Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘Join the Circus’ Category

Circus Memories (5)

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Adjusting her satchel diagonally across her neck and shoulders, she found the wet coolness of the satchel’s outer material felt good.  Somehow, this day seemed a lot hotter than when she set out. The plastic lining of the satchel and the plastic zip bags should have kept everything within dry.

 

She scrambled up the embankment, as well as an overweight older woman could scramble, arriving at the top somewhat out of breath and with dirty sappy hands from grabbing at the shrubs for some balance.  She arrived at the top, repositioned her clothing and satchel.  Whew! Now, where am I? and where is that music coming from?

 

 She looked around and listened.  A path ran along the stream bank with the music seeming to come from the right.  OK, let’s go and see what we see.  As she ambled along the pathway, she took note of the trees and wild flowers.  Among the familiar flowers, some seemed to be those of the Ozarks, and some from her living in the Northeast.  But some were entirely different.

 

So very different!  Wonder what they are? On the way back, if there is a way back, I’ll look closer.  Follow the music.  Reminds me of the circus figures I made for Essie for Christmas.

 

 

I sure enjoyed researching, drawing then painting and cutting out the figures.  Fun designing what to use and how to do it.  Two layers of oaktag (now called poster board) glued together was the perfect thickness so the figures could stand up.  Tried to get the same stuff Dad had used on my set years ago, but no longer available. 

 

It was so nice to hear that Essie enjoyed playing with them.  She really enjoyed my putting her face on the horseback-rider’s body.  I remember all the fun I had playing with my figures Dad had made for me.  Now I was making circus figures for my granddaughter–the Wheel of Life.  So many good memories for me and I hope, for her.

 

The path moved away from the stream and now joined with another.  Three children were ahead, probably coming along the other path, hopping and skipping along.  The music was louder and now she could clearly hear the brass band playing marching music.  Anticipation and memory quickened her blood.  She remembered her first visit to a circus at Madison Square Gardens in New York City in the 1940’s.  The overwhelming sights and activities in the arena upstairs—truly a three-ring circus—and the overwhelming sights and smells while visiting the animals in the basement of the Garden.

  

 The whole trip into the City with my family was exciting: going on the bridges over water and into the tunnels under water to enter Manhattan.  So many new things to experience.  And the wonderful circus music making your body move like a puppet on a string.  She couldn’t help skipping and moving to the music she now heard. 

 

One of the boys stopped and turned around to look at her.  She could hear him say in the honest/cruel manner children sometimes have: “She’s old.  Why is she coming here?  And why is she skipping?  She looks silly.  Let’s get out of here.”  He grabbed the shirt of another child and they started to run away. 

 

Momentarily deflated, she hung back as they darted ahead.  Now it was her weight and her age that occasioned some ridicule for being different.   As a child it was being too skinny, dressed in mostly hand-me-downs from cousins, too shy and quiet.  Later it was being too good and smart, then having children and staying home to be with them instead of working, then… then… then… always something.  But now it doesn’t bother me the way it used to.  I know my own worth and why I was like that and the struggle to overcome all the odds.  I know who I am and where I am going.  Well, I may know the essence of who I am under all the who’s I can be, but I may not know where I am going right at this moment.

 

She came upon two objects nailed to a tree: one was a circus poster that caught her attention.    

 

 

 Yes, that is who I need to be right now.  A young girl who can skip and run and even… maybe…  ride a beautiful horse, just like that.  I always loved to ride horses, but I may be too large for one now.  But a young girl would be perfect, like Essie.

 

She moved off the path into a clearing behind some bushes.  Looking around, seeing no one, she closed her eyes and thought of her granddaughter’s face on the bareback-rider’s body: slim, young, agile and enough balance to stay on the horse as it pranced around the circus ring.  This will be great!   Finally a chance to really ride horses and yet be so graceful.  I see myself on a beautiful white horse, just like that one.  Flexible enough to leap from horse to horse yet mature enough to be responsible for the care of the horses.   Yes…

 

Yet as she could feel her body shift into its new shape, and the pounds drop off, she suddenly remembered the other sign on the tree.  “LEMURIA” 

 

What did that mean?

Written by thalia

June 15, 2008 at 1:09 pm

a circus clown

with 8 comments

This ATC is entitled ‘the clown’s new shoes’

Written by traveller2006

June 13, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Run Away To The Circus

with 8 comments

Circus

When I was young I swung on the swing
dreaming of
being a great circus performer
a snake charmer
a mysterious side show performer.
Now I am older I dream of
swinging on swings
dreaming.

Heather Blakey
prompt: Run Away and Join th Circus

Written by Heather Blakey

June 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

An Old-Fish Story (4)

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Where were they going?  And why are they all going together?

 

She turned around and scrambled even further along the ledge.  Many varieties swam by: trout, bass, crappie…   Oh, and there’s a catfish.  Don’t usually see them all together.  I wonder if there is a gar although they are not usually in fast moving streams but in brackish backwaters.  I remember being so surprised when I first saw an alligator gar and how it looked like an alligator with its long snout with a double row of needle-teeth in the upper jaw.  I read up about them and their average size of 3-7 feet.  That one reprint in the paper of 10-foot long gar caught in Mississippi in 1910 was amazing.   

 

Gars are a primitive species with fossils found going back to the Cretaceous period about 145 million years ago to about 70 million years ago. What would it be like to have a direct line back for so long? But they are so ugly.  That’s unkind.  I bet they consider themselves just fine, or even VERY fine.  And the gar would be large enough to carry my satchel.  Good thing everything is in plastic-zipped bags – just in case.  

 

She sat on the ledge, feet dangling into the water, well aware that if a gar was present it might bite her leg thinking it was a flopping fish.  Gars, so old yet still around and surviving well around here and further south.  Do they have awareness or any sense of who they are?  The skeleton picture of the gar showed teeth in a bit grin, or so it seemed.  Like the wolf dressed as the grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood.  What big teeth you have…

 

Before she realized, she slid into the water, satchel, scales and all.  Other fish darted away obviously aware that gars eat fish and even crabs.  She understood their reluctance to travel close but it still hurt her even though she knew gars were solitary fish.  She always seemed to want to connect with any and every thing.  She could sense the difference between “her” feelings of being different and the gar’s acceptance of being who he was.   

 

The slight wriggling motion of the gar swimming made her nauseous for a few minutes, then it felt natural and free.  It was much easier to move through water than to walk through air because of gravity.  And the rhythm of swimming was quite soothing.  The feel of the water as she glided through actually felt very sensuous on her skin/scales.  Do fish interpret that feeling as sensuous?  Maybe not, since they don’t know of anything else and know nothing to compare it to as I do.

 

She could see a narrowing in the cave wall where the fish were heading towards and then disappearing into.   Ok, here we go!  A dark passage with spotlights on the side, here and there, as sun shone through.  Possible outlets for springs.  Springs are a good source of wells for farmers and settlers.  Are any of these hot springs?  There are many hot springs that were used and still are, for healing and pleasure, in the Ozarks.  Even Native Americans gathered here to recover and bask in the warm, soothing waters.  

 

One sun-lit area loomed larger than the previously seen ones.  It was off to the right side where the main tunnel divided.  She decided to check that one out as she saw some fish heading over there.  She swam to the same area and was suddenly outside.    

She popped up close to the surface but still retained the gar body, remembering that gar have an air bladder so they can breathe air for as long as 2 hours.  Being close to the surface to draw in air also made them vulnerable as an easy target for bow-fishermen.  But she wanted to see if anyone was around before surfacing and shifting.  Seems clear. 

She wriggled onto the pebbly bank and checked to ascertain how well the air bladder worked.  As her tail, flipping her ashore, caught the light’s reflection, she thought of how some Native American tribes, like the Seminoles, Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee participated in ritual dances and song surrounding the gar, and many liked to collect the gar scales, which were hard like armor.

 

She lay still, now breathing air.  She watched and listened.  She could see the other fish moving along further with the current of the stream.  She could hear the sounds of water running over rocks and the usual forest sounds.  But what is that?  A hum—something else.  Just sounds like a humming  noise.  Maybe the gar can’t hear things above water the way humans would.

 

She allowed herself to change back into her regular form so as to listen better, even though she knew her hearing was getting worse.  But it still had to be better than the gar’s.  Sounds like chattering well off in the distance—people chattering and music.  What kind of music is that?  Not any popular music like country, rap, hip-hop, reggae, rock and roll, big band, or even classical. Whatever is that?  Sounds familiar in a way, in a sort of nostalgic way… like when I was a child… sounds like circus music! Real circus music!  Where am I anyway?  Where have I traveled  to?  And when have I gone to? Since I can’t go back against the current so might as well go on.  It’s been years, but I’m going to the circus!

 

Written by thalia

June 10, 2008 at 7:34 am

In Regards To Tansy Arvensis

with 7 comments

by Anita Marie Moscoso

In a glass case, on a shelf in a jar, is all that remains

of a woman named

Tansy Arvensis.

How is it that Tansy

– you might ask-

who once performed as

a Fire Breather, a Sword Swallower and Trapeze Artist for a Traveling Circus ended up in a jar on a shelf in a museum?

– In addition –

you might wonder

how is it that all that is left of Tansy is a head in jar with a single horn sprouting from the side of her head?

And you may question

why is it that Tansy’s eyes are sometimes closed and sometimes opened and sometimes her mouth is twisted in rage and her neat white teeth and her dark red lips are pushed up against the glass and at other times she is facing the wall?

How would someone like me

-you might wonder-

an unremarkable woman, living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable town called Mountlake Terrace ever have known a person like Tansy?

How is it that this unremarkable woman came to know what happened to Tansy

on that night Tansy lost her head?

What a silly question.

You should really be asking why is it that an unremarkable woman living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable town

isn’t the one

whose head is in a jar. 

Written by Anita Marie

June 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Woven

with 7 comments

A Circus Story

from

Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge

vie10im392.jpg

Years ago out on Kilgoar Road- the only road that leads to Rainbow Beach- the story about the tragedy and the strange history of Kilgoar Cemetery is woven into the bark of a tree.

That’s the tree where Gaddelin and Watson found the sign announcing that the “Borden’s Circus Of The Curious” would be coming to town for a special engagement.

The boys, who were 12 and 14 at the time, were amazed that anyone let alone an entire Circus would come to a little nowhere town like Rainbow Beach.

Amazed but not surprised because odd things were always happening at The Bow.

For instance odd things like those signs- they were all handwritten and they started turning up in strange places all over town.

They were turning up inside of library books, underneath canned goods at Brody’s Grocery Store, inside of linen closets and floating down  the old logging roads people stopped using in favor of the new highways that had gone in a couple of years before- that would have been back in 1926.

Watson had collected dozens of them and when he had a nice little stack he took them to school and started to put them in desks and he folded them up and put them inside of jackets and in the the Teacher’s desk

” What are you doing? ” Gaddelin asked- he had walked into the coat room and thought he saw Watson taking something out of Wendy O’Hara’s coat pocket.

Then Gaddelin saw the folded square of paper sticking out of Wendy’s coat pocket and he went over and pushed it in.

He asked his brother again, ” what are you doing Watson? “

And Watson shrugged and said, ” I don’t know. “

Curious, Gaddelin thought and then he let the thought go.

For a little while.

The Circus finally came to town.

Both Gaddelin and Watson felt a little foolish that they were part of the “Circus Flier Scheme” because the ” Borden Circus of  The Curious ” was like all of the other Circuses that made their way around and through those small logging towns in the Cascades.

There were rides, and lions and bears. There was a carousel and a Ferris wheel and a tents that you had pay extra to get into.

The Sideshow was exceptional, both boys decided, because you didn’t have to pay extra to see it.  The Conjoined Twins were walking around eating popcorn and playing ring toss like regular paying customers, there was a man who was over 7 feet tall that took in the Magic Act headlined by a woman called ” The Amazing Benandanti”  with about 40 residents from various towns in the County. Plus the Circus’  Little People were waiting in lines for the rides with everyone else.

Finally Gaddelin asked the woman who told Fortunes ( she was waiting in line for the Carousel ) ” Ma’am, what’s so Curious about this Circus ?”

The Fortune Teller held her hand out and said, ” My name is Saterlee Chapel.”

Watson reached out to take Saterlee’s hand and instead of shaking it Saterlee turned it over and glanced at it and smiled.

” I can see into the future…can’t see into the past.” Saterlee looked up and shook her head ” That has kept me back from being an honest to goodness headliner.”

” Uh-Huh” both boys said.

” Well, when we were down in Seattle I was working with my crystal ball when suddenly I see a burning wheel and a hundred hearses driving into an empty cemetery.

Now, what do you suppose that means? “

Both boys shrugged and Saterlee Chapel Shrugged too and when the Carousel came to a stop she said, ” Curious isn’t it? “

And both boys agreed.

They watched Saterlee choose a place for herself on the Carousel and when the music started they both turned and walked away and as they did they both decided while they were here they might as well have some fun.

Watson Kilgoar reached into his pocket for some money and instead of pulling out a handful of change he pulled out a handful of  little squares of tightly folded paper

Watson showed them to his brother.

In his hand were the fliers.

Gaddelin  Kilgoar  reached into his pocket and pulled out a little box of matches.

Then they stood by the Ferris Wheel for a very long time and watched it turn far into the evening.

Finally they got on.

You could see the flames for miles.

ephemmatch1.jpg

Written by Anita Marie

June 2, 2008 at 4:20 am

Fairy Floss

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*This little fragment is something I wrote out of my own experiences of making and selling fairy floss with my husband years ago. For our friends in the US, fairy floss is the Australian name for Cotton Candy.

Sideshow Alley was in full swing. A long queue snaked down from the fairy floss stall, waiting with money in hand for a fluffy pink stick.

Imelda brushed stray wisps of hair out of her eyes, remembering too late that her hands were covered in fairy floss. A fine film of pick sugar extended up her arms and was now stuck to her forehead.

“I gotta wash this off,” she said to Jake, He was manning the other fairy floss machine, standing over the spinning bowl, catching the mist of spun sugar on a stick.

“Wait ‘til we got these people served,” he said. He leaned so close to the bowl that his face and hair were covered in fairy floss too.

Imelda handed her customer the stick of candy, slipped the money into her apron pocket and grabbed another stick. The smell of hot sugar was overpowering on this hot February night.

When the queue finally thinned out, Imelda lunged her arms up to their elbows in the bucket of water at the back of the stall. She swished her hands luxuriously, watching the water turn pink. Jake refilled the sugar bins, mixing a few grains of red coloring powder with the bags of sugar and stirring with a stick until the sugar turned the required light pink. Then he filled the containers in the middle of the fairy floss machines, ready for the next customers.

“Hey, we’re doing great,” he said, dipping his hands in the bucket.

Imelda splashed him playfully. “I’d be happy if I never saw another stick of fairy floss,” she said.

“You’ll be even happier when we have enough money for a proper eats joint,” he said. “Hot dogs, Dagwood dogs, hot chips – I can’t wait for that.”

Imelda smiled. Jake was a dreamer – when he got his eats stand, he would be dreaming about getting a set of dodgems, or a tiltawhirl, or even a roller coaster. He wouldn’t stop dreaming until he had his own carnival, right on the seafront, and a beautiful house overlooking the beach – she smiled, and shook her head. No, that was her dream. No more traveling, no more dusty country shows. No more fairy floss.

At closing time, Imelda washed the sticky residue off the machinery and the counter. The crowd was drifting away now, even the dodgem cars were silent. A family passed on their way home, a couple with their arms around each other and two poorly dressed kids at their heels.

Imelda called them over.

“Hey,” she said. “I got a couple of sticks left over. OK if I give ‘em to your kids?”

The kids were delighted and the parents smiled their thanks as Imelda gave them the fairy floss. Jake would have put it in a plastic bag to sell next day. But Imelda had known enough hardship to know a random piece of good fortune could really make a difference.

When the family had gone, she locked up the stall and made her way back through the carnival to the trailer. After a day spent with sugar, she longed for something salty and savory. Jake was cooking chops tonight.

She hugged her dreams as she walked back to the trailer. Dreams were like fairy floss, they were made of air and melted away too quickly. But the taste was so sweet.

Written by Gail Kavanagh

May 31, 2008 at 1:10 am