A magical, memorable time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2003

I used to run away and join the circus on a regular basis. The ‘big top’ was my backyard and the swing set, my high-flying ‘trapeze’.

In my mind I traded in my ordinary play clothes for bright blue spangles and tights (and boy, was I one beautiful and glamorous six-year-old).

I would start off sedately on the seat of the teeter-totter before climbing ever higher and higher (much to the amazement of my enthusiastic, if invisible, audience).

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I would end my act oh, so gracefully perched high atop the trapeze (otherwise known as the handlebars) as I swung perilously in the stratosphere. I heard my unseen fans gasp in awe, and then reveled in their thunderous applause…a pretty heady thrill.

Those days are long ago now, but I like to think I haven’t lost touch with the kid inside.

Those memories all got nicely rekindled last week when I ran off and joined the circus again – only this time &uot;the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd&uot; were the real thing.

It had been some thirty-odd years since I’d been to a circus. The last time was on a school night. After my usual two hours spent on the school bus, I had to spend another hour riding to Montgomery.

It was exciting – but I ended up falling asleep before it was over. (We were sitting high in the nosebleed section of Garrett Coliseum. I guess I got worn out craning my neck.)

But this time around I got to see everything up close – and did I have fun.

We splurged on the box chair seats (so Mama would have a more comfortable place) and found ourselves right smack in front of the center ring, in the middle of the action.

When the circus parade passed us by we could have stretched out our hands and touched the rough hides of the mammoth elephants or stroked the silky smooth coat of the Friesian stallions. We might have shaken hands with the lovely little brown-eyed girl who rode so confidently astride one of those horses.

We marveled at the versatility of those sequin-clad performers as they juggled, rode and swung, flipped and spun, their dazzling smiles always in place.

What made it all the more amazing is the fact they also helped set it up, cared for the animals, hawked tickets and made lightning-fast costume changes. And after two action-packed performances, Carson and Barnes tore it all down again to start over the next day in a brand-new town.

What troupers. What memories. Thank you, Professional Men’s Club.

I certainly didn’t nap off this time around.

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for the Greenville Advocate.

She can be reached by leaving a message at (334) 382-5145 or vie e-mail at