Monday, October 25, 2010

I had wanted to go to Circus World Museum in Baraboo ever since I could remember. The romance of the circus, the free-spirited performers, the draw of the open road. Imagine a job where you travel from town to town, every day a new adventure. Hasn’t every kid wanted to run away with the circus at one time or another? Probably not anymore, huh?

In July of 1996, when I was well past being a wide-eyed child, my boyfriend of 14 months took me and my two kids there. I think I got more of a kick out of it then they did. We had to go to the “Lemonade and Popcorn” circus under the big top. It would have been much more enjoyable if the heat index hadn’t been approaching ninety-five.

We got through it though and drove unto our hotel in Madison for that night. Lucky for everyone else traveling through Madison, Wisconsin, they tore down this particular hotel shortly after we stayed there. Last time I drove through that part of town, a Walgreens stood on that corner.

The hotel basically stunk. It was old and rundown and the air conditioning wasn't working. Not a good thing at all in the July heat and humidity. We took the kids swimming in the pool but that didn’t even do much to cool anyone off.
The worst part of the whole night was watching the ten o’clock news. Because our hometown was mentioned for a tornado that had passed by. I immediately called my mom.

“Oh, yes, you better call your sister, because she was at your house when the tornado went through.”

“What?” Nick was incredibly bummed out for having totally missed it.

I called my sister Pat. “What happened?”

She and her friend Angie were driving by our road when they saw a funnel cloud approaching from the west. They sped to our house and broke in through a basement window to wait out the storm. There wasn’t much damage in our yard, just limbs down. But a house a mile away was completely destroyed.

In all the excitement, Pat left her Tenneco Packaging cap at our house when she and Angie left after a few hours. We still have that dirty green baseball cap as a memento.

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