A Circus

Delta Winds cover 2003Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


A Circus

Cary Farruggia

Farruggia family gatherings are like attending the Circus. A Circus comes through town only once a year. Every holiday, birthday, and reunion is an opportunity for a view of the Farruggia family circus. There is a Ring Leader, Magician, Lion Tamer, a pair of Acrobats, Clowns, Animals, and a Snack Vendor at our Circus. At first glance, it appears we are all calm and tame beasts. After a few minutes in the house, the family falls into their natural roles and the fun and excitement begin.

The Ring Leader of our family Circus is Matt, my husband. Happy or Grumpy, Matt's moods determine how the family behaves. When Matt is in a happy mood the family knows their role before the event begins. If by chance Matt is a little grumpy, the family takes a different role tiptoeing around on a high wire until he relaxes. Our Ring Leader is known for getting the party started and sparking the giggles from the kids. Matt directs the family in an orchestrated manner and makes the gathering flow smoothly.

My sister in law, Lisa, is the family magician. Somehow, she always has a bag of tricks up her sleeves to keep the children entertained. Lisa has an animated voice that carries through the house. Reactions are thrills and shrills, as tricks appear from her sleeves, which keep the noisiest audiences entertained. When our magician whips out a trick oohh's and Aww's can be heard from the crowd. Shockingly, Lisa's talents are unlimited, allowing the rest of the family to continue with their roles.

Next in line we find the family lion tamer, juggler, and head clown, otherwise known as Grandpa Chuck. Chuck has many talents and plays a dominant role. One minute he tames the grandchildren, the next he juggles a story. Grandpa always has a few gifts hidden up his sleeve to spoil the wildest of beasts. Grandpa has special identities like the chicken man, fish lips, and the wild bronco. Without Grandpa, there would be no show.

Children fall into the acrobat, animal and clown categories. Running, jumping, climbing, and soaring, our children entertain all who watch. Fearlessly, the kids try new acts on our family each time they play. Sometimes they are cranky beasts resembling lions and tigers. Then they can be entertaining, dancing and singing like poodles. Beware as naptime or bedtime inch closer, miniature monkeys begin jumping from the furniture. Mimicking Grandpa Chuck, the head clown, our kids can be heard giggling and screaming as they try to repeat his funny tricks.

Then there is the captive audience. Friends and family that come to experience a Farruggia family gathering are always entertained. Sometimes they hold special roles and other visits they sit back and watch. Waiting for what will happen next can be quiet entertaining and with this group of people no one will be let down. Unexpected surprises pop out at every gathering.

Supporting roles, are acts I perform the best. My best supporting role is as the snack vendor. When needed I am a contortionist. If somebody is not satisfied I can bend any direction to please. Janitorial duties are always my responsibility. Running around the house, I pick up toys, food, and messes the family finds themselves in.

Unlike a "real" circus, popcorn, peanuts, and cotton candy are not usually found here. Depending on the event, I supply traditional meals and untraditional snacks. Traditional meals include Italian dishes: Linguine and Baby Clams, Ox Tails, Ravioli, and Linguica. Untraditional snacks are Blue's Clues treats, Graham crackers, goldfish crackers, Tang (nicknamed "monkey juice" in our house). Occasionally, you will find circus treats for special occasions like birthday parties. Snow cones are the favorite summertime treat, and hot buttery popcorn will be eaten all year long.

A circus is not a traditional term used to describe family functions. Somehow I find the term applies to the Farruggia family gatherings. Holidays, birthdays, and reunions are sure to be entertaining. If people sit still long enough they too will find a part in the Farruggia family circus. Come one, come all, to our home where you will feel like you are under the "big top" every time.