I was standing at a check-out counter in Astoria the other day when a pile of coupons sitting next to the cash register caught my eye. The offer was for “One Free Child’s Admission” to the Jordan Circus with a paying adult.
Now I’m not so old that I actually remember the good old days when the circus came to town, but I am old enough to remember going to the movies to see “Toby Tyler, or 10 Weeks with a Circus.” The child star was the same kid who played “Moochie” in the Spin and Marty segment of the Mickey Mouse Club TV show, which I watched every afternoon. (I aspired to be the next Annette Funicello, but that didn’t quite work out.)
I could sure relate to Toby Tyler, though, when he ran away to join the circus. Who wouldn’t want a chimpanzee friend named Mr. Stubbs? Who wouldn’t want to learn to ride a horse around the ring while adoring fans cheered you on? And who wouldn’t want to escape from all the real or imagined ways the world was treating you poorly?
Even today I long to run away from it all, shirk my responsibilities and escape to a simpler life. It’s tempting to believe that a change in venue would solve all my real or imagined problems. I have this dread, though, that everywhere I’d go, there I’d be… There’s really no escaping the baggage we carry with us, just the fantasy that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
So maybe I’m finally growing up, becoming an adult at long last, facing life on life’s terms and dealing the best I can with whatever comes my way. But the Jordan Circus will be at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds for just one day, on Friday, March 20, and I suppose it couldn’t hurt to put in an application…