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Tuesday, September 19, 2006 



Elizabethtown, PA. 20 miles. Grass. Rain likely.

Two full houses in Lancaster, PA and a visit from a great group of circus fans made for a nice return to Pennsylvania, a brief encore before we move into Virginia. (You know you’re having a good day when you run out of paper products with which to serve nachos.)

Many years ago in a small university town in the northeast I had a fantastic group of friends, musicians, and artists, and actors, and dancers, and dreamers, and dramatists, and a woman who talked of clown college. We all believe that our friends are gifted when we are eighteen, or nineteen, or twenty. Maybe they are. There was a old house in that town at the corner of two broad streets shaded with tall trees, yards hedged in juniper, or elderberry, or honeysuckle. It was a house with porches decked in potted plants and prayer flags and there was always the sound of someone playing a guitar, or a dulcimer, or a mandolin. There was talk one year of creating a minstrel show, a traveling ensemble with all that talent, and maybe some magic and some juggling thrown in. I was not a talented person, but I could build, and I could fix things, and I could put up a tent. Nothing came of the minstrel show, and in June I went off to the mountain towns here in Pennsylvania and did a reptile show and handled rattlesnakes and by July our fantasies had moved on to other things. We grew up and we became many things. One of us died too young. From that group of friends came teachers, and programmers, and librarians, and yes, a few musicians and actors and bookkeepers and a lawyer here or there. Some mornings as the show trucks pull onto a new lot, when the air smells of cut grass and apples and the new day is still and quiet I think about that minstrel show and about those friends. The urge to perform is as old as our kind, and the rituals we have created to channel that particular creative inclination have given rise to the arts, and entertainment, perhaps to faith as well. Are the elephants dancing today? If the elephants are dancing it says nothing of mastery over the animals and everything of the animistic ties that bind. The first art were tattoos, paintings on a cavern wall; the first magic, shadow puppets by the light of the fire. It isn’t hard to see where circus came from. There’s a bit of circus in all of us. Don't believe me? Come see the show.

All the trucks look so shiny and new. When I was a performer [ in the stone age] this time of year things began to look a little worn. Your show just keeps getting better and better. Keep up the great work, but next year bring back the cage act. It is sorely missed. Best wishes for a saft return to Hugo.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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