Every evening before we tear down the site, the staff gathers on the bleachers inside the Big Top to eat dinner and discuss the next day’s “jump.” These meetings are aptly called “jump meetings” and throughout this tour, I’ve become familiar with the feeling of déjà vu while I eat my dinner and our operations director, Judy Gaeth, moderates the order of business. I will admit that at first glance, the details regarding parking, grey water disposal, or laundry availability seemed excessive. It would be a mistake to think so, as I’ve learned over the past few months. These meetings are an opportunity for us as a team to review our performance, share needs or problems, and at the conclusion, create solutions and plan for the journey ahead.
But what happens when that journey comes to a close in just a few short days? Last night’s meeting addressed all of the same points as the meetings in Saratoga, NY; Richmond, RI; or Hanover, NH but this time the details were shared with a touch of bittersweet humor. Everyone is both looking forward to and reluctant to move back to Greensboro, and that paradox is explained in that the red farmhouse at the end of Circus Road is home to us all, but our arrival will signify the end of the tour.
As we come to face the fact that the end of tour is upon us, it is heartening to know that The 2012 Big Top Tour will go out with a bang. The 25th anniversary alumni show and gala will be the best way to say farewell to this tour and begin the anticipation and excitement the coming years. We will celebrate what Smirkus has achieved in its 25 years and share stories with those who have experienced the Smirkus magic firsthand.
In Waltham, when we were at our halfway mark, trouper counselor Danielle Kehlmann told me “Right now is forever” and as we near the literal and figurative end of the road, it is important to stay focused on the task at hand. And where we placed our collective energy was in our meeting as we prepared for the journey of under an hour to Greensboro.
The meeting ended with the distribution of the staff t-shirt. I don’t recall the last time I saw my name printed on an article of clothing, probably for T-ball. I took a medium and walked out into the evening sunshine, content with the sun on my face, the food in my belly, and the company around me.
Evan Johnson, Communications Intern