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Jameson and I spent the night in Duluth, so that he could rest up and fight off the flu. The train would take a long time to reach Cincinnati, so we were in no hurry.

On Monday morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast, then went to a shipping store so I could mail off my spare trombone slide to a buyer in New York. I hope he'll enjoy it! After that we hit the road, reaching our second hotel in Knoxville TN around dinnertime. We decided to eat at a nearby Outback Steakhouse, and although the food tasted good both of us felt bad after eating, so we spent the rest of the night lying flat on our backs in the hotel room.

On Tuesday we began driving to Cincinnati, and got there in time for dinner again. We found a good pizza place for some oven-fired margherita. After our meal we saw that the train was still not in the yard (we are always late to arrive in Cinci due to the high volume of rail traffic). We decided to see a movie and if the train wasn't spotted or close to it by the time we got out (10pm) we'd get another hotel. We chose M. Night Shyamalan's "Split". It was really creepy, and at the end there was, of course, a twist! We really enjoyed the movie. By the time it was over the train still wasn't in the yard, so we decided to cave and get a hotel. It turned out to be the right choice as the train ended up officially spotting sometime after midnight.

On Wednesday there was another round of severance negotiations in the morning, so Jameson took us back to the train and waited while I sat in on that phone conference. We are making progress, and I'm excited for the day when we'll be finished negotiating. After the meeting we went to get some groceries. As we returned to the train and began unpacking, I was surprised by a visit from Brian Miser, a former Human Cannon with Ringling and a current Human Cannon in his own right. Mr. Miser is thinking of purchasing one of the Ringling train cars for a project he's putting together. Cool! I invited him into my room to look around and take some measurements. He also took a look at Jameson's room, since it's a different size and shape. While I'm sad that the train is being sold off, it does make me happy that a circus person is considering purchasing this piece of circus history...I'd like it if this car, which I consider to be "my home", ends up in good hands rather than a scrap yard. I was too shy to take a photo while Brian was in my room, but snapped a quick pic as he went outside to inspect the undercarriage and such.

The weather was sunny and windy, and since we're here for two weeks I decided to take my flytraps outside and keep them there until the weather turns. I'll be pretty ticked if anyone runs them over.

They have begun growing again since I took them out of the fridge, so maybe they'll be all right!

Later in the day Jameson finally got his offer of employment letter from LA Film School. It's official, he's leaving us. I'm very happy for him, but of course it's hard not to be sad, too. Neither of us wanted to leave this job yet. Neither of us wanted to have to think about living and working apart. But what we want never does have much to do with the big picture, does it?

Thursday seemed like a long day. I feel so anxious, waiting to find out where I'll end up after the circus closes. I borrowed Jameson's car to run a few small errands...nothing important, I just wanted to get off the train for a bit. When I got back I cooked and cleaned and read and stared blankly at all of my bookmarked job searches, I suppose hoping that some magical music-related job in Florida or on tour had opened up in the hour that I'd been gone. No such luck. I spent the evening watching a movie and fidgeting.

Friday was opening day. We had a fairly full rehearsal because our ringmaster is out with some sort of illness; Taba (tiger trainer)'s daughter Tabata is filling in for her, and doing a great job! On the bandstand we had a little keyboard switcheroo, too. When Jameson leaves next week, Matt (key 2) will have to cover his book, and Tom (former key 2) will be our sub to finish the tour on Matt's book. Tom's not here yet, but it's a good idea for Matt to start getting used to the key 1 setup and all the differences in the parts. All this meant that Jameson was on my side of the stage, sightreading the key 2 book while Matt played his key 1 book. Fun stuff!

The show that evening went well. Tabata did a great job on her first night as ringmaster!

After the show I confided to Jameson that I was worried about how things would turn out for us. I had spent the day in a somewhat depressed mood, still worrying about what might happen if I have to take a job away from him. Like I've said, we've talked about this many times, but my feelings on the subject are careening all over the place on a daily basis. One day I feel excited and happy that we're both going to get to try new things and further our skills sets, even if it's separately. And the next day I feel like this is the most horrible thing that could ever happen and I'm convinced that if I don't find a job in Florida, I'll never see him again. I guess it's hard to accept that in just a few days, our lives and our relationship will be changing drastically, for better or worse.

Fortunately, Jameson is a very logical and level-headed guy. He knows how I feel...he's upset too, of course. But the undeniable truth, as he explained to me Friday night, is that our feelings aren't a predictor for how things will turn out. We don't know what will happen. So there's no point in worrying and getting heartbroken as though this is the last time we'll be together. Our feelings for each other haven't changed. We've been blessed to have all of this wonderful time together on the circus. And now it's time for us to do what so many other couples do, and try to hack it in the real world with real jobs where things aren't so hunky-dory for our relationship. I would never demand that Jameson move to be closer to me, or that he take a less-fulfilling job in order to be closer to me. I never, never want to limit or restrict him. And he has expressed many times that he would never do that to me, either. So really, since we're agreed upon that, the only thing left to us is to trust each other, and to keep in touch as best we can once we embark on our separate adventures.

I still don't like it, but talking it out (again) made me feel better and made me realize that any decision based on fear would be a poor decision. We will both try to make it work, and that's all that matters.

Saturday, three shows. All were packed. I have zero pictures because I forgot my phone at the train (happens once a year haha) but nothing photo-worthy happened as far as I know anyway. A very routine day!

Sunday, I remembered my phone. Here's Tabata as Ringmaster. You go girl!

I took this pic at random after the tiger act and before the dog act. I like to watch floor crew tearing down and setting up.

It was a nice two show day. Jerome (bass) brought doughnuts for Slick Sunday too, but I forgot to take a picture.
After the last show Jameson and I returned to the train. The weather is supposed to be kind of nasty over the next few days, but we're thinking about hitting the gym one last time and maybe running other necessary errands.

We'll be playing another week here in Cincinnati, and then Jameson leaves us to start his new adventure <3

Other stuff:

Our former trumpet player and dear friend, Brian "Slick" Anderson, is buried just two hours away in Louisville KY. Some circus folks went to visit him while we were here. Keep it funky, keep it sexy, keep it classy! We love you Slick <3

(photos courtesy Claudia P.)

Luigi (the goat) and Alexandre (the human) coming off the arena floor. Video is courtesy Stacey T.

Colonel (horse) nuzzling Judah (human).

(photo courtesy Judah L.W.)

Robert Stipka, our former horse and camel trainer, standing next to a baby camel born on the Swiss Circus Royal where he currently works.

(photo courtesy Robert S)

Jessi, former Ringling veterinarian, takes her newborn son to a circus to meet an elephant. The elephants on this circus are cared for by a former Ringling handler. 

(photo courtesy Jessi G.)

Next to the Cincinnati train yard there are several businesses. This one is called Arnold Printing. The circus has no relationship with this company whatsoever, yet they still made us this touching sign, to say farewell. Our train has parked across from their offices every year, and it seems they will miss the sight. We'll miss you too. Thank you <3

(photo courtesy Corrin M.)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Richard Flint
Mar. 16th, 2017 06:25 am (UTC)
After I submitted a comment to last week's post you responded "OOoooooh they're gonna get more poignant that's for sure." You are so right. So nice to see Tripp and Jessi, Brian, and other friends I knew from my time on the road. Sad that the great connection of the show and its train will disappear, separating us from the bond that brought us together. Though I hardly know Jameson, I so feel for you both as change comes so soon. The only good seems to be that he is one of the lucky early ones finding a new job; please give him my best wishes. Hoping to visit in Wilkes-Barre.
Mar. 18th, 2017 12:20 am (UTC)
Norfolk Performance Can we meet?

How are you?

Myself, Father and son will be coming to see the circus on Thursday, March 23rd.

I was wondering if we could meet you. I have some Va. honey I bought for you. I have been reading your blog and have really enjoyed it.

My Father, 84, is a big circus fan. He grew up in Wisconsin around all of the shows. He is going to Circus World this summer, they are having a RBBB Reunion July 20-23rd.

In fact, I just took my Dad to Sarasota to the Circus Museum right before Christmas. Anyway, we are devastated, just like everyone and this will be our last memory.

My Dad wanted to know if he could come see the train one last time. I told him I would write and ask you. Also, I would be glad to take you to the grocery store or on errands if you need to go. I am not sure what time you have to be at the arena on Thursday. If Thursday does not work, maybe Friday?

Thank-you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Amy Shay

Mar. 18th, 2017 02:07 am (UTC)
Re: Norfolk Performance Can we meet?
Hi Amy, nice to meet you!

Of course, I'd love to meet you and your family!

On Thursday during the day we have some load-in activities, a meeting, and rehearsal, so even though the show is at night I do have to be at the arena all afternoon :/

If you are able to get into the arena for the animal open house (starts at 6pm) or the preshow (starts at 6:30pm) I would be happy to come find you and meet you then! I will send my phone number so that we can contact each other on the day of the show.

As far as seeing the train, I will have to get back to you on that. I don't remember whether this train yard is accessible, or safe, or what the rules are (it's different for every one we visit). I will let you know as soon as I can via the email that you've provided (thank you!).

I'm sorry to say that Friday is also busy for me because I used to work in VA and have a lot of friends there, and am meeting with several of them throughout the day. I suspect I won't be able to spend quality time with you guys, but I'm sure we can figure out a way to at least say hello on Thursday!

That's very kind of you to bribe me with honey! Heehee! ;)

I'll email you!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )