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View From the Road

Faces in the Crowd
By Dale Morrow
Jan 15, 2009 - 9:17:59 AM

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Saturday night I had the good fortune to go to the circus in Gibsonton. Just a short distance off U.S. 41 on Riverview Drive, the Big Top was set up and the fun and entertainment was outstanding.

We entered and immediately the smells and memories of days gone by I’ve Found Another New Place For Us to Meet returned. I grew up in Gibsonton, so the circus-carnival culture remains deeply in my heart and mind.

The faces in the crowd were most entertaining to me. Children filled with anticipation were looking for the perfect spot to be when it all would start. The smell of popcorn, cotton candy, roasted peanuts along with the animal smells that always accompany a circus were waiting for the crowd to experience. Like the saying goes, “Children of all ages,” were sitting in the crowd. Every expression I could imagine was there, from the look of fear in the infants’ faces as a clown passed by to the delighted look of an old man as he remembered a moment from his past, like a circus years and miles away.

The acts were fun and exciting. The crowd was my show. We sat on the front row, close to the ­action. The feel of a small circus is so different from the giant productions I have been to in large arenas. I felt a part of it, experiencing the sights of everyday folks enjoying their children’s joy and pleasure.

Since I grew up in this showman’s winter hometown, I felt a special closeness to the performers. It was like revisiting old friends.

When the show was over and the folks found their way out, the comment from the families were nice and cheerful. Children were talking about what they liked best while holding hands with mom and dad.  It was a “View From The Road” that I will remember for a long time.

Old time fun, still as good and pure as it always was.

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