Anyone who reads my weekly column quickly knows that I “wax poetic” about my childhood and how wonderful it was to grow up on an island. The location afforded me amazing memories of watching America’s Cup boat races, listening to many of the greats at the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals and everything that growing up in a tourist filled historic place can offer. Small town living, this wasn’t. Maybe this is why over the years I have fallen in love with all that rural living can offer. County fairs, busy Main Streets during harvest, learning to make homemade noodles for chicken and noodles and even acquiring a taste for adding mashed potatoes when serving them.
After more than 20 years in Kansas, you would think that I would be over being thrilled with the little things – but when the posters appeared on all the light posts in town announcing the Circus was coming, I was like a little kid. We never had family circus’s pull into town for one night shows when I was little. When my kids were young, the Circus came to town and I remember being thrilled to hear that a baby elephant was fastened in at the local grocery store, to help ensure a good crowd that evening. The only drawback that I saw was that this baby elephant and I shared a first name. Let me just go on record and say that if a woman wanted to share a name with a circus animal, it probably would be with a lioness, tiger…I don’t know – anything but an elephant!
I couldn’t wait to tell my grandkids about the upcoming family fun they would be having. I might have sold this idea with slightly too much enthusiasm, because soon it appeared that I alone would be the one to accompany the three of them to this funfest. My daughter dropped us off and right away I became a little concerned. I didn’t see any elephants, and for that matter, the only exotic animal out grazing was a zonkey. For anyone out there who doesn’t get out much, that is a donkey and zebra mix. Don’t feel bad. I had to ask. As we stood in line, I began to worry that this was going to be a bit of an expensive disappointment. Maybe I shouldn’t have applied quite so much hype to the little ears around me.
I don’t know why I question myself like this. The evening turned out fantastic. This small group of performers thrilled our packed tent with dancing dogs, a boxing kangaroo, swinging acrobats, jugglers, clowns and even the world’s youngest human cannonball!
With the announcement of the closing of the Show of Shows, Ringling Brothers, the days of the traveling circus may be numbered. I hope that the memories of our circus visit stay with my grandchildren.