It was something straight out of “Setting Free the Bears,” a novel by my favorite author, John Irving. A slightly muggy, cool morning, the quiet interspersed with the sounds of a city waking up. When farther down the avenue the first of the elephants appear, and the boys faces are the picture of delight; six altogether, they tightly hold the tail of the animal in front with their trunks. Their trainers and other helpers have them surrounded more to keep the public at bay than to keep them in line, and we marvel at how quickly the procession reaches the intersection we chose to await this spectacle. They lumber past, single file, and then the ponies are passing. Then, as quickly as they appeared, the animals are gone, only an elephant-smell still lingering, and the whir of the street cleaner bringing up the rear.
My youngest celebrated his very first birthday in style yesterday, starting his day with a trip downtown to watch the circus animals walk from the train station to the Bi-Lo Center, where the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is performing through February 3rd. We heard about the circus walk from a friend, but couldn’t really find anything concrete about the time or place until the Greenville road closure website listed the exact route. We decided not to take our chances of missing anything, and arrived close to 9am allowing ample time to find parking and stake out a spot, which proved to be unnecessary as it took a while for their train to unload and for them to make their way to downtown. Still, we were glad to have made the trip, as elephants in downtown Greenville are not something we see every day!
As for the birthday boy, what can I say? It was the third day of celebrating because of the parade of guests we’ve had, and just as with any good party there was cake, kliņģeris and presents. I’m so very proud of my one-year-old. He’s walking, chattering away, climbing, moving, shaking, eating and keeping both his father and me very much on our toes. His hair takes on an auburn hue in the sun, his hands and feet are only ¼ inch shorter than his brother’s, and his 18-24 month old clothes sometimes seem a little on the short side. He loves playing with the refrigerator’s water dispenser, the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner. And he smiles, all the time. That smile is enough, most of the time. And for those times when it isn’t enough, well, there are always the elephants.