Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - July 29, 2004

Three-ring circus

Our three-ring circus packed up and left town a week ago. After a six-week stay in Kansas, my sister and her girls returned to Bolivia.

During that six weeks, we played musical cars, house keys and beds. We had no ringmaster, although Mom tried hard to be one. Her house on the west side of Manhattan seemed to be the center ring, with its location being the mid-point between our house and various other points of activity.

Gaila, Gabriela and Larisa had the summer off from their school in La Paz, where Gaila is the elementary librarian.

Most days Art and I continued our jobs and worked with Mariya on the apartment we're fixing up for her freshman year at K-State while Katie tagged along with Gaila and her girls. Art, Mariya and I joined the rest of the gang when we could.

The first act for us girls was to see "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" on opening day. We're all fans of the Harry Potter books so we just had to see the third movie in the series.

The next act followed the next day - my nephew's wedding in Salina. We all had bit parts for that event. The three younger girls passed out programs at the wedding and Mariya read a Scripture verse. Gaila and I were gift takers and Art videotaped the whole affair, beginning with the rehearsal dinner the night before, continuing with pre-wedding preparations and the wedding vows, and ending with the late-night reception. Uncle Stan and Aunt Kay added to the circus by traveling from California for the occasion.

Two days after the wedding, Mariya flew to Mexico with her Spanish teacher and fellow students.

During her week-long stay, ring one involved our doing a bit of traveling ourselves. Gaila and I took Mom, Stan and Kay to Burns where we met my brother Dave and his wife Linda. While there, we ate at the local café, toured the museum, had our photo taken for the church directory and checked out the various painted concrete roosters on parade.

Two days later, I took those in the center ring - Mom, Stan and Kay - to Abilene, where we saw D-Day and other World War II exhibits at the Eisenhower Museum and ate at the Kirby House.

After Mariya returned from Mexico, we girls - including Mom - traveled to Council Grove one day to see Aunt Edith. Another day we visited the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson where we enjoyed the planetarium and the various space exhibits. Was that ring three? I'm losing track!

In between the day trips here and there, Gaila and I cleaned out the storage room of Mom's basement, bought and planted a bunch of perennials in her garden, sorted through her financial and family history papers, and hung pictures on her walls.

The younger girls signed up for violin lessons and Gaila and I, along with the two older girls, enrolled in Pilates classes - a type of exercise regimen. We didn't perfect exercise routines, but we made some progress.

And if that wasn't enough, we swam, shopped, hosted a family barbecue, and celebrated the 4th of July and Mariya's 18th birthday. We even had an impromptu slumber party one night at Mom's house when Art was in Wisconsin.

Now that I think about it, maybe our circus had five or six rings instead of only three!

Left, Gabriela, Gaila, Larisa, Mariya and Katie before �Harry Potter� movie.
Right, Mariya, Katie, Larisa and Gabriela at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kan.

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