Greatest Show on Earth

We went to the circus last night.

It cost twenty cents per person, and for that we each got a green construction paper ticket and a seat on Alex’s bed.  As we entered the arena we could see animals of every kind perched and poised and ready in their designated spots throughout.  This was not your run-of-the-mill Barnum & Bailey deal.  This was different.

Alex was the ringmaster.  He shut off the bedroom light once we were seated and switched on his flashlight.

All animal acts – no clowns or acrobats or things like that.

"And now!" our ringmaster boomed "The giant teddy bear will do A SOMERSAULT!"  And sure enough, that giant teddy bear executed a perfect forward roll.  We applauded enthusiastically.  The ringmaster blinded us for a moment with his flashlight as he moved over to where the next act was.

"And now!  The lion will roar THE LOUDEST ROAR!"  "RRROAWWWRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!"  It was terrifying, I’ll tell you.  We applauded again.

A flash of blinding light, and then

"And now!  The cow…will do a stampede…WITHOUT THE OTHER GUYS!"  And sure enough, that little holstein stampeded across the floor all alone.  We were so amazed that we forgot to appload, so we had to be reminded.

"Clap!" Alex ordered, breaking out of his ringmaster role for a moment.  But then, with a retina-damaging wave of his flashlight, the ringmaster returned.

"And now!  Those two animals…the leopard and the chameleon…will walk on a type rope (tightrope) walk WITHOUT FALLING!"

We watched, holding our collective breath, as the leopard moved forward from one end of the multi-colored construction paper bridge/tightrope, then, at the other end, the iguana inched forward.  Our view was partly obscured by the ringmaster, who was standing between our seats and the tightrope, bent down, encouraging his animals along, unaware that his jeans were slipping down over his skinny hips, affording us a partial view of his Sponge Bob Square Pants underwear.  Eventually, as tension mounted, the leopard and the chameleon met in the middle and we wondered how they would manage this.  Would the chameleon hang by his tail so the leopard could pass?  Would the leopard eat the chameleon?  Wrong both times.  With grace and amazing balance, the leopard leapt majestically over the chameleon and landed safely on the other side.  Both brave creatures made it to the opposite ends without falling. 

More applause.

There were about 367 more acts, and really, it was a wondrous event.

The only annoying thing – and this happens no matter where you go – was this girl seated next to me.  She’s brought her baby, and every two seconds the baby whispered "I have to go potty."  So the girl would sigh or groan – not again! – and wiggle from her seat, out the circus door, and into the bathroom.  At one point, I heard the toilet lid bang against the tank, and heard "psssssssssssss" as the baby was apparently held above the toilet.  Shortly after that the overworked little mommy returned, baby in tow, to her seat.  Moments later I heard a baby-voice whisper something and the little mommy asked, incredulously, with a sigh of resignation, "Again?"  And out they went again.  This happened at least 5 times and then apparently the baby was dehydrated enough to stop.

But apart from that, it was a glorious evening.

2 thoughts on “Greatest Show on Earth

  1. Oh My Goodness, I do so love your story telling skills! What treasures, everyone of these precious and fleeting childhood moments! And you’ve captured them so perfectly so endearingly. I really do have to link to this one.

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