Grace and fun in the eyes of a clown


I’ve been to Europe a number of times, and the thing that most stirs my passion is the history of the continent.

I like the feeling I get when I walk on ground that I know has been under the feet people for thousands of years.

Even though this country, and this area of the state, doesn’t really have that kind of history, what is present is just as interesting.

There was a man in this area who made his living making people laugh, and even keeping them safe. His name was Roy Quinn, and he was a clown. Not the kind of clown we might be used to, say a rodeo clown, but an honest-to-God circus performing, juggling, birthday party clown.

He covered a large area of the country with different troupes, entertaining all the way. At the same time, he was a firefighter, and an avid letter writer — peppering newspapers with his thoughts.

I came across Mr. Quinn when a customer brought his life story in the form of newspaper clippings and old photographs to the Meteor. It was a fun way to pass the time in traveling to the turn of the century.

He was an example of how life was viewed ever so differently back in the day. Maybe that’s why I like the feeling of the history of the place — the memories and feelings of simpler times.

I don’t want to be seen as a Luddite, but I really miss the times when clowns were popular and their antics appreciated, not like today, when most times you see those types of clowns there’s murder, mayhem and blood involved.

More and more, technology has improved how we learn, how we travel, how we relax. But also more and more, people’s necks are permanently stuck at a 45-degree angle, staring at the latest cat picture or political rant.

I miss the days when circuses and clowns and things of that nature could fill a child — and many adults — with wonder, could spark the imagination, could bestow sense of fellowship and well-being on everyone.

We’ve become so cynical a people, that spend our time looking for the great thrill on a phone, or iPad, or computer screen, when the best adventures are in the mind, in the doing, in the being with and part of something.

Thanks, Roy, for the memories, melancholy though they may be, of the wonder I experienced as a child, and reminding me that past is not always perfect, but it never is bad.

•Our Headline of Note comes from and the heady world of fashion: The soft power impact of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's decorative collars.

These pieces of cloth essentially made famous by the Supreme Court justice are just the thing to prove she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Forget that she graduated Columbia Law School at the top of her class, or that she taught civil procedure at Rutgers as a woman in a field dominated by men; forget her volunteer work with the ACLU, or her being appointed to the appellate bench by President Jimmy Carter; forget she’s been a justice on the highest court in the land for a quarter of a century.

Let’s focus on her sartorial splendor, cause that’s what’s important.

Not the way to move toward gender equality.

Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.