Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Under The Big Top
Could there be anything more fun than a Circus? Especially a very small down home type circus where families can walk to get there and the midway is no more than two blocks long like maybe a high school football field. Dirty, dusty and delicious. Where you sweat a little, get dust in your shoes, eat lots of Pink Cotton Candy and everyone is smiling.
Here are a few pictures of a circus like that. It is the Kelly Miller Circus and we got to see it in Idabel, Oklahoma a few years ago. I'll never forget the fun we had, Punkin and I and daughter Lori and her friend, Bill. I'm not a spring chicken and have been to more than my share of circuses and rodeos too but this one stands out as extra Special.
Listen carefully, can't you almost hear the squeals of the children as they wander the midway and notice it felt "safe" there as folks are just milling about and not holding on to their kids for dear life.
Tents are set up for shade for the animals and they are unloaded from the big trucks to stretch their legs, get watered and enjoy the nice weather.
I don't care how old a person gets this will make you smile and feel good to see a grown man dressed in little boy or girl funky clothing when the only thing on his mind is to entertain and make folks laugh.
We had actually lived in Oklahoma for a year and a half and while there took advantage of touristy type things to see and do and on one of our weekend jaunts, we drove over to Hugo, Ok and found the most amazing sight. This town was once known as Circus City, USA and is still the winter headquarters for two different shows; Kelly Miller and Carson and Barnes.
There is a fascinating cemetery there called Showman's Rest and Bull Riders Reprieve. In the section for the circus perfomers the area is marked off by granite posts each topped by a small elephant statue. And in the large elephant headstone an etching underneath reading "A Tribute To All Showmen Under God's Big Top".
Before we get to the monuments, I wanted to show you the beautiful little Chapel on the Cemetery grounds. We were told that they still conduct small funeral there.
Here you see the Ringmaster monument and as you can tell by the inscriptions many of these folks are second and third generation performers.
Bonnie Jean lived to be 75 years old and I could not capture the picture of her well enough for you to see what a beautiful lady she was.
A husband and wife team of Millers buried here and it doesn't indicate what their positions in the circus were. But you will see many monuments with the name Miller.
What a pretty and well manicured place and you can see how the different designs add to the interest.
I'm not sure what Ted Bowman did and don't know if I cut the picture off with his date of death or if he was still living. I would think this represented either wagon wheels or "Spin the Wheel"?
Terry Fenne was obviously an elephant trainer and I just love this inscription and got a chuckle thinking of Terry as someone with a great sense of humor. You know for those who regularly read my blog and have read some of my stories about my Grandpappy who was in all loving sense of the word a "bum" in his life who traveled the circuses and fairs, he and all the old men he drug home had such a delightful, playful sense of humor. I guess it was part of what kept them going in such a hard way of living.
Hope you enjoyed my tribute to the Circus and Circus Performers today and if you're ever in that part of Oklahoma, stop in and take a walk through some of your very best childhood memories. The Circus!
Peace and love to you all, mizmollye