Run away and join the circus


Most of the time, when my husband and I get the chance for a night on the town, you can find us cozied up over a bag of popcorn (OK, maybe a bucket … don’t judge!) in the middle row at the movies.

I was bitten by the movie bug early in life with a string of Disney hits like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.” So even today, when I'm head-to-head with an opportunity to unwind, it’s still my favorite pastime. Typically, we’ll alternate who does the movie picking, and after we saw the newest Thor movie, which I legitimately liked, it was my turn to choose, and I was all in for “The Greatest Showman.”

In the advent of the DVR, Netflix and Hulu, it’s more difficult to hear about new movies, but I got wind of this P.T. Barnum story from a coworker, and much to my delight … it was a musical! I don’t typically get girlishly excited for movies anymore, but as the previews rolled through I found myself getting antsy with anticipation: Hugh Jackman, two hours of quiet time, show tunes AND popcorn … oh, my! The movie started off with a bang, and, in my personal opinion, doesn’t disappoint.

As a child, I remember loving the circus and being fascinated by the trapeze artists, fire throwers, jugglers and performing animals. I had no idea horses could prance like royalty, lions could jump through fire, or that an elephant could sit on command like a puppy. I was mesmerized. So after we left the movie I hopped on my phone and started Googling away to soak up all the Barnum circus facts I could, but, more importantly, find out when the next circus was coming to town.

It didn’t take long before I realized that it had been almost eight months since the last Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performance, and after 146 years “The Greatest Show on Earth” had officially closed its doors. I was shocked and sad that I wouldn’t get to share this piece of my childhood with my own kids like my parents had with me. Watching the movie, you can see the joy on everyone’s faces, children especially, as they watch the show unfold, and I so badly wanted to experience that with my family.

In the digital age, we have the privilege of getting to see just about anything we want in a matter of moments. It only took me a few clicks, and a minute or two learn all about the original “acts,” like General Tom Thumb, but in the world of the mid-1800s there was no internet, and one quite literally “had to be there.” However, the movie ends with one of “Phin’s” most famous quotes.

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.” – P.T. Barnum

Unfortunately, the circus has closed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to see that type of joy and wonderment on my children’s faces. Mr. Barnum put on a show to bring happiness to others. Now I can’t parade clowns and tigers through the living room, but I think I’ll accept the challenge of dazzling my own tiny crowd from time to time.

Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.


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