Some things never change, and the circus is one of those precious events you wouldn’t want to see any differently than what we saw as kids. It was that special day when it was almost alright to have a few of those eats that your mom and dad told you to stay away from. When sugar became your brief friend, and the excitement was never-ending. Anticipating the thought that the circus was coming to town everyday until the date on your ticket told you to get going.
The idea of the circus originated in ancient Rome in preparation for the equestrian exhibition of chariot races, displaying staged battles and sword fights, while jugglers and acrobats performed their sideshows in between events, as well as animal attractions mystifying the crowds with the exotic creatures. The lower seats strategically constructed in an amphitheatre type setting were reserved for people of rank and position, and was the only event of its kind not separating the men from the women. The first circus in Rome was called “Circus Maximus”, or “Circo Massimo” in its true origins. Eventually, the circus began to travel from town to town performing at local fairs, as opposed to its former concept, of remaining in one place and at one arena.
And through all of history it has remained unchanged and unchallenged by anyone regarding its format. Those wacky clowns with the zany names randomly launching balloons at all of the kids in the crowd hoping to grab one out of the air (with this big kid getting one himself). The Ringmaster calls for our attention and the festivities begin. The tigers with their big teeth bend to the will of the trainer in a cage, and leap into place. The high wire act dances merrily above with the unicycle while we hold our breath as they balance to and fro. And who could ever outdo the jugglers tossing firesticks, balls, and pins into the air with a smile on their face? Or those flying girls in their frilly circus costumes spinning fearlessly in the air. And who sneaks in but the crazy clown act, hopping mad in kooky scenarios all about the place? Tripping and falling, spilling and squirting…without them there would be no true circus. And motorcycle madness in mid-air with a female acrobat dangling at its side. Now the dog show is a fur on wheels game all its own. Up, down, all around, spinning, sliding, and wrong way antics left the kids giggling and laughing. Did he say she would spin fifty hoops at the same time? I guess he did because I saw it with my own eyes! Where else can you really see one of the greatest collection of acts all together on one stage, under one big top? Nowhere but the circus.
I remember my family and all of my cousins going to the big show. Popcorn and soda was the menu of the day, and my Uncles and Aunts, cousins, brothers, sister, Mom and Dad all had the same smile that day. In an ever-changing world in which we live in, aren’t you glad some things never change? Boy, those Romans sure knew how to party!