Thoughts From Times Past And A Time To Reflect …..

Sep 02


It seems that this time of the year , I reflect more than other times of the year. Maybe it is because my brother Johnnie’s birthday was September 1 , 1936 ; or maybe because my grandson Michael celebrated his 3 RD  on August 31. Could it be that we seem to have the last family get together for Labor Day? I surely recall many family picnics, night time beach bonfires, , Boy Scout gatherings , and outings to wonderful country fairs . I wouldn’t be doing this endeavour if it weren’t for the foods we ate , cooked ,savored ,coveted and enjoyed  these times with all the special people that strolled through our lives.

When my brother Ray came home from the Navy in the early 50’S , he took me to the Clyde Beatty Circus. It was one of the last times that the circus came to town on the train with a real All-American Big Top Circus!  Driving toward San Fernando ,Ca.; a little north of town and I spotted all of the commotion. My eyes got big…just as any 7 year old would experience. Everywhere I looked , there were men with tools,lugging big rolls of rope , wheeling huge trunks or carrying large folded canvas tarps. Then I saw the elephants…massive wrinkled gray trunks swaying back and forth . Pushing towering poles up while several men steadied them with guide lines . Then the canvas was pulled over the framework ; while the hulking animals pulled concession trailers in place and the former vacant lot beside the train tracks was transformed into a miracle fantasy place for a kid.

We returned the next day for the official opening and the whole scene was completely magical. Huge colorful banners touting the wild animal show that Clyde Beatty was known for fluttered high up. Some time was left before the main show was to start . Ray and I wandered the paths covered with fresh sawdust ; that smell mixed with the air wafted with hot fresh popcorn , pink cotton candy , steaming hot dogs , buttery fresh corn on the cob , and big , shiny red candy apples . I some how talked him into getting  some of just about everything there was to eat and drink . The hot dogs -with sweet relish, yellow mustard , lots of onions…salty and juicy and hot , nestled in soft steamed buns; I can taste them now; but my favorite was probably the cinnamon sweet , crunchy , big red candy apples. Probably some of the best messy food a kid can enjoy.

We found our seats , settled in to see the show…crazy clowns crammed into a tiny car ; all their antics were outrageous . The gang of little fuzzy dogs walking tight ropes , doing wild tricks and barking all the while. High wire ladies on the trapeze ; plumed fancy horses galloping around while pretty girls rode standing ; all of these were fantastic. But of course…Clyde Beatty in the ring with every type of wild beast you could imagine-hyenas, lions, tigers, leopard , bears ! His white suit , whip, chair held aloft and his pistol firing for effect left a kid mesmerized. (The Clyde Beatty Circus still exists today as the Cole Bros. Circus ; Beatty’s name was dropped in the early 2000’S. Beatty died in 1965 and is remembered as a great circus innovator . He started his circus in 1935  and it rode the rails until 1957 , before changing to trucks only.)

I also remember a union picnic at a big public park in the valley ( on Labor Day weekend ) we all went to , in those days . My stepfather Buck was in the Plasterers and Hodcarriers Union. Seemed like hundreds of people were there. I just couldn’t leave the booth that had APPLE BROWN BETTY ! It was free. I must have had three or four bowls . Those ladies just smiled and gave me another bowl…just like the a grandma they probably were. There were dozens of kids running around- lots of 3 legged sack races , egg and spoon races, pie eating contests…just all the things we remember as All American! Now those were some times to recall and reflect!


Eyes that can see . Ears that can hear , but also listen. Faith that can believe. A mind that can make choices. A heart that can love. A spirit that can laugh.  A soul that can soar to any height. A resolve that perseveres.   And a being that feels the energy and the power that is in all of us.






One comment

  1. Love you, Sweetie!

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