This past Sunday, having been cheated out of my walk by Mother Nature ‘s persistent downpours, I found another outlet for my energy and made a stellar job cleaning the house. Admittedly, it was a boring day, but at least upstairs passed the white glove test by the time I was finished.
As a reward for my efforts, I decided to treat myself and watch the very last performance of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Yup, the circus was in town, but this time it wasn’t under the Big Top – actually, it was no further than just a mouse click or two away.
I logged onto the computer in plenty of time, checked into Facebook that was streaming the event, then settled in to bid farewell to the circus, an annual event that I attended many times in my youth and up to my teens. As it neared start time at 7:00 p.m., I realized that all that was missing was my fellow Brownie troop members and the candy floss.
However, all too soon I learned you can’t always go back and recreate those special memories, even if the poems and songs and wise quotations say you can.
The show began, just as I remembered, with a flamboyant ringmaster bellowing to the crowd. But, he quickly stepped aside and CEO Kenneth Feld, of Feld Entertainment, and his family soon monopolized center stage. Feld began giving praise to the performers, even those behind the scenes, and thanking the audience, past and present, for enjoying 146 years of memories.
Mr. Feld droned on and on and I began to lose interest, when suddenly he and his family exited the stage, and soon the bells and whistles began. It was dark, then flashes of color up high and alot of razzmatazz followed. I didn’t care for the act at all and was soon bored with it, and my eyes kept drifting from the performance to the comments being posted by Facebook viewers who waxed nostalgic about their special circus memories, as well as complaining about the politically correct persons who insisted the elephants were being mistreated and the circus should cease using them in their acts.
I had to agree about the PETA and those PC people, though I withheld my commentary on that subject. Yes, the “elephant in the room” was the lack of any elephants in the show. And, the circus is not the same without them. The animal acts were always a favorite of mine.
Slowly my eyes returned to the screen … the lackluster aerial act continued, and then I watched some horses galloping around the stage. Ho hum and where was the excitement of the tigers leaping through a ring of fire? Or the magician’s tricks? Even the acrobatic feats on the trapeze, which were never my favorite act, were missing.
It was loud and raucous – not the circus I recalled from my youth.
I tuned it out in my mind and soon turned it off.
Were the PETA people and protesters correct stating that the big cats and elephants were mistreated? I guess I am not politically correct in wishing the circus had remained as I remembered it.
The circus revenues suffered after the elephants were removed and attendance plummeted. I guess I am conflicted, because I’m all for looking out for the animals’ welfare, but, in doing so, as it pertains to the circus, you have destroyed a family event and there will be many children who never will know the joy of being mesmerized by three rings of performers at one time, all under the Big Tent.
P.S. – I’ve been feeling mighty smug because this year the robins skipped their Springtime ritual of building a large nest in the elbow of my coach light. I figured they finally got the message, when I repeatedly tore that muddy, lice-encrusted habitat down and filled the space with newspaper and pinwheels to deter any further building efforts. However, as I write this, I have a family of sparrows that has made a nest in my outside blind box. I heard noises coming from the box of late, but thought it was the wind, or an over-tall, thorny pyracantha bush that had new growth scratching the blinds and needed to be trimmed back. But, imagine my surprise when it was very quiet in the house and I was dusting down the bathroom wall and heard a lot of tiny tweets . Oh-oh … we’ve had a hatching of baby birds. The next morning I looked outside and nest fixin’s were drifting out of the area they have decided to raise their young. A row of sparrows looked at me, chattering away loudly, as if daring me to wreak havoc with their home. Thus, we have a moral dilemma: to raise the blind would likely destroy the nest and the baby birds would go tumbling to the ground or onto the thorny bush below. Well, I will bite my tongue, and refrain from mumbling about them, and cross my fingers there is no damage to the blind as a result of their nest-building efforts. Soon the babies will be fledglings and then I will bid them adieu and raise the blind.
Because that is the humane and politically correct thing to do.