I Remember...........

by John Robinson


I remember every fall when the circus came to town.  Posters would start to appear on all the vacant buildings.  As the day got closer what excitement would build inside.  As the train came into the station I would run down to main street and stand there on the sidewalk waiting for the first site of the grand parade.  With wide eyes I watched with wonderment the elephants, the clowns, the fire eater pass wanting so badly to join in the parade and be part of that grand show as it passed.

The animals, the wagons and all of the performers, even sideshow folks, would be parading down main street trying to get a crowd for that's nights performance.

I remember the high wire act, where the performers walked across Washington Boulevard between some of the highest buildings in downtown Ogden, UT.


I remember the bally and the free show that caught your interest.

I remember the sounds of the talker, "you will see, you will be amazed, you won't believe, step right this way to see the strangest sites your eyes will ever see, right on the inside."

How excited I was when the tip was turned and I found myself on the inside.

I never remember the cost of my ticket.  But I will never forget what I saw there on the inside!

All of that is just memory now.  But it is a wonderful sweet memory,  the 10-in-1's, the girls on the bally platform, the free acts that made it almost impossible for me to wait for the talker to turn the tip so I could get on inside.  The freaks on their stages they would wink and smile at me as I stood there listening to their stories of humanity.  The fire eater, the sword swallower, the vent, the magic, it's all still alive on the inside.  Just as if I were still standing there, shocked at times, but mostly amazed.

Today when Ringling Brothers comes to town they have a short parade to get the animals to the arena.  You enter the arena and see a wonderful show.  But it's not like being inside on a hard wooden bench under the Big Top.  There's nothing quite like arriving on the lot an hour early, walking down the midway, hearing the talker, seeing the great banner line, paying the cost of admission and entering the sideshow.

At the end there was always the most amazing show right behind a curtain.  I would always pay  to see what was in the Blowoff another 50 cents well spent.  After leaving the sideshow, I'd go right up to the ticket box and buy a ticket for the circus.  As I stepped into the Big Top looking around to find the best seat in the house right on the first row.  As I waited for the Ring Master to announce "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth." 

Sitting there in the Big Top as the elephants would run around the rings I would wonder if they were going to step on my feet as they were so big and I was just a child.  Watching as they passed, feeling the excitement and the fear.  Knowing as you leave the Big Top that you had just witnessed the Greatest Show on Earth even if it was the smallest show on earth.

I live in a small town now, when the Circus comes to town they still let you come to the lot and watch the men and the elephants raise the Big Top.  What excitement, the dust that fills your lungs, the sweat on the roustabouts, the smells of the elephants, the sites and sound of the top being raised.   WOW!

One of the other yearly experiences I look forward to is attending the fair, as I walk past the joints, I am told that I still have a chance to win,  even though I know that it's a very slim chance at best. 

There are only Single O's, the Worlds Biggest this, the Worlds Smallest that.  But I still get that thrill of the old games, the old shows as the memories flood my mind with the sites and sounds of the first midway I ever saw, the first talker I ever heard and the first sideshow I ever walked into.

Now it's just mostly memories, but the people I have met, the friends I still see and the shows, many shows I walked into passing the great and small banners lines,  are still alive on the inside.


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