Baby saw the day they pulled the big top down.
They left behind her dreams among the litter.
And the different kind of love she thought she’d found
Was nothing more than sawdust and some glitter.
—Don’t Cry Out Loud, Words by Elkie Brooks
The big top will come down one last time this May on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The iconic, 146-year-old circus will shutter operations for good citing high costs and declining tickets sales. Also, they’re blaming the elephants. In May, they bowed to years of public outcry over questionable treatment of circus animals, especially the popular pachyderms.
My First Trip To The Circus
I went to the circus one time as a kid, on a cold Colorado night 40 years ago. We arrived late and left early, which was a real bummer. My dad was going to college full-time and working a graveyard shift full-time. I’m grateful that he and my mom were able to take me at all! I think we may have stayed all of 30 minutes, but before we left, they bought me a red, white and blue wooden baton with a gold cord and glittery knob. It’s just like the one in the picture above, which I purchased just today for old times’ sake. I found it on a site similar to eBay and Etsy.
My interest in baton twirling pretty much began that night. It was the first time I ever saw anyone twirl a baton and it captivated my imagination. All these years later — four decades! — my little girl Bridgy twirls a baton. She’s now in her second year of competitive twirling. We have such a great time with it, going to weekly practices and traveling to competitions. The Lord has blessed me with a group of twirling mom friends that are some of the best people I’ve ever met in Oklahoma. This past year has been so hard and they got me through it with their friendship and prayers. It all feels so Divinely inspired.
Two Halloweens ago, Bridgy dressed up as a vintage majorette in a costume I sewed by hand because I couldn’t get the sewing machine to work. =) That’s pure dedication, people. I poked myself with the needle about 800 times. I was cleaning out her closet the other day and noticed the costume had slipped off the hanger. As I hung it back up, she remarked how much she loved it and how pretty she thought it was. It made me all aglow because it makes me so incredibly happy to make her happy and be appreciated at the same time!
When I heard about the circus closing, I searched Google images for a picture of my old wooden baton, long ago lost through more than a dozen childhood moves. When I showed it to Bridgy I told her my dad bought me one just like it all those many years ago. She said, “You should buy it!” I hate being frivolous, but her positive reinforcement carried me forward. I got a little teary-eyed as I completed the purchase. “I miss my, Dad,” I said. “He would have loved you so much.” And, she said the same thing she said the last time I told her that. “He still does,” and she bounced away with a smile.
I plan to hang the vintage wooden baton above her growing collection of twirling medals and trophies. Kip The Majorette is already there!