Friday, November 19, 2010

The Torture-Proof Man

"Strange we hold on to things that have no grace or power
While death holds on to us much more with every passing hour

And all the time you thought it would last
Your life, your friends would always be
'Til they're drunk away or shot away or die away from you."

-- George Harrison

I'm proud to point out the obvious: you don't see many Family Portraits like this one. I found it the other night while going through a box full of stuff that the auctioneers had thrown together during those awful three days. I hadn't seen it in years.

It was taken at an Antique Show at the A________ Civic Center, probably thirty years ago. Mom always put up an elaborate booth, usually with the wooden "house" flats that she'd painted herself, but for a while she displayed this circus sideshow banner, and this one time we dressed for the occasion. My mother is the clown, I'm the Ringmaster, and my sister is in the lion costume.

This is actually quite appropriate, because for the last thirty years she's been lyin'.

Sam Pennington, the editor of the Maine Antique Digest, was tickled by our act, and he insisted on taking the picture. You can see it in full size at my Flickr account, just follow the link in the sidebar.

I still have the vest and tailcoat, but don't fit into them anymore, and my leather top hat tooled with a black rose was taken by the auctioneer's crew, sometime when I was distracted, along with my winter leather jacket! The clownish jacket that my mother is wearing is something that she made. I'm sure I still have it. And the lion costume is safe with me. Here he is in color:

The Torture-Proof Man sideshow banner is the real thing, a genuine relic from a nameless circus of long ago. I tried to find it in the weeks and months after Mom died, but had no luck. So I was actually pleased when the auctioneer's crew did find it, and laid it out on the front lawn. It wasn't lost after all. Perhaps it was under her bed. That wouldn't surprise me!

It's going to be auctioned off early next year, and I hope it gets a good home. I'm OK with that, because it was too big for my new home (and, psst! Don't tell the auctioneer or anyone else, but I withheld a second, smaller sideshow banner that will have a special place somewhere in my next life!)

Who was it said: "Damn it all. Damn everything but the circus."

-- Freder

1 comment:

  1. I just watched two episodes of "Circus" on PBS.
    Nice to see the other side of an american circus. Quite a long way from "Cirque du soleil" which is drowning in money.
    It was a bit redundant in many places but many characters where nice to discover.


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