Top Ten (or Eleven) Reasons Why Life with Stari (the Starling) is Waaaay Better Than a Carnival or a Festival (or Even Disney World)

by Karen Van Fossan

This summer, my dad and brother and the loves of their lives took a trip to Disney World. No, it’s fine. We’re fine. My partner and I are fine. I mean, we didn’t want to go to Disney World anyway. I mean, who wants to go to Disney World? It’s only the most popular vacation spot on the planet.

Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle - HDR(Photo courtesy of Robert D Bruce.)

Besides, I’ve already seen it. Sure, I was by myself. Sure, I was already grown. Sure, it rained the whole day long. (And I had to buy — and wear — a flourescent yellow raincoat with Mickey Mouse’s grinning maw emblazoned across my back.) I went (alone) because I was in Orlando (relatively alone) for a campus violence conference, as close to Walt Disney World as I had ever been (alone or otherwise). Even though I was half a decade out of childhood, I figured I might never get a chance to experience Disney World again. (Oh, how right I was.)

Truth is, though, I’ve never had a burning desire to return to the Magic Kingdom — and not just because of the rain coat.

My idea of fun is, well, my bird. 

As far as I’m concerned, there are lots of reasons why hanging around with Stari (the starling) is waaaay more fun than a carnival, festival, or even Walt Disney World.

Reason 1: The music.

At Disney World or a carnival, you might catch a few popular tunes, with a predictable beginning, middle, and end. Well, Stari can sing a medley like you have never heard — from Twinkle-Twinkle to A-B-C to guitar-strumming sounds to full-out bird song. Not necessarily in that order.

Reason 2: The high stakes.

If you’ve ever been the object of a carnival knife toss, with sharp objects flinging toward your defenseless body, you didn’t know how easy you had it. Stari’s beak can go from mid-air to your eye, your nostril, your inner ear, your tonsils, faster than you can say, “William Tell!”

Reason 3: The magic tricks.

You’ve seen magic shows where the rabbit appears in a hat. But have you ever seen an earring or guitar pick or important note you wrote to yourself completely disappear?

Reason 4: The souvenirs.

Feathers! We have feathers — sturdy feathers, dreamy feathers, long feathers, downy feathers, black feathers with dainty white stars perched at the end. (Or, as my foster daughter likes to say about Stari’s stars, “They look like hearts!”)

Reason 5:  The visuals.

At an I-Max theater, you feel like you’re almost there when the birds swoop and glide, taking your breath on their wings. With Stari, you really are there.

Reason 6:  The rides.

When Stari takes a bath, you’d be wise to wear your swimsuit. But on this water ride, you get to keep your stomach.

Reason 7:  The impressions.

Stari doesn’t do the conventional impressions — Mae West, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama. Stari prefers a high-pitched chihuahua impression, or the nail-biting sound effects of a surprise cat skirmish, or maybe the curious tones of a person who sneezes in threes.

Reason 8: The concessions.

Don’t worry about getting sick and cranky and having to sit in the car, after sucking down twenty-nine helpings of cotton candy. In addition to Stari’s regular fare, there’s fig (if you have a sweet tooth), broccoli (if you’re a vegetable fan), and celery leaves (if you happen to be on a diet).

Reason 9: The savings.

Stari would never charge a fee for admission or ask to see your ticket. (But — I should tell you — if you did have a ticket, she’d probably take it.)

Reason 10: The atmosphere.

Vacation adventures are often hampered by mosquitoes, flies, gnats, you name it. With Stari, you never need Deet or even citronella. Stari maintains a bug-free environment — just as fast as her beak can get there.

Now for my favorite reason:

Reason 11:  The love.

If there’s one thing Stari loves, it’s…you. People are the best, according to Stari. If you’re lucky, you might even hear her say, “I love you.”

She’d be thrilled to make your acquaintance —

Not to mention my dad and brother and the loves of their lives next summer.

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