Off to Join the Circus

Last week, my husband and I had a wheelchair lift installed onto the back of our Jeep Grand Cherokee. This little lift can carry my power chair up off the ground, so I can have more freedom when we go shopping, out to dine or to check out a play or show.

Up until now, I’ve used a manual chair when out and about. Because I don’t have good upper body strength, I’ve had to have a pusher. Shopping and browsing trips were limited to how patient or tired my pusher was, and how long I was able to sit in my manual chair, which doesn’t have proper back support.

Dining out has become nearly impossible due to pain. Now, being able to take my power chair, I can regain command of situations, especially with clerks while shopping. No longer will I become invisible to them as they look to my pusher as my authority figure.

My first trip out using my “freedom” lift was to see the newly released movie, “Water for Elephants” at our local theater. I’ve been waiting for this movie since I read the book in 2006. It’s set in 1931 (I love the nostalgic 1930s and 1940s) and though it’s considered an historical romance, there is so much more to take from the story — especially now with visuals.

Acting in the movie are Robert Pattinson (from the Twilight series) as young Jacob, Reese Witherspoon as Marlena, Christoph Waltz (whom, surprisingly, is an official senior at 55 years old) as August and Hal Holbrook as 90-year-old Jacob. Also notable is Jim Norton as 70-year-old Camel and “little person” Mark Povinelli as Walter … both of whom are “red-lighted” off the train for their allegiance to Jacob.

The movie begins with Old Jacob standing in the rain outside the closed ticket booth of a traveling circus. We find out that Jacob walked away from the nursing home after his 71-year-old son forgot to visit him. Circus manager Charlie brings Jacob into his office to call the nursing home to come and get their runaway, until Jacob spots a photo of the 1930s Benzinni Bros circus on the office wall. When Charlie learns that Jacob was with the circus during one of the biggest disasters in the history of all circuses, he hangs up the phone and pours Jacob a drink.

The adventure unfolds as Old Jacob tells his story of hopping a circus train that was headed for disaster. The screen becomes rich with the characters and colors and atmosphere of the circus as — for the most part — the movie stays true to the book by Sara Gruen. You’ll become lost in its story and may even shed a tear when Old Jacob asks for another chance to work for a circus. Find out for yourself if Charlie finds Old Jacob viable for work at the ripe old age of 90.

As for me, I’m off to hop my “train” to see where this new lift will take me.

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