Sunday, May 10, 2009

What A Day!

Saturday, May 9: Dunkirk, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


An addendum from yesterday:

While I was holed up in the diner waiting for my John Moss salvation, baby Max, son of Josie and Marcileno, was having his 1st birthday party at the lot. In addition to missing the food and festivities, I missed out on some more antics from Buckner: Apple, Oklahoma's native son.
Buckner got Max a very interesting present, a baby goose that he stole away from its parents. Not only did he get attacked by the parents, he got a shirt full of goose crap.
Thankfully he returned the baby to its family when everyone concurred that it was a stupid gift.

Then, last night Ryan was walking to Josie's house to get some food when a man pulled up in a car and asked, "Are you with the circus?"
When Ryan answered yes the man asked, "Are you horny?"
Ryan replied, "I'm sorry, what?"
When the man repeated the question, Ryan told him no thanks.
I don't know what the mayor of Decatur was doing driving around at that hour...

Now, on to the meat of the post:

The route slip this morning told us that we were going to be playing on a "tight, difficult lot". Boy they weren't kidding!

Everybody arrived at the lot only to sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Apparently the lot was more of a challenge than they anticipated, because it was debated whether we would have to move somewhere else.
Finally most everyone was simply parked where they sat, and they moved the show trucks and some of the performer trailers to different areas.

The tent was set up half on grass and half on a road that was running through the little park we were in. Most of the trailers were parked all the way at the other end of the park, which was quite a distance.

The sun was out this morning to taunt us, but as soon as everyone was on the lot it was covered by dark rain clouds. The ground was already wet and soft, so it was a muddy mess in no time. On top of all that, the wind was blowing like it were going out of style. 

The poor tent crew were out all morning setting up the tent in the gale force winds. At one point I freaked out because I heard what I thought was a tornado siren. Casey made sure to rub it in my face that I was a wimp for being scared of a 12 'o clock noon whistle.

The tent crew got everything set up inside the tent just in time for the first show.
Both shows today were jam packed; it would have felt a little pointless if everyone had gone to so much work for no people.

There was no cat act either show because they couldn't get the tiger truck close enough to the tent. Also there was no motorcycle act because the generator truck that Manuel attaches the rigging to was on the wrong side of the tent.

After Intermission of the first show, the flying act was going on, and I walked to my house to get my sink gag costume. As I was walking back to the Alley I saw John Moss come running from the tent entrance looking for me. I heard swing music playing, and the first thing I thought was, "Crap! We're late for the sink gag!"

John told me that Renato had fallen during the trapeze act, so I quickly ran to tell Ryan and then threw my sink overalls on over the shirt I was wearing. I jumped into the Alley and grabbed my cigar boxes and then ran into the tent. 

I don't know how long Renato had been down, but Miss Vickie was playing the emergency music that we had picked out. A group of paramedics were tending to Renato in one corner of the ring while the rigging was being taken down behind them.

I started distracting the audience until Ryan showed up. He brought a guy from out of the audience and we stretched until the hula hoop act was ready to go on.

Renato was carried out of the ring before the sink gag. John told everyone that he was conscious and talking and was being taken to the hospital; he got a big hand as they carried him out.

Finally after the show I was able to find out what happened. When Eric and Renato were doing the passing leap, Eric fell and hit the net. The net wasn't set up properly, so it broke and fell to the ground. Right after that, Renato fell and went straight down without the benefit of the net to stop him.

The second show went by quickly; I was still in shock over the whole Renato incident. There was a kid at both shows that would not leave me alone. He was nice and everything, but he was about as mouth breathingly awkward as you can get; kind of like a young me. He would just hover around me while I was waiting to go on for gags or while I was in the tent at Intermission. 
Of course I treated him like royalty, because I knew where he was coming from. He was simply in awe of the circus and me (can you blame him!?). I remember when I was like that around circus clowns, although I knew when to take a hint when the clown needed to do something, i.e. eat or tear down!

Ryan and I were a little late getting to tear down because we had to carry the sink from backstage to the Alley on the opposite side of the tent. This took us through the exiting public, so of course our adoring fans wanted to talk to us and get pictures.

We drove to the next city, New Castle, IN tonight so everyone can enjoy Mother's Day off. 
When Jan and I were pulling into town I saw a carnival in the parking lot of one of the shopping centers!
After we had arrived at the lot, a desolate parking lot in the middle of nowhere (but next to a gentleman's club), I walked the 2 miles into town and checked out the carnival. 

Renato was on his way to the lot from the hospital in a cab as I was walking, so he gave me a call and then he and Courtney walked into town to meet me for supper.

Renato is very lucky; there was no serious damage, he just tweaked his neck a bit. He was feeling great and was back to his usual self. We'll see how he feels when the medication wears off!

May 10-Day Off! May 11-New Castle, IN May 12-Lynn, IN


Ned said...

your answer to the "gentleman in the car should have been No one by that name on this show

Tejano said...

Best wishes to Renato and here is to a full recovery soon!

Susabelle said...

Wow, scary day!

About the had a RIGHT to be scared. They've now classified that storm, which came over us first, as an "inland" or land hurricane. Rare, extremely potent, and spinning off tornadoes on the extreme edges, which meant much of the middle of the country spent Friday and Saturday ducking much of the time!

I keep thinking after each set of storms that "this is the last, it will be summer now." Not so much so, akshully (a reference to LOLcats, which you REALLY need to check out -

Jack Ryan said...

Just curious as to what is your emergency music.

Traditionally, on most circuses. the "send in the clowns" music has usually been the Sousa march, "Stars & Stripes Forever."

Dan McCallum said...

The emergency walk-around music on Ringling was the "Twelfth Street Rag".

Steve Copeland said...

Ryan and I use a song called 2 Point 8 by Roomful of Blues

Jack Ryan said...


Times change. As they should.

Merle Evans would be fascinated.
(Merle Evans? Read your circus history :) )