Over Thanksgiving, the editor of the Tennessee Star Journal generously offered my family and me tickets to see The Legends of China show at the Smoky Mountains Palace in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. He tagged his gift with, "But you've got to write a column about it."
Knowing I'm a difficult woman to impress, having accomplished acrobatic feats of my own these many years, keeping all my plates spinning while bent over backwards giving children pony rides, I said, "Now Jim, you know I can't write a column about it unless I see something humorous, amazing, inspiring, ridiculous, or unusual."
Well, split a nickel if I didn't experience just those things.
HUMOROUS: When the bicyclists pedaled out, there I sat, feeling thankful that theater seats don't crease adults down the middle like they do kids, who watch shows peering over their own kneecaps. And, additionally, I expressed silent gratitude that the guy in front of me, who so gentlemanly turned his baseball-cap brim to the rear when he sauntered into the theater, moved down several seats.
The finale of this segment featured 11 women and one man stacked, packed, and dangling from a two wheeler, while a young lady, with legs of steel, propelled the bike around the stage.
Then this random thought popped into my head, which doesn't justify it, but there it popped all the same, The Asian answer to clowns in a Volkswagen.
AMAZING: In another piece, just prior to accepting the crowd's applause, a beautiful, limber lady knelt, wrapped her lips around a knob bolted to the stage, and, supporting herself with her arms and mouth, raised her legs in the air. Slowly, very slowly, she bent the small of her back until the calves of her legs touched the crown of her head and her torso folded completely in half, the wrong way! Then, as if she hadn't astonished us enough, she lifted her hands and extended them on either side of her body, now only suspended by her teeth.
I can't legitimately say I've been around the world, or seen it all, or even been there, done that. But, having had in my hire a nanny from China, I can say this. I never once arrived home to find her thighs pressed to her shoulder blades and her teeth planted in one of my husband's golf clubs.
INSPIRING: My six-year-old daughter wants to run away with the acrobats. I told her she could, but, "You'll have to straighten your hair and dye it black, leave home, move to China, spend many, many years in intense training, without seeing Daddy or me, then, after that, continue to practice long hours every day. If you apply yourself, you might get to travel the world, entertaining thousands of people while you pedal twelve contortionists clinging to your bicycle."
Inspired, she chewed her macaroni and cheese and didn't mention it again.
RIDICULOUS: All the talented acrobats in the show say they have no desire to join the Olympic gymnastics team. The training is too strenuous, they argue.
UNUSUAL: The gentleman who politely turned his ball cap around when entering the building - need I say more?
Yes, I do. He also sported a goatee, wore a black T-shirt with a scorpion on the back, hollered like he watched his car make the final turn at Bristol, and pumped a fist in the air as if Axl Rose and his cronies banged out Welcome to the Jungle on the Chinese Thunder Drums.
Unusual proof that The Legends of China is definitely a show for the masses.
(Lucy Adams, syndicated columnist and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny, lives in Thomson, with her husband and four children. Contact her at email@example.com or visit her web site, www.ifmama.com.)