to line up down the street past the firehall.

But I still had a mission:

“Lawn Chair Ladies Photo Shoot.”

The only problem was, Robin & I could not find them. So, I called my brother Ray.

“Hey! Where are they?!”

“I think they are lining up down by Aubuchon’s this year.”

“Oh Crap! That’s a hike! I’d better get on my steed!”

Robin bowed out at that point. She opted instead to roam back up the hill to our car for her heavier jacket and to stash all our treasures. We agreed to link up back down by the post office once I’d accomplished my mission.

Much to my little sister in law’s delight, I finally located where the Lawn Chair Ladies were congregating.

“How did you find us?”
“Ray told me where you were.”
I think my little sister-in-law was thrilled with my answer.
“I’ll have to thank Ray for that later.”

Somehow, I sensed sarcasm.

I ran into another pair of Lawn Chair Ladies as I made my way down towards Aubuchon’s. They all know who I am. Some of them visit our camp. Plus, I photographed them last year. It seemed to me though, like many of them were far happier to see me than my sister-in-law was.

“Hi Dick! Great to see you!”

Now, at this point, we won’t mention that my sister-in-law and I have a rather long and complex history.

We won’t discuss the fact that any hopes I had of my brother marrying our family into a lifetime of free soft serve ice cream as part of the Donnelly’s empire were dashed when my brother came home from school one day to introduce us to his new 8th grade girlfriend.

We also won’t discuss the time I was forced to pull over to the side of the Thru-Way and summarily banish my then little sister-in-law to be to the bed of my pickup truck when we missed our exit and I realized she had no idea how to get us back to RIT after Thanksgiving break during college.

To her credit, she made up for all that a bit later on, once she became officially my sister-in-law. While I was in U.S. Army Ranger School, she was one of my most diligent supporters.

Nearly every day through Ranger School, I would receive a care package or two in the mail. They were nearly all from my little sister-in-law. She filled them all with homemade fudge and cookies. I was starving, hungry, losing weight fast.

I sent home letter after letter begging for goodies.

Now, unbeknownst to her at the time, all those things were forbidden. Every day in formation, the Ranger Instructors would call out the names of those who had received care packages.

At that point, Ranger Candidates had a choice: Watch as the Ranger Instructors opened the package and shared any unauthorized goodies in front of us, or have our care packages put into mailroom storage where we could claim them intact once we graduated.

I chose the latter option. As a result, once I graduated, I had a mountain of rock-hard fudge and stale cookies awaiting me.

I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever before now told my little sister-in-law about that.

At any rate, I digress.

Right at that moment the Lawn Chair Ladies were Roman again, all the way down to Aubuchon’s to the very back of the parade line.

I followed them down and began snapping pics as they practiced their dance.

I then raced back down Broadway to link back up with my wife by the post office.

We watched an array of Winter Carnival parade participants go marching by.

Some clearly were Roman.

Others were Canoodlin’.

Still other we had no idea exactly WHAT they were up to.

Despite all this, I remained focused.

I had a mission to complete.

I refused to succumb to distraction.

At this juncture it goes without saying that no one in our family was the least bit surprised when we first learned that “Aunt Patty” was now one of Saranac Lake’s Lawn Chair Ladies.

Considering she’s had half of Saranac Lake’s Bull Rush Bay camping contingent searching for an old rusty Model “A” Ford that she to this day still insists she’s seen parked somewhere out behind the lean-to. Or was it up by the outhouse? She never does quite seem certain.

No matter. We never did find it.

Even after hours spent Roman Middle Saranac Lake’s woods searchin’.

So, while we all rolled our eyes when she later on claimed to have seen Bigfoot roam through our camp on a moose, none of us was the least bit surprised when she announced that she’d be Roman Around on a cold winter’s day,

Dancing a jig as one of Saranac Lake’s illustrious

Lawn Chair Ladies.

“Yup! Sounds about right!”

Needless to say

Lawn Chair Ladies stole the day’s show.

Ya’ never know just who you’ll find Roman Around Saranac Lake.

My “Heart of the Adirondacks” hometown.

But one thing I do know for sure.

My little sister-in-law fits right in.

That’s for Saranac Lake certain.


Until Our Trails Cross Again:

ADKO & Robin