Sunday, August 12, 2012

Circus freak

Growing up, we didn’t do too much as a family. Between Mom working all the time and us being the working poor (the two may or may not be related), we didn’t have a lot of time, money and/or a vehicle for things like family camping trips, picnics, going to museums or… whatever it is that families do together.

But there were a couple things that we did almost every year. Going to the PNE and Stanley Park being the main ones. But also, the circus.

I loved the circus. Looking back, I’m not quite sure what happened at the circus as far as exhibitions. I’m sure they had trapeze artists and tigers tricks (it was the ‘80’s after all), but what I remember most are the balloons.

Heather - circus - balloons

I loved the balloons. I loved having the string wrapped around my wrist with the balloon bobbing around above my head. I loved how it trailed behind me as I walked. I loved how it quickly turned into the ball/paddle game, but instead of a ball, it was a balloon and instead of a paddle, it was my fist.

One day, as we were leaving the circus, I was playing with my balloon when the worst possible thing happened.

Heather - circus - balloon - horror

That’s right… the string securing the balloon to my wrist failed. I was horrified as I watched my balloon float higher and higher and further and further away. It was truly the worst moment of my life thus far.

Heather - circus - balloon - horror nooooo


My lower lip began to tremble. My eyes began to well with tears. My heart sank. And then Uncle Keith did the most amazing thing ever. He ran across the street, dodging cars and pedestrians, with the agility that only an uncle with two legs can have. He chased after my balloon with all his might and he caught it.

circus - balloon save

He strutted across the street with the smug look of success written all over his face; spectators cheered as he handed me my rescued balloon. The tears in my eyes dried up, my heart lifted and my lip stopped trembling. From that day forward, he was my favourite uncle.

Until Uncle Jim let me knock on his wooden leg, of course.


  1. Balloons scare me...I'm always waiting for them to explode. It was torture at kids parties having to play the game where you see who can pop their balloon first by sitting on it.

    But still, your uncle was indeed quite the hero :)

  2. LOL! My favourite Uncle is my favourite because he let me squirt him with a fake camera when I was seven.

    I've always been cheap ... but not easy. Never easy.

  3. He is a hero, I don't want to take that away from Uncle Keith, but have you seen Don Hertzfeldt's, "Billy's Red Balloon"? Because that's what this reminds me of. Beautiful story. Loved it.

  4. Kianwi - the popping of balloons is terrifying... that's why I always took really good care of mine! :)

    Kellie - easy isn't good, but cheap is a damn good time. I need to find me a fake camera and someone who's willing to let me squirt them with it... definitely making the favourite people list with that one!

    Pickleope - I haven't seen that... but now I really want to. :)

  5. Did your uncle actually dive off the top of a Nissan Cube to retrieve your balloon??


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