* The Barons *

Wrisley Acrobatic Team

Dear Jim, Pat & Deajean,

Lane with the Barons 3Wherever you are now, I’m the ‘kid’ with the sailor suit on, running through the audience yelling “Hey wait for me”……racing up onto the stage and leaping onto Jim’s feet via Wrisley Box.

Remember that awkward little kid practicing handstands on the street corner while waiting for the school bus? Your daughter Dea knocked on my door and invited me to come for a try out during one of your outdoor rehearsals.

Lane with the Barons 2Today I can still smell the canvass off that giant trampoline, feel the leather safety belt harnessed to my waist and feel the air rushing by as I gained height spinning into somersaults. Pat I’m remembering the 2­High & 3­High shoulder stands, Jim the ‘overhead hand to hand stands’ and Deajean our overhead one arm ‘arabesque.’

Rehearsals turned into travel, a packed ‘Nash Rambler’ piled high with gear, cris-crossing the country come rain or shine, destination ‘State Fairs.’ Dea and I slept hard stretched out in the cargo area and suddenly we woke up to tent city with stardom swarming everywhere—dancers, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, high divers and animal acts.

The Barons Family
Jim, Pat and Deajean

After the afternoon & evening showtimes, nostalgia was walking the ‘Midway.’ Clowns, balloons, cotton candy, frosty drinks and home cookin. Nights lit up with carnival lights and music with all the ‘rides’ a kid could dream of. Remember the ‘Tilt A Whirl’ & the ‘Ferris Wheel’ which got stuck for an hour where we felt so lucky to be on top?

Yes, how I remember. When the show came to an end and a new direction was to beckon me, I took with me the ‘Baron Family’ who were major in shaping my life through discipline and the achievement of peak performance. The continuum of ballet training to distance running to body building, thrives into my senior years whereby this is my tribute to ‘The Barons’ for the honor of once being a part of their family and teachings that are lasting me a lifetime.

Lane with the Barons

Elaine Neihardt Smith