By Sally Madison
Sandusky, Ohio will be in Millie’s memory for every. It was just another show, just like the previous 10 years of shows. All the people had left, and there, in front of Milliie’s station, was a bouquet of flowers. They were long stemmed white cala lilies in tissue paper. Where they had come from was a mystery. She had not seen anyone carrying the flowers. In fact, she had learned to avert her eyes from the crowds of people. Her friend and circus train car mate, JoAnne, the Bearded Lady, came running over exclaiming, “Millie, look ! Look ! Someone brought you flowers. You must have really made a friend of someone.” Millie was shocked; no one had ever given her flowers before. Her usual angry personality did a 180 degree turn, in a single smell. She wrapped her opulent arms around the bundle, as her heart softened and she smiled.
JoAnne watched the transformation of her friend, and seethed with jealousy. She turned and left to search for her boyfriend, John, the funambulist. If Millie got flowers, she had better get some too, but they better, maybe roses. He had better, or she would wrap that tight rope of his, around his cheap neck.
With the precious treasure in her arms, Millie waddled her way to the back to her car. Normally, she would go to the mess tent, as soon as the crowd left, but today she wanted to be alone. She wanted to enjoy her flowers, alone.
Babes, the Snake Charmer, called out to Millie, as she passed her car, “Hey Millie, aren’t you coming to dinner?”
Millie responded, “I’m not hungry, I’ll see you later,” as she encased herself in the pleasure of the moment. In her mind her facade melted into the beautiful young woman, she use to be, full of promise and hope. She still loved music, and it was easy to write songs to the rhythm of the train cars, as they rattled down the tracks.
JoAnne opened the door, like the wind of a tornado had ripped it open. “I want to know right now, where you got those flowers! I’ll make sure that Mr. Ringling knows about this!”
Millie, angry at the intrusion into her private thoughts, yelled back, “It’s none of your business. Leave me alone! Go to hell!”
Babes entered the mess hall with news that got everyone’s attention. Millie wasn’t hungry. “What? Millie not hungry… She must be sick…” “Where we are going to get a doctor?” “Will she hold up the show?” “Will we leave her behind?” Before the gossip hit the other side of the mess hall, rumor had it that Millie had died, and Mr. Ringling had sent flowers to her train car.