My phone was ringing and on the other end was my overly active 80-year-old Aunt Daisy.
“Are you doing anything tonight Henry?”
It was the one question I knew always meant I was needed by Aunt Daisy to take her somewhere.
“You’re lucky, Aunt Daisy, my evening engagement has been cancelled.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that Henry, you should get out more.”
“It’s okay Aunt Daisy, so what can I do for you?”
“I see the circus is in town and I’d love to go. There’s a performance at 8pm tonight. Do you think you can drop me off?”
“Yeah, for sure. But why the circus?”
“Well, as a kid I loved the circus. We lived next to the field where the circus would set up, and I’d hang over the fence watching them put up the big top, graze the animals, and they’d often tie the elephants up near to our fence. But what I loved most were the lions. Hearing them roar always set my heart a flutter.”
“I doubt if this circus has any elephants or lions, Aunt Daisy. Modern circus’ have more of an emphasis on skilled performers like acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, small dogs, horses and things like that.”
“You know Henry I had quite a thing for Bernie the lion tamer one year. I was about thirteen at the time, and they did two shows a day, and I’d sneak in to watch. Bernie was a wizard with the lions, and then one day I discovered Bernie was in fact, Bernice. I could never figure out why she did that, pretended to be a man.”
“Probably a more acceptable role for the lion tamer to be male back then.”
“I guess so. We had a kid at our school called Teddy Truck, and Teddy would turn up when the circus came and ask if he could help out. He was good with horses, and the circus always had a big team of horses. One year he worked all day, and when the evening came, he asked the owner if in payment he could have a ticket to the show. The owner laughed at him and sent him packing. Later that night Teddy came back and let all their horses go. It took them hours to round them all up as they’d run all through the town. Teddy was a bit vindictive in that way.”
“I didn’t know you were so knowledgeable about circus’ Aunt Daisy.”
“Well I’ve lived a long-time Henry, and you remember and gather a few stories around you as you go through life. Now, what time will you be here?”