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The Wanderer Circus Trilogy – Part One

 

              It was on a bright, starry night that the traveling circus rolled into town. Cheryl Redford was sitting on her back deck when she heard the sound of a train coming down the track. She glanced at her watch to check the time. It was 2:30 in the morning, an odd hour for a train to be running through New Grace.   As the train traveled the tracks by her backyard she did as she always did, she started counting cars. She had counted to four when she noticed the writing that said ‘The Wanderer’s Traveling Circus’. Ever since she was a child she couldn’t resist the lure of the big top, she knew what she had to do.

              She went upstairs and opened the door to her bedroom, she could hear the slow rhythmic breathing of her sleeping husband. She tip toed over to the bed, got on her knees and gently nudged his shoulder. “Louis, wake up. Get dressed … dress warmly”

              Cheryl changed into a fleece sweatshirt and pants, socks and shoes in record speed. When she returned from her closet he was still in the bed. “Louis, move. We have to hurry. We are leaving in five minutes, if you’re not ready you don’t go. You’re gonna miss all the fun!”

              As quietly and carefully as she could she dressed her two small children in warm clothes taking care not to wake them. Louis met her in the girls’ room, they gathered up the children and put them in the car.  

            “Where are we going?”

            “I told you it’s a surprise. Oh I hope we get to see something.”

            “Are you telling me this trip might be for nothing?”

            Cheryl drove, Louis slept. She passed two closed gates before she found an open entrance to the New Grace County Fairgrounds. She entered the parking lot and turned left towards the tracks. There it was, the circus train.

            “Look!” she said waking him for the second time that night. “It’s the circus!” Cheryl parked as close to the activity as she could, jumped out of the car and popped the trunk.

            “This is your surprise? So it’s the circus. They’re not even open yet. You know, we can come back and see it this weekend, sometime after the ticket booth opens,” he said with a tone she did not appreciate.

            “Yeah, but when was the last time you saw them set up?”

            All the lights at the fairground were on. They put the children in strollers and wrapped blankets around them and walked over to the action. The elephants were being unloaded. She bent down and woke up the girls.

              Mercedes was the first to come back to life, it took a moment for her eyes to focus, but when they did they were wide open. She was pointing and shouting “elafin, elafin!” Soon Meredith was shouting too.

            “May I help you?” said a man as he approached them.

            “Oh, sorry, my wife has just got this thing for the circus. We’ll get out of your way,” said Louis. “We were just leaving, weren’t we?”

            “No you don’t have to rush off. I’m Michael Wanderer, the ringmaster,” he said. Introductions were made all around. To the twins he said “Would you like to meet some of the animals? If it’s alright with your mommy and daddy, would you like to take a ride on an elephant?”

            “Yes,” they said simultaneously, both struggling to unbuckle their restraints.

            The ringmaster spoke with their trainers who climbed up onto two elephants. Mercedes and Meredith were so excited as they were handed up to the men. Louis and Cheryl walked along side as the ringmaster gave them a tour of the animals. There were lions and tigers and bears.

            Several of the performers dressed and gave the girls, and their parents, a preview of the show to come. The clowns did an act in which they fought over possession of a barrel that was really funny. A juggler taught, well tried to teach, Louis how to juggle using rubber fish. The ringmaster gave them tickets for Saturday night’s show and invited them to join the troupe for dinner beforehand.

               Everyone in the Redford family was having such a good time, Louis had to admit it was worth getting up for.  He said “You know they’re only three, they’ll never remember this.”

            “They will, if only for a while, but you and I, we will remember how happy they were for the rest of our lives.”

 

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