Otto is a Crested Crane

Otto is a Crested Crane

     Updated 11 April 1998 URL is

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Ya, Otto Is a Crested Crane

Word has recently reached this publication that our precious Otto is not a peacock. He is a crested crane. We ask your help in keeping this information from him, as he has made his adjustment to being a strange-looking peacock. It would be very hard for him to have to start life as a crane at his age.

Also, we know peacocks strut but cranes dance. Otto was the best dancer among all his peacock friends. Do we want him to lose that self-confidence? "Oh, I’m only an average crane dancer" or "I’m the best dancer I know." Which would you have him believing?

Additionally, peacock is a better word to work with than crane. Cranes sound like heavy duty machinery, while Otto is a delicate sort, given to displays of vanity. He also has some romantic attachments to a few lady peahens, which would be dashed were he to learn his true background.

So we hope you will bear with us as we shelter Otto from the harsh truth. Meanwhile, here are some URLs for peacocks and cranes, for your avian enjoyment.

  • Good Crane Picture
  • Great photos from a camera safari at Ken Janik’s site
  • The crested crane as the goddess Kono in mythology.
  •    Wacky World of Peafowl. Lots of information here. Buy this peacock sweatshirt, even!
  • Peacocks here somewhere. A charming couple in New Zealand build a garden in their old age. I never found the peacock, because I was enjoying the story so much. Outstanding site!
  • Zanzibar Best web site for a country, Zanzibar! Way cool site!!!! Features a peacock.
  • And yet the Ugandan pages are great too, with the Crested Crane as their national bird, and the Crested Crane hotel, and crane buttons and logos. The Crested Crane is even on their national flag!!
  • Another comprehensive Uganda site. A very well developed site, with crested cranes.

And now, back to the cover of Our Tentative Times cyberzine   

unless you can visit longer, to read the saga of Otto as told by Lena Kovid

The Saga of Otto

by Lena Kovid, webmaven of the Underground Cafe

Otto is actually a crested crane with peacock pretensions, a very nice clean, well mannered bird that belongs to Emmanuel-John Pitsarkowski Jr., one of Bluffton’s residents who’s been "getting over" his wife leaving him (about four years ago) for a long haul truck driver who writes poetry and who was a woman to boot. That element caused quite a stir here for a spell and probably accounts for the solicitous manner Emmanuel-John’s been looked after since.

Emmanuel-John had been taken in by Ruthie Thompson as a boarder, in what people still called her mother’s house that was actually her house now since her mother passed on and where Ruthie and her mother and grandmother lived in her youth, then where just Ruthie and her mother lived since the winter of ’86 when grandma Jenny moved on to the heavenly choir.

Of course, Ruthie Thompson works in Robbie McIntyre’s Insurance office and lives a quiet life that, in these small towns, used to gain one the moniker "spinster," though she was actually a divorcee from a marriage that lasted only three days…until the bum took off with her car and savings and much of her pride and social standing.

Anyway, now days Emmanuel-John stayed in Ruthie Thompson’s Grandma Jenny’s old room and that was where Emmanuel-John always brought Otto when the weather got nasty, meaning below zero here in the country’s heartland (for Otto’s really quite a formal bird and not at all the type one would leave out to uncertain fate in coop or barn with livestock).

Old Grandma Jenny’s room was almost a museum piece, a piece out of time, kind of a slice of what life was all about a century or more ago. Grandma Jenny, then Ruthie’s mother and then Ruthie in her turn, had kept it just as it had been when Grandma moved in way back in misty oral history. The furniture had been inherited from Jenny’s own grandmother (so was a full four generations removed from Ruthie and Emmanuel-John’s more modern generation) and no doubt had seen its share of sweaty sheets and cold shoulders. Grandma Jenny’s grandmother evidently purchased the suite as a young bride sometime in the late 1800’s and had successfully deflected from two husbands efforts to alter or replace it so to hand it down along this maternal line.

The room was complete with framed silverplate etchings, an intricately carved bit of wood that was probably Chinese, depicting a landscape with mountains in the background and hung by a red piped banner, once bright, but now faded to a dusky rose, lead-glass and pewter containers for cotton or bulk quantities of face powder and two drawers of other-era nightgowns that were more special than a department store of new ones…all long worn-out of by now.

There was a cut glass mirror over the vanity table, a five drawer bureau, the bed those women had slept in for most of those untold years of marriage and a large Persian rug that had been mostly maroon and blue most of its considerable existence, though now it showed a sort of rebirth into a lighter hue, its elaborate borders and in-filled fields, with their repeated leaf patterns and spots of color growing lighter each cold spell, under the signatures of our crested crane, spreading white spots upon the wool.

The town has its special memories…and Emmanuel and Otto seems to be in more than a few of them.

E-mail Lena at

Visit Lena’s extensive website: The Underground Cafe. Meet her detective. Share her causes. She gives this editor new ideas all the time. Thanks, Lena! You may live in the big city but you have a real feel for towns!

Be sure to appreciate our sponsor, Parlorcity Internet without which Otto would be silence and darkness.

You may write to our publisher, Terry Miller, at

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From the Editor of Our Tentative Times, email Sandra Weinhardt