But despite how 3-ringish one’s agenda is, when a circus sets itself up in the park across from your yard it seems a crime not to go.
I walked over with my parents, three younger son and daughters, and three nieces. All the children were impressed, with the sequined leotards, moonwalking tigers, juggled beach balls, and vast array of sticky treats, but it was Annie, the almost two-year-old, who made the afternoon magical.
At first she trembled when the Ring Master’s booming voice exploded in the tent: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, AND CHILDREN OF ALL AGES, WELCOME TO THE KELLY MILLER CIRCUS! It was dark and LOUD and hectic, but her cousins were laughing and screaming delightedly. This confused her at first…
…until the clowns made their debut. It was the usual shtick – one clown exaggeratedly pouncing on, tripping, tricking, the other. They used huge stuffed clubs for bonking heads and rear ends. “OH NO!,” Annie yelled. “OH NO, OH NO…BUMP!”
“It’s ok,” we assured her. “They’re just playing. See how silly they are?”
Then it clicked, those clowns were pretending – they were funny, not scary. In fact the whole show was a hoot. She started laughing, almost maniacally, and then we started laughing, and oohing and awing. By viewing the circus from her perspective, it became wondrous.
Indeed, it was two hours of my admittedly over-scheduled time well spent.
“Tell me again about the clowns,” I ask Annie whenever I see her.
Again, her face lights up, and it makes me happy.