I got a wake up call at 8 a.m. from the Gordon family. I met Dave and "Shorty" Gordon, and their son D.R. when I worked on Ringling.
Dave went to Clown College back in 86 and spent 20 years in the circus business, where he married his wife, Shorty, and they had their son my first year on Ringling.
Now they live in Oklahoma City, so they made the drive out to spent the day with the show in Ardmore.
The Gordons brought a huge free roll. Shorty made bread and bagels, as well as three beautiful cakes: a duck cake for me, a tent cake for Mr. North, and a circus lot cake for the show.
Today was chock full of visitors. Dudley, the Kelly Miller lot caretaker, his daughter, Carol, and her husband, Rich, came to visit; Pat and Mike, who spent awhile with us this season, were also in attendance.
Tyson Manning, a photographer who spent some time with us in Oklahoma earlier in the season, showed up in Grove, made the jump with us into Ardmore, and spent time photographing the shows and lot life.
He gave me two big pictures: one of the water gag, and one of me getting pied on my birthday.
Lois Proctor, who works at Mr. North's book store in Ardmore, was also at the lot for the tent raising. She ordered a couple of Dexter books for me, and when I went to pay her for them, she said that they were a birthday gift. Sweet!
I got another great birthday present in the mail today from Becky Raborn. She got me the complete Pink Panther film library on DVD (excluding of course the reprehensible Steve Martin remake. Blarf!).
And to top it all off, Johnny Moss renewed his title as "Coolest Teen Ever" for buying me a new zombie video game.
Hooray for birthday presents!
The saddest thing that happened today was that I received my final paycheck for the season.
When the cookhouse opened for lunch I helped Shorty carry the cakes and bread over for everyone to enjoy. Then I took Ryan, Dave, and D.R. to Mr. North's book store, The Bookseller, where we browsed for awhile.
I dropped Dave off back at the lot, and then Ryan and I ran some errands.
The last two shows were performed under the new tent, which was back from having modifications done.
Our final shows were performed to full houses, which was a great way to end the 2011 season.
During the second finale John Moss made a speech about how the audience had just witnessed the final performance of the wild west edition, and he thanked Joel, Nikki, the Poemas, and Lucky and Vickie, who won't be returning next season.
I never know what to feel at the conclusion of the tour, because it doesn't set in right away that we are finished. I always feel like the next day will bring a new town and more shows.
Well, that concludes the 2011 season of the Kelly Miller Circus!
I guess I should write something deep and profound in summation.
Ah, screw it!