Dear Smirkus Family and Friends,
Yesterday afternoon, in the hot July sun, under our beautiful blue Big Top, we honored a circus great and a man entrenched in the history of Smirkus, Rick Davis.
A former Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey clown, he was also the co-director of the Silver Lining Circus Camp, a developmental circus arts program and Circus Learning, an in-school and after-school program that teaches learning skills and personal values through circus arts.
So, when it came time for Circus Smirkus to choose a director for our school residency program it was given he would be our choice. His involvement in teaching circus arts to children for the past 40 years made him the perfect candidate for the job and his magical spirit and enthusiasm for circus and empowering youth made him a perfect fit for Smirkus. Not to mention, the laundry list of Smirkos that has graced our ring under his tutelage.
Last year, Rick was the victim of a hit and run accident and miraculously, only needed a hip replacement. Weeks later a tumor was discovered in his brain, and since then he has been battling cancer with a spirit unique to Rick. I won’t lie, tears filled my eyes the first time I heard this devastating tale even though I had never met Rick or his wonderful wife, Jackie Davis.
However, yesterday was not about mourning tribulation, but a celebration of life, love and laughter. At the end of our matinee the entire Circus Smirkus cast and crew along with the help of a slew of Ringling Clowns, our South Windsor, CT, sponsors the Silk City Chorus, Circus Smirkus Executive Director Ed Leclair and Rick’s wife, Jackie and daughter Ellie (Erin, Rick’s other daughter, couldn’t make it but was there in spirit) gave a beautiful tribute to a man who has brought so much joy into the world and touched so many hearts.
We began with the Silk City Chorus singing acapella creating a touching moment that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house and then in true circus fashion an epic pie fight ensued with Rick delivering the first pie into Circus Smirkus Artistic Director, Troy Wunderle’s face. Mere words cannot express this moment and I apologize because I cannot do it justice or put into words how it felt to be a part of something so special or an organization that cares so dearly for its members. But, if you know Rick and Jackie, and I am sure many of you reading this blog do, you know the kindness in their eyes and whimsy in their spirits are touching enough, just multiple that by 1 million.
’till next time,
This is the moment,
This is the day,
When I send all of my doubts and demons,
On their way,
I have made ever
Is coming into play,
Is here and now today,
– This is the Moment (Sung by the Silk City Chorus at Rick’s Tribute)