My mother must have been crazy. Or maybe not.
Maybe there was brilliance in her madness.
Either way, I’m sure my brother’s usual behaviors and a chance of freedom for a few hours had something to do with her flash of wisdom or complete loss of sanity.
She let us go to the circus without adult supervision.
If memory serves me accurately, I was twelvish, my brother was sixish. Cory, one of my friends, tagged along, probably to help me with David since it took two kid leashes to keep him corralled. Unfortunately, they hadn’t made a kid leash that would keep him in tow very long. We called him Houdini, among other things.
A brief aside……. A Sunday school teacher once asked him his middle name. “David Dammit,” he replied.
This circus adventure opened up a whole new world for the three of us.
A very scary and sticky world.
I suffer from circus dread. Similar to the feeling you experience on roller coasters. Kind of like you almost want to be there, coupled with a swelling dread that causes rumbling and swirling of your three previously consumed meals.
My circus dread began when I encountered a clown. I’m going to be very honest here, please no hate mail or scathing comments. A clown scared the liver out of me when I was five, and to this day clowns cause a nervous sweat to bead my lip and uncontrollable shakes, therefore, I loathe clowns.
I once had to teach a clowning class to Brownies and I required hours of psychotherapy to get beyond the nightmares -- I think – I’ve lost those months.
So, ever since I tossed my popcorn as a young impressionable pup, I’ve suffered from circus dread. Because if there’s a circus in town, there’s lurking clown (s, es – what do you call a herd of clown).
Early on in the excitement of the very warm and muggy Nebraska day, David discovered that the lovely young women on the elephants and horses wore very little clothing. Distracting him became a goal that we soon gave up. Too many women and a pair of binoculars did make it less likely that the place would go up in flames or implode, though. (Not that I’m implying that he blew things up or set things on fire, of course. (Legal/Noogie protection notice)
My friend, Cory, and I relaxed and set out to enjoy the circus. David was glued to the railing right in front of us, and there were three rings of activity to watch. We blew money on the normal circus fair. Cotton candy, popcorn – you get the picture. At one point I purchased a huge cup of Sprite.
As I sat there, inexplicably, I launched the full cup onto the green polyester pant-suited woman in front of me.
In the slow-motion horror of it, I watched the cup turn, douse, land, douse, bounce, douse her entire head and back. Of if only the cotton candy crusted floor had opened up and swallowed me.
I froze. And swallowed hard, lest I follow the Sprite with a bright pink vomit chaser. She turned. It would’ve been a great time for the rapture.
With wobbly bottom lip and tear filled eyes I screeched, “I’m so sorry!”
She stood, looked at the puddle of sugary pop on her seat, probably calculating how long it would take in the heat and humidity for the polyester to dry. It may still be wet and sticky to this day. She smiled, looking a lot like a drowned spotted rat. “That’s okay honey, I’m a klutz, too.”
She disappeared, came back with towels and cleaned up the area. Cory reported all this to me because I had curled up into the fetal position. When I recovered, I noticed that her chair contained someone else. One of her kids. Wonder if he’s still in psychotherapy.
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.