Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ten Weeks With A Circus

Dirty Jack’s for some of us, was a lot like joining the circus. The theater was the big top. Jon Stainbrook was the Ringmaster; Nancy was the attractive trapeze artist; Doc Holt was the primary barker; Rhonda Willford was the ticket mistress; and Uncle “Rondo” was the advance man. The three-ring included “Butch,” the performing mule. The audience was king.

If Dirty Jack’s seemed like joining the circus to us, imagine how it might have felt to an eight year old--the son of the “Ringmaster.” “Jon Jon” Stainbrook was there that summer, wide-eyed (as we were) with the magic of it all.

His experiences are reminiscent of the plot summary of a book (later a movie) called “Ten Weeks With A Circus:”

“…[the child protagonist] decides to leave life on the farm and joins up with a traveling circus...befriending eccentric and colorful characters, he is given the chance to fulfill his dreams by performing a daring horseback trick in front of a packed crowd...when he learns that his relatives have been searching for him, [he] discovers the true meaning of acceptance....”

There were certainly "eccentric and colorful characters!" You might recognize the summary (and book) as “Toby Tyler.”

Jon Jon was also on stage occasionally that summer, in costume and in character, sheparded for cues, entrances and exits, by Nancy. Rick got a recent note from Jon Jon, that expressed appreciation for the rememberances. Young Jon implied that the blog was possibly over-kind to the Stainbrooks. Well, the Stainbrooks never treated us like employees. We were treated as friends from the time we hit Jackson Hole--and certainly from the time of the initial “icebreaker” dinner at Jon’s house.

Kindness was a hallmark of Jon and Nancy...we were all one family...that’s how it was...especially in the circus, Toby.