Friday, May 30, 2008

Two days.

May 30, West Friendship.

Two days here again, sweet, but I miss yesterday's perfect lot, and how it made for such an easier day with the kids.

A trailer with a view.

May 30, West Friendship, Maryland (21 miles, Howard county fairgrounds.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No mowing the lawn.

May 29, Reisterstown.

This time we're really on the much awaited East Coast (and it seems like yesterday we were in Ohio, sometimes I overestimate the size of this country, as when I was little and thought it was more or less the size of the Pacific ocean,) in a northwestern suburb of Baltimore, if you looked at Baltimore as a clock we would be at eleven, said a lady who was at the playground with her grand-daughter this morning.
The church's playground is the star of the day: we're parked smack in front of it, Dylan's private playground, right in front of us, across a perfect lawn we don't have to mow.

A trailer with a view.

May 29, Reisterstown, Maryland (41 miles, Northminster Presbyterian Church.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 28, Thurmont, Maryland (75 miles, Winterbrook farms.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 27, Hancock, Maryland (45 miles, Widmeyer park.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Our own private yard.

May 26, Frostburg.

We moved here last night, as the day was winding up after the last show at 4:30 PM, because the terrain was steeply downhill and everybody was parked lopsided (but us, we moved back and somewhat leveled, with the extra bonus of being on our own with a private yard of sorts, thanks to the miles of cables Fridman has.) I forgot to take a picture of the view from the back window, maybe because we had no internet connection and so I spaced out. But we went for a walk, Dylan, Nicolas and I, and it was where I would put the house of my dreams, and so here it is.
It is beautiful too here in Maryland, yet another state, it feels so nice being in a level grassy lot and no mud nor dirt (paradise comes cheap for circus people.)

A trailer with a view.

May 26, Frostburg, Maryland (36 miles, Hoffman ballfield.)

A trailer with a (forgotten) view.

May 25, Springfield, West Virginia (48 miles, Crystal Valley Ranch.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In the valleys.

May 24, Petersburg.

After three days in Morgantown we drove yesterday in the afternoon, we couldn't pull onto the lot until evening here, and it was too long to drive in the morning as usual.
Horrible drive for me as I suffered from another one of these pseudo-migraines that come at this time of the month and almost blind me; it grew worse as I drove on, thought I would not make it. Too bad, it is indeed, if not exactly wild, wonderful, as the tags say, on these rural roads in the West Virginia valleys.

A trailer with a view.

May 24, Petersburg, West Virginia (120 miles, fairgrounds.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The blues doctor.

May 20, Morgantown.

Morning surprise. On the daily route card we find on the truck dashboard when we wake up a change of plans: the town we were to play today was canceled, and as a result we got a day off, out of the blue, and we jumped to the next stop, Morgantown, and another state; the reason for all this is not hard to guess, it has rained on and off all day.
Morgantown is home to an old friend, Joel Beeson, the bluzdoctor, and his wife, Danah, and family. Joel was one of my instructors at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the photojournalism school and has remained a friend ever since through many moves and career twists on both sides. He teaches photojournalism at West Virginia University; Danah is a designer, and teaches there as well. He loves the blues, and all things true. Danah and he are multi-talented, incredibly creative people, they are giving and open-minded, for me they epitomize the best of this country's spirit.
We haven't seen each other in close to three years. I am looking forward to seeing them again.

A trailer with a view.

May 20, Morgantown, West Virginia (68 miles, Mylan park.)

Monday, May 19, 2008


May 19, Avella.

Not a song - a beautiful word, a ballad, - but a stroll, in French.
It's a yukky day and we're stuck tire-deep in mud (and it had to be the day when I wanted to unhitch and go drive around the area where I had found the house of my dreams last year while looking and wishing on the web, an old remodeled farmhouse west of Pittsburgh with seven acres of pasture and a creek frontage; when am I going to be back in the area? we had it all planned out over the CB radio on the way over.) But I wouldn't give in to a mood to suit the circumstances, so I put Nicolas/Peanut/Mingo on my back and took Dylan by the hand and off we went slip sliding in the mud down a dirt road at the back of the lot and we had an adventuresome walk, met a spider (Dylan and I,) saw a black dog (all three of us,) picked up a branch to use as a walking stick (Dylan,) listened to the wind in the trees (Dylan and I, for Mingo/Peanut/Nicolas was asleep by then) and the sound of the stream and the birds and the trucks on the invisible road on the other side of the creek.

Happy birthday Myrna.

May 19, Avella.

We're swimming in mud, sinking and sliding, every trailer except Myrna the cook had to be pulled in with a tractor. It is nice clay, said Myrna, we could make pottery. It is her birthday today. Lucky Eddie and Vickie wished her a happy birthday when she arrived, last on the lot, and she said she couldn't remember whether she was 36 or born in 36. I think I'll be 27, she added as final words on the subject.
Myrna is a story in itself, one that I hope to learn about soon; she's been in the circus all her life, I've been wanting to interview her since the beginning of the season but haven't had the time; when the circus programs are finally done I'll be able to go back to story telling, the fun stuff.

A trailer with a view.

May 19, Avella, Pennsylvania (44 miles, village tack arena grounds.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008


May 18, Cadiz.

Nothing like la belle de Cadiz but this small town is cute in its own right, brown brick and stately homes, and this sprawling park. On a sunny day this would be simply paradise, oh what paradise.
The field is so saturated you step on the grass and sink in water. The crew covered the ring with hay yet again, and the horses performed even though they don't under such conditions. People are not complaining, rather joking about the weather and what it means in terms of discomfort, for the crew setting up the tent and midway and for the artists dealing with muddy, dirty backstage areas in addition to wildly uneven grounds.
We're going into Pennsylvania tomorrow! (always loved the state, memories of working as an intern photojournalist at The News-Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, fifteen years ago and living next door in Pa, in gorgeous Mendenhall.)

A trailer with a view.

May 18, Cadiz, Ohio (60 miles, Sally Buffalo park.)

Amish country.

May 17, Millersburg.

Beautiful part of the state and one of those roads marked scenic on the map with tiny green spots; that usually means a difficult road for us, curves and hills. This is Amish country, and just as we passed a sign to the "Nearest Amish restaurant: Das Deutsch Essenhaus" a horse buggy, with its orange warning sign on the back, a tad sinister with its black cover hiding the passengers.

A trailer with a view.

May 17, Millersburg, Ohio (29 miles, fairgrounds.)


May 16, Mansfield.

On a church announcement sign (no time to read the name of the church): "Forbidden fruit makes many jams."

Friday, May 16, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 16, Mansfield, Ohio (29 miles, fairgrounds.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On the other side, later.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

In the time it took to post the circus pictures: it's 12:30 PM and the crew is heading for the cook house, the tent set up over.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

Sara Greene.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

Armando Royal.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

The Black Angels, street performers from Kenya.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

Fridman Torales.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

Casey McCoy Cainan.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

John Moss, ringmaster.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

The Rosales family, (from left) Deyanira, Julio, Carmen and Jorge.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

Natalie Cainan and her American eskimo dogs.

The 2008 Kelly Miller circus.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

I'm putting the finishing touches to the 2008 Kelly Miller programs, a dragged out process as everybody is busy and the owner wasn't here until a short while ago to give the get-go.
These are some of the acts in this year's show then.

Brett Rosales.

On the other side.

May 15, Mt. Vernon.

A trailer with a view.

May 15, Mt. Vernon, Ohio (66 miles, fairgrounds.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The red barns.

May 13, Mechanicsburg.

We've been traveling through red barn area since entering Indiana, my mother would love them, big and round and bright, inviting, all-American, celebrating the small farm and its promises, and now there are also lots of square, red brick houses, the old school house type, and beautiful mansions reminiscent of grand times past, with expensive, well maintained front lawns lining the avenues in the towns we go through, Urbana this morning, Van Wert a few days ago.

A trailer with a view.

May 13, Mechanicsburg, Ohio (20 miles, Christian Fellowship grounds.)

Picture perfect.

May 13, West Liberty.

Postcard day in the picture perfect little hamlet of West Liberty with a playground and a small brook to entertain the children, and Dylan takes his teddy bear Charlie everywhere with him, and Nicolas climbs into his little car all by himself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 13, West Liberty, Ohio (58 miles, Lions community park.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yeee papapaaah!

May 11, Coldwater.

I needed that after a day of rain and more rain, again.
When Fridman throws him up in the air he's gotten to say something that sounds like yeee papapaaah!

The earth is flat.

May 11, Coldwater.

We moved last night; we have the day off today for Mother's Day and management wanted everyone to enjoy sleeping in. The route said: "Happy Mother's Day and enjoy your day of" with nine exclamation points.
Going to Paulding early in the morning yesterday there was a dense fog; leaving at dusk I discovered a landscape flat as a tabletop as far as the eye could see, the flatness intensified by the lack of any vegetation other than the dried-up stubs of harvested corn, and the houses we passed looked lonely and exposed in the immensity. Paulding was nice to us.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 11, Coldwater, Ohio (49 miles, municipal building field.)

A trailer with a view.

May 10, Paulding, Ohio (39 miles, fairgrounds.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008


May 9, Decatur.

In the trailer as it rained and rained yesterday we were floating, surrounded, hushed by water, rivers of rain drops on the window panes never more than three feet away, and soon they fogged up and still it kept raining.
There was a dove's nest in the field here this morning; it was crushed by one of the forklifts which drove right on through it despite the little arrow signs Chris had put there. He's the one who parks us and lays out the route with the arrows to guide us, and he had put markers around the nest so we would know there was something to watch out for. About a month ago he signaled another nest in the same manner; that one was right next to our trailer and Fridman watched it like a hawk all day; we saved the nest. The mother bird hovered around frantically for a while then came back to the nest and lay on her eggs. There is a sweetness in Fridman, how things like these make him sad in a way that doesn't show otherwise; it always comes as a surprise to me, this concern.
Better news: Grania, Sarah's daughter, turned one year old Wednesday and she had a birthday party at the cook house today. Sarah's mother flew in from New Hampshire in the morning for the occasion.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 9, Decatur, Indiana (54 miles, Riverside Center grounds.)

A hole where the fridge used to be.

May 8, Gas City.

There is a gaping hole open to the outside and lined with dirty twenty-year-old fiberglass where the old fridge was in my trailer; it's been raining all day, and rather cool, I keep a heater on so the babies won't catch a cold and have been trying to steer them clear of the fiberglass.
A few days past, in Pittsboro, a motor home that belongs to the circus' management, had to be towed in after the engine gave out, the last in an endless series of problems, and they decided to forget about it (not worth the money nor the headaches, and only one person living in it.) So yesterday here goes Fridman buying it to take advantage of the parts, a one-year-old Dometic fridge, new tires, an expensive gas generator, and more. This morning he took out the old fridge which worked fine but only with propane now, costing us dearly, and drove the 80 miles back to Pittsboro with Castro to get the new fridge.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 8, Gas City, Indiana (54 miles, city park.)

A trailer with a view (and more.)

May 7, Flora, Indiana (36 miles, community park.)
Things forgotten along the way: Castro, don Sandro's mechanic, joined us last week in Washington; the circus needed one badly, its fleet of semis and trucks just like us, not getting any younger. And on Friday the owner of the circus, John North, came back from Ireland, where he lives, to join us for a while.

A trailer with a view.

May 6, Lebanon, Indiana (44 miles, fairgrounds.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Les premiers pas de Nicolas.

May 5, Greencastle.

Nicolas took his first steps today.
I love that we were all there to see it, even Gigi, we were right there surrounding him, I was saying to Fridman isn't it funny how life goes, here is Gigi a month younger than Mingo and she stands up by herself and walks and he's not walking yet. He took two steps away from the screen door and I didn't even realize it. Landmarks. Peanut is on the move for good now, Dylan's better watch out.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 5, Greencastle, Indiana (39 miles, fairgrounds.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


May 4, Pittsboro.

The Democratic nomination campaign hit Indiana last week and local election signs are everywhere again. That and the "Jesus is coming" signs, on a square white sheet tacked on a tree, or the one that read just "Jesus," hand-written on a piece of cardboard, also tacked on a tree; there was a giant cross somewhere in southern Indiana, I didn't write down where, some 200 feet tall, gleaming white and angled, both menacing and incongruous in its over-the-board zeal.

A trailer with a view.

May 4, Pittsboro, Indiana (69 miles, Scamahorn park.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 3, Spencer, Indiana (35 miles, fairgrounds.)


May 2, Nashville.

Today was Johnny Moss' tenth birthday, and the party under the cook house tent was soon followed by a downpour, the field rapidly turning into a lake, the usual story. The whole town seemed to come out to see the crew put up the tent in spite of the weather, school bus after school bus, I counted at least six, the added spectacle of semis being pulled out of the mud by other semis; a storm just preceded us onto the field, presage of more to come throughout the day. We're set to pull out of here and onto a parking lot after the show.

From left, Jared Rosales, Nathaniel and Johnny Moss and their mother, Reyna, at Johnny's birthday party.

Digression on a view (continued.)

May 2, Nashville.

Digression on a view.

May 2, Nashville.

A few hours apart, morning, noon and dusk, the shifting of light and atmosphere: photography exposed, truth with a camera, but also the elusive objectivity of the medium.
The same is true of writing of course, but writing is one more step away from reality, its lack of objectivity more easily recognized and accepted.

A trailer with a view.

May 2, Nashville, Indiana (88 miles, Eagle park.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A trailer with a view.

May 1, Washington, Indiana (43 miles, Maysville Rd. and W. Oak Street.)