“Step right up. Step right up, one and all. Five cents for a million thrills, my dear. You will see the most amazing tightrope walker. Swawollee! He’s the most famous sword swallower, of all time. And it’s all right here for you…”
You enter the red and white striped tent with such excitement and anticipation. Crossing through the opening flaps, you are automatically transported back in time. Back to the early 1900’s when Circuses were at their prime. You forget about all your troubles and are in awe; mouth agape, of all that is around you. Hundreds of people sitting neatly and looking intently onto the three ring circus performance in the middle of the stage. They, and you, have all paid good money to enjoy yourselves and get lost amidst the marvels that the circus holds. Elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, tightrope walkers, fire breathers, jugglers, and unicyclists all perform such precise movements that work so perfectly together. Intertwined into somewhat of a dance, you start to believe that anything is possible. A woman, elaborately dressed is perched on top of a grand elephant and you’re automatically impressed, as how they’ve managed to train such an enormous wild animal, is beyond you. Applause raptures the entire tent, people begin to stand, few are crying, some are laughing, but everyone is having a great time.
You exit the main tent, and as you walk around the circus, enjoying the music, the sideshows and admiring the other guests, you suddenly stop in your tracks. Something has caught your attention. It isn’t a bearded lady, that has captivated you. Nor a tattooed man, or even a contortionist. No, this is something much more mesmerizing than a circus performer. This is something that even you can’t resist, and are willing to pay an arm and a leg for. The smell of warm pretzels fills your nose and instantly makes your stomach growl. It wouldn’t be a trip to the circus without a “carnival” snack. You make your way through the crowd, searching for the vendor with the treasure you seek. By now nighttime has fallen, the circus’ music is playing all around you, and the white light bulbs hanging on strings up above are the only form of illumination. The crowd is thick and tricky to maneuver through, you feel like you can’t breathe as smoke fills and burns your lungs. All you want is a warm pretzel and somehow you can’t seem to find it. You continue to make your way through the crowd, more determined than ever. You search and search and see people dipping pretzels into mustard. Finally, some progress. You resist the urge to bite people’s pretzels.
You look up, and there in the distance you see a beacon of light. A tiny cart illuminated with heat lamps, emitting the most powerful and enticing smell of all; warm soft baked pretzels. A man in a striped shirt, a vest and a bow tie is standing behind it, inviting guests to buy. With the horrible thought of pretzels running out, you pick up your pace, dash for the cart, pushing and shoving people out of the way. Now is not the time for formalities, pretzels are on the line. When you finally get to the cart you ask for three pretzels. A stern look. “Oh my children are waiting for me somewhere.” A lie. You haven’t any children. No, the three pretzels are for you. You scarf down the first one in pure delight. The second one you take your time and even make an effort to dip each piece into a bit of mustard. You’re relaxed now. Slowly walking through the circus, enjoying the crisp cold air, the music, the lights, you slowly and meticulously eat your last pretzel. You’re not sure if you’ll ever come back. If you will once again have the pleasure to encounter such an enjoyable atmosphere. If the time came, you’re positive that you could live without the circus, if need be. But one thing is for sure. Never in a million years could you live without warm soft pretzels. With a smile on your face, a warmth in your heart, and a happy stomach you make your way home with nothing but pretzels on your mind.