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High on the tight-wire

Written by Richard “Sarge” Garwood on .

When I was a kid about a gazillion years ago, I watched a circus acrobat dance on a hire-wire.

She appeared beautiful, svelte and carefully coifed as she balanced desperately close to her personal destruction. She was no more than a footprint from falling and no more than a moment from disaster. She hopped and skipped in a concentrated effort to not only entertain the audience with a display of acrobatic skill but she would show her colleagues she could deliver the audience. She could enthrall them with her ability to make the audience watch her while pick-pockets worked their trade on the people walking through the side-shows.

As I watched her high above me, the distance challenging my vision, I thought her a great beauty. When her act was done, I ran to see her pass, to watch her exquisite figure in motion: but I was too late. She’d slipped into a forbidden area of the show and was lost to me in the maze of trailers, tents and paraphernalia stored away from the Big Top. But, I had a plan.

I lived no more than a mile from the fairgrounds where the circus played. As I was a “big-boy” and allowed to walk my town unescorted at an early age; I knew I could sneak into the circus, find her and tell her how much I enjoyed her performance. It would be easy. Her Travel trailer had her act advertised on the side. I’d seen it when the circus came to town. She wanted people to watch her act.

The next morning was Sunday. I’d slipped away from home having left a note saying I’d meet everybody at church and ran to the living area set aside for the entertainers. I made my way to the Wire Walker’s trailer, hid and waited. It wasn’t long.

The door opened and a small woman smoking a cigarette stepped from the interior. She coughed a rheumatic hack reminiscent of my grandfather’s smoker’s cough and she stepped to a table where she sat heavily into a folding chair, nearly spilling her mug of coffee. She pulled a flask from her robe pocket and spilled a dram of some fluid into the mug. Her complexion was discolored and gray as much as it was pock-marked. Skin sagged along her neckline.

Just when I was about to convince myself I was looking at the mother of my dream performer, a man stepped from the trailer. He called the woman by the performer’s name and sat at the same table she inhabited after giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek. He too looked to be a hundred years old but was still strong and capable from working decades at his trade, the sideshow strongman.

As they spoke I determined they were married. They’d worked the circus for over forty years. They’d retire to Florida after this tour. They’d saved that much money and felt secure.

Disillusioned, I skulked away to start the trek toward church and the lecture I’d get for appearing before the congregation with camel crap on my shoes (I wasn’t paying much attention as I was relatively new to skulking around circus encampments. It was educational as well as smelly.)

But that’s the way things of this nature go. You WANT to believe in what you’re told and what you believe you see and understand concerning the wonder of the world. I wanted to believe the wire walker was a beautiful young girl entertaining me and capturing my imagination of how I wanted her to want to be my friend.

But that’s what it was: an exercise in imagination. It was me trying to grow beyond the confines of my burgeoning adolescence and escape the mundane nature of my true existence. But still, it was no more than a dream.

The reality was my dream girl was a person walking toward her mortality on that high-wire. She was an old woman; world worn, fatigued and weary, ready to retire and live quietly after years of performing an act she knew so well. There were no dangers because of the nearly invisible wire attached to a hidden harness kept her from falling.

Mary Landrieu is like that. She’s walking that tight-rope. She dancing on the high wire expecting the Democrat Party’s hidden harness will keep her from falling in the next election. Considering the acidic affect ObamaCare and the Louisiana Purchase have had on her near invisible safety wire, she might want to consider retiring before she falls from her hallowed height.

Thanks for listening

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