Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 31, Redfield, Arkansas (125 miles, Baugh city park.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Arkansas delights.

March 30, Musfreeboro.

We're in Arkansas, somewhere between the towns of Sweet Home and Delight.
There is no water on this lot, a glaring gravel expanse with pools of murky water and old drums and machinery left to rust, out in the middle of spring green pastures and woods on a lovely country road.

Missed birthday party pictures lament.

March 30, Mursfreeboro.

We celebrated Nicolas' second birthday as a family last night for we'll be too far for the Sheyla gang to come join us tomorrow, the day he actually turns two. Sheyla brought a Tres Leches cake that threatened to collapse as the day wore on.
I forgot to video record the blowing of the candle and took horrible, flashed pictures instead where everybody comes out with red eyes and a dazed look.
Trust the professional.

A trailer with a view.

March 30, Mursfreeboro, Arkansas (86 miles, RD plant construction site.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 29, Idabel, Oklahoma (42 miles, fairgrounds.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back to square one.

March 28, Hugo.

We moved to Hugo last night after a day of severe weather. As the winds whipped up a storm temperatures dropped suddenly some time in the afternoon, a cold front that had dumped a foot of snow in the northern Texas panhandle yesterday catching up with us.
The circus contracted a tractor to pull us out of the muck; the last truck was extricated way past midnight and we finally could roll. Fridman has been driving the tire truck for about a month now, so we have to wait until everybody is gone to get moving, along with the mechanics' truck, the rescue team closing the circus caravan.
We're back in Hugo after beginning the season in south Texas, the first time in the recent history of this circus that it doesn't start here, its winter quarters.
It was two o'clock in the morning before we went to bed.

A trailer with a view.

March 28, Hugo, Oklahoma (70 miles, field next to Kelly Miller Circus winter quarters.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 27, Commerce, Texas (69 miles, Texas A&M field.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 26, Van, Texas (41 miles, high school grounds.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Family update updated.

March 25, Athens.

Sheyla, Alain, Friedman and Sandro came to see the second show yesterday. Dylan would let go of her; Nicolas ever the independent one.

A trailer with a view.

March 25, Athens, Texas (85 miles, across from middle school.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day and night.

March 24, Royse City.

Three hours of driving after only five of sleep and a garbage-strewn no man's land lot next to the highway, sometime after the Fate city limit sign.
We left as soon as we arrived for a doctor's appointment in Dallas. On the way back a stopover at don Sandro's house to see Sheyla and the family and pick up odd things among the boxes of our stuff that are stored there.
The day is gone as fast as the night ever was.

A trailer with a view.

March 24, Royse City, Texas (111 miles, interstate I-30 and FM road 548.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Container #1.

March 23, Bridgeport.

A trailer with a view.

March 23, Bridgeport, Texas (66 miles, Harwood park.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Family update.

March 21, Frisco.

Frisco Square.

March 21, Frisco.

Man on a wire.

March 21, Frisco.

Circus news: Patsy is doing her hula hoop act now, in replacement of Delena Fusco's. Her husband, Manuel, also started doing one of his acts yesterday to fill the void left by the Fuscos' departure and the Fernandez not working (asphalt makes for deadly falls.)
It involves riding a motorcycle on a wire.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Night move.

March 20, Frisco.

We moved last night because of traffic
Thank heavens, Dallas traffic is awful, and only matched by its highways.

A trailer with a view.

March 20, Frisco, Texas (58 miles, Frisco Square.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 19, White Settlement, Texas (72 miles, Central park.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So long, Myrna.

March 18, Crandall.

Myrna is leaving tomorrow. One of her brothers is ailing and needs her to take care of him; he lives alone in the family's home town in southern Indiana.
I will genuinely miss her, and the stories she hasn't told us yet.
She sits in front of her trailer (oh no you won't see my trailer, it's a mess,) with Gigi, one of her dogs.

Duck tape.

March 18, Crandall.

A trailer with a view.

March 18, Crandall, Texas (38 miles, highway 175 and FM 741.)

Rail car.

March 17, Wills Point.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


March 17, Wells Point.

A trailer with a view.

March 17, Wills Point, Texas (58 miles, high school parking lot.)

Dead end.

March 6, Winnsboro.

At the end of a dirt alley, our neighbor of one day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Fuscos.

March 16, Winnsboro.

The Fusco family is leaving tomorrow morning.
There will be a big gap in the show without them.

Johnnie airing out the circus laundry.

March 16, Winnsboro.

A trailer with a view.

March 16, Winnsboro, Texas (67 miles, city park.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


March 15, Jefferson.

At last a change of scenery. Nice neighborhood with neatly maintained historic homes, each with its plaque detailing with the building dates and sometimes life story of the original owner, invariably a prominent town's man, surrounding a small square park.
All the trailers are aligned on the street around the park for the grass is too soft.
Last but not least, there is a whoop.

A trailer with a view.

March 15, Jefferson, Texas (68 miles, Lions park.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dylan's world, part II.

March 14, Timpson.


March 14, Timpson.


March 14, Timpson.


March 14, Timpson.

A trailer with a view.

March 14, Timpson, Texas (84 miles, So So park.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A mud show it is.

March 13, Many.

I don't have to go out of the trailer. For the rest of the circus crew it is terrible out there, the mud and water and cold, and the big gushes of rain that never stop. The midway was a lake, Fridman told me, the public waded in as best they could, hurrying, and inside it was a muddy pit.
There has to be a better way.
Still, incredibly, people came, and stayed.
I felt for the crew workers this morning, having to set up the tent in such conditions, their raincoats meager defense against the elements, and no promise of a warm home to go back to once the work is over. It is even worse tonight; Fridman went out to lend a hand.

Leaks, the Sequel.

March 13, Many.

Sponging time again.


March 13, Many.

Not that we didn't know this was coming. More than an hour pulling trailers and trucks out of the soggy lot after a day and night of almost uninterrupted rain, Danny, Hector, Castro out in the cold, wet morning.
Here in Many, again and as always in this weather, where you stop the truck is where you stay.
It's still raining.

A trailer with a view.

March 13, Many, Louisiana (73 miles, Sabine county fairgrounds.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thrifty thrift.

March 12, Jasper.

There was a story this morning on NPR about a fashionista in Los Angeles making adjustments to her lifestyle due to the tough economic times. There was a mention of Goodwill stores and my heart jumped as I thought, here it is, finally, someone saying why spend $70 on a pair of Gap jeans when a month later they cost $5 at Goodwill, but alas, no, the sweaters the fashionista bought there were only to tear up for use in her new line of designer scarves.
One of the best things about being on the road with the Kelly Miller Circus is that even the most obscure towns we play seem to have a thrift store, allowing your inner fashionista countless budget shopping opportunities. Like the ones at Second Blessings on Main Street in Trinity, Texas, where we were two days ago. White cotton nightgown, gently used, very hippie chic, $6. Wooden clogs, gently trodden, not sure how chic, $10 (but no price cut after donating a bag full of gently used clothing; business is business.)
On an early spring week day the little old ladies shopping there would have fitted at the local country club luncheon, if only with a little less make-up on.
They were commenting on how you can never have enough shoes.

Repeat department.

March 12, Jasper.

Here we go again. Torrential rains.

Circus news at last.

I've done it again.
More than a month has passed since we started the season and I haven't reported on the show yet. The Fuscos should be leaving in a few days, which will change the program of the show, but as of today here it is:

First part:
- Casey's tiger act
- Steve and Ryan digging for gold act
- Armando's bareback riding act (with the Fernandez and Josie, his sister)
- Fridman's rola bola act
- Delena Fusco's hula hoop act
- Natalie's dog act (executed by Patsy)
- web act (in progress, now only Courtney is involved; she and three others are rehearsing a dance act to go with the complete web act.)

Second part:
- Fernandez' trapeze act
- the Fusco family malambo act
- Steve and Ryan's sink act
- Armando's elephant act
- Fusco twins' juggling act.

In other circus non-news, Casey has a new tiger, a six-month pup called Shanti, named after a character in the Disney adaptation of The Jungle Book. He walks her around on a leash and she curls up to him like a kitty, hard to beat in the cute department. His act has also evolved considerably, with many new tricks.
My work, on the other hand, is regressing I'm afraid. Several times now that I've tried to get a decent picture of the Flying Fernandez for the circus program and failed miserably (in France they'd say never two without three, in failure or otherwise.) Granted there is no light and my camera has no motor drive, which loosely amounts to trying to drive a Ferrari with snow boots, but then again, incompetence loves excuses.
Finally, there is romance in the air (no pun intended; it doesn't involve any Fernandez family member.)
Enough said.

A trailer with a view.

March 12, Jasper, Texas (29 miles, rodeo arena.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

White curtain.

March 11, Woodville.


March 11, Woodville.

Out of the dumps.

March 11, Woodville.

Ah, the joy of being back on Kelly Miller-style lots.

A trailer with a view.

March 11, Woodville, Texas (69 miles, old football stadium.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


March 10, Trinity, Texas (50 miles, middle school football field.)

A trailer with a view.

March 10, Trinity, Texas (50 miles, middle school football field.)

Monday, March 09, 2009


March 9, Shepherd.

At mile 48 of the road this morning, Cut and Shoot, pop. 1,558.
Things forgotten in the Nicolas mess: on highway 281 heading out of the McAllen area a sign reading Wayne Hitt Law Enforcement Center.


March 9, Shepherd.


March 9, Shepherd.

Thanks Tavana!
On the route slip this morning she'd written: Welcome home, Nicolas! We hope the "Fridman" family stays well.
Yes, we're all better now - and obsessively washing our hands.

A trailer with a view.

March 9, Shepherd, Texas (82 miles, Shepherd city park.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A trailer with a view.

March 8, Navasota, Texas (53 miles, Logan field.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Next in line.

March 7, Sealy.

After Nicolas (almost out of the woods) and Dylan (still not able to eat but no more fever) it's my turn.

A trailer with a view.

March 7, Sealy, Texas (37 miles, lot across from old high school.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Health care scare.

March 6, Needville.

Watching Dylan's sudden high fever slowly subside and Nicolas waking up from a nap himself again, thinking back on the ordeal of the last two days and what it is about hospitals that makes me want to run away.
It is a most common trait I imagine; one no doubt heightened by the memory of seeing my father die in a hospital bed. Or is it just the fear of losing control, the reason I didn't want to give birth my children in a hospital and didn't? Or the fear of putting a finger in what is basically a dysfunctional health care system?
All these together, most likely.
It could have been oh-so much worse, this ordeal, this was just a blimp on the road compared to the myriad of illnesses and accidents out there, and still, in a 24-hour stay at the Driscoll Children's Hospital and only one personnel rotation we saw ten nurses, four doctors and residents, and four social workers, in addition to the expected chaplain and a hospital hygiene checker, for lack of a better expression (yes, the nurses did clean their hands, if not every time at least a reasonable amount of times; but no, the bathroom's cleanliness was not exactly noteworthy.)
Out-of-control health care costs? How about cutting down just a tad on the redundancy, what with its dizzying and unsettling effect on the already stressed-out parents?
The good thing is that but for the occasional grumpy one, all the personnel attending us were courteous, attentive and efficient, not to mention that they put my son back on his feet.

Life interrupted.

March 6, Needville.

Nicolas was admitted into Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi on Wednesday with severe dehydration caused by an acute stomach virus infection.
Basically my worst nightmare.
He'd started vomiting everything including water the day before; I'd taken him to an after-hour clinic and he seemed to be doing better, he wasn't vomiting anymore; the next day, Wednesday, he started vomiting again and deteriorated rapidly after that, becoming lethargic to the point where he was but a rag doll when we rushed to the nearest clinic ten miles away, only to be sent directly to the hospital.
A simple diet of white rice water and low doses of fluid might have prevented the whole debacle. I failed as a mother as well.
He was given an IV and I spent the night with him at the hospital, and Fridman and Dylan in a motel nearby. He was discharged at 5 PM Thursday and we drove directly to the next town where the circus was, 60 miles away.
Only it is not over yet.
We discovered Dylan laying in his own vomit this morning, and later Nicolas started vomiting again after breakfast.
Life as I know it is all but interrupted; nothing counts but to make them well again.

A trailer with a view.

March 6, Needville, Texas (92 miles, fairgrounds.)

No trailer with a view.

March 5, Port Lavaca, Texas (63 miles, Wilson park.)

A trailer with a view.

March 4, Aransas Pass, Texas (48 miles, community park.)