Many of the memories from my childhood have either faded or melded together to the point where they lose their context, but something that remains vivid are my memories of going to the circus. As far as I can remember, I only went to the circus once, but it could have been a couple of trips that I just remember as one.
What I remember most is being shrouded in darkness as the bright lights focused on the amazing feats of the daredevils and performers. It was too dark at the seats my family and I had to look at anything else, though I couldn’t imagine focusing on anything other than what was going on in the center ring.
I was amazed when the show’s motorcyclist rode round and round inside his steel cylinder, the acrobats had me holding my breath when they took off on the flying trapeze and the elephant simply walking into the tent was a shock.
When I went to the circus, I’d never been to a zoo, so that was my first encounter with a real elephant and I was thoroughly impressed. The size of that animal was like nothing I’d ever seen.
However, the performance that most stood out for me was that of the clowns and it ignited a lifelong love of clowns for me. I know some people find them scary, but by the time the 15th clown came out of that little compact car that drove into the center ring, I was enamored with their spectacle.
After the show, I asked my parents for a bottle of seltzer water I could use to spray people, but I was never granted that simple request. I did eventually get my own clown nose I wore as part of my clown costume on the next Halloween, but that was as close as I ever came to my then-dream of becoming a clown.
With the recent announcement of the impending end of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s show, the circus experience is likely to become extinct during my lifetime. And that’s a shame because the world will always need laughter and who better to supply it than a troupe of circus clowns.
Happy birthday Tuesday to Evelyn Johnson, Danielle Hall, LaVonda Jacobs, Claudia McKinney, and Laura Shaw, all of Sherman; and Suzanne Dougherty of Arlington.