When Nathaniel was very young we went to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily 3 ring Circus. It was in a huge stadium packed with thousands of people. It was like going to the Superbowl of circuses. Proud parents sauntered by with wide eyed toy encrusted children. The smell of popcorn and mounds of sticky pink or blue cotton candy screamed fun and happiness. We glided to our seats rapt in anticipation. Until the chaos started. It was like trying to keep track of 3 elementary school playgrounds full of kids all screaming "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, watch me!" In ring one horses prancing with bedazzled women dancing on their backs. In ring two a motor cycle zips around the inside a massive metal tea dispenser. In ring three an endless stream of fireman clowns squeeze out of a VW Bug painted like a fire truck in a bumbling effort to save another clown from her "burning" home. Once started the chaos refreshed itself every 10 minutes culminating in a final farewell. We were exhausted. I left disillusioned and pretty much finished with the circus. I vowed to never again go to a circus performance after spending more than $50 on "the greatest show on earth".
So when Janice called me about going to the circus in the next town my head started to spin. Before I could answer Janice did what only mommies can do... she lovingly handed me the argument with little red and yellow guilt sprinkles. "The kids are very excited. They saw some pictures on the computer and really want to go." Still dragging my feet she added my favorite topping - it was only $5 per person. So on I found myself following google maps to Cario, NY (pronounce that Karo) to see the Kelly Miller Circus.
It was a smallish affair with maybe 400 people at best and about 15 performers. In place of a huge stadium was a rather old red, yellow and black circus tent. We cut through the dust and humidity to find our seats on fold out aluminum bleachers just as the performance was starting. Instantly I was hooked. The performers were only 30 feet away in a single ring and you could tell they loved what they were doing. Every slip or stunt was met with a gasp, every stumbling clown with laughter and every finale with roaring applause. It was not the Superbowl of circuses it was something different. It was you and me putting on a costume at the family reunion, dad comically announcing the next act with grandpa and grandpa "cutting the rug" just like last year. That was a real circus so I recanted my vow of against the circus and can proudly say I would gladly go again (even without the guilt sprinkles on top).