Cancer Circus and Me
By Leonard William Zajicek
As I traveled along the highway going to the next town, I was on a "downer." Normally I was pretty high on the circus. Yet my thoughts went back to the cancer. I thought I wished I had never been dealt that hand, it sure was a bummer. When I got to the lot, it was filled with towns people watching the big top go up. This was always a good sign as we all knew we would fill the seats that night.
And that was for sure, as we sold out the first show and had to tell people to come back to the second show. I was working the front door, taking tickets, and telling people there was only grass seats left. When the show started, I turned over the "gate" to the sponsors to cover so I could watch part of the show. I always wanted to watch the elephant act as my youngest son was the "handler". I slid my way over to the ring curb, with kids of all ages crowded on the ground. The "butchers", folks who sold the cotton candy, ice cream cones and pop corn, crept through the crowd, carefully avoiding stepping on the folks that filled the tent. It was hard for them but their smiles of a big commission kept them in good spirits.
When I found a spot, I knelt down on one knee and felt a small hand on my shoulder. As I looked around, I saw a little girl, 7 or 8 years old, with a tube in her nose for oxygen. She smiled at me and the music of the circus surrounded us. I looked at her Mom and she said her daughter never took to a stranger before. My bright yellow shirt with the bright logo on it identified me as a member of the circus. I invited her to sit on my vacant knee and she accepted with a smile only a child is capable of. It filled my heart with joy. This little lady with tank and tubes stole my heart and made me feel humble. I bought her a balloon, pop corn and the whole nine yards. We had a great time, but this was the medicine I needed to let me know how lucky I was. At the end of the show, with my knee aching and a shit-eaten grin on my face, I bid this little lady good-bye. The tears in my eyes were explained away by saying this sure was a dusty lot although the green grass that controlled it made me a
teller of a white lie.
And now, for the real magnitude of this event in my life. A few weeks down the road, I received a large envelope in the mail. It was a picture of this little gal sitting on my knee, taken by a newspaper man who was at the show. I often think of her and I thank all responsible for bringing her into my life.
They say the small circus is on its way out. I sure hope this isn't true, for I have seen the joy it brings to all the folks who live in small towns. For the show lets us forget our daily problems, fears and burdens of life that we face each day - even if only for a short time.
Circus Logo Designed by Len Zajice - 1984