Just Throw the Peanut Shells on the Ground

Morris Miniature Circus: Return of the Little Big Top
Morris Miniature Circus: Return of the Little Big Top

In celebration of the opening of our new exhibition, The Morris Miniature Circus: Return of the Little Big Top, we offer circus memories from Docent Blaine Gutermuth

You never forget the sound and smells of the circus. Peanut shells are everywhere. You hear the c-r-u-n-c-c-ch as you walk. This also kicks up bits of dust, hay and sawdust. As it floats through the air. It smells like circus, but it clogs up your nose and you sneeze BIG TIME.

While the huge tent was slowly raised, my kids watched a half dozen young men, roustabouts, bagging peanuts. There was  a mound of peanuts about two feet high in the middle of the baggers. Each man/boy had a stack of red-striped bags by his side. They would reach forward to the pile of peanuts and shovel a certain number of the goobers into the sacks. A few nuts were dumped or added until the bagger was satisfied with the “fill”. You could tell they had filled a lot of these circus eats. 

Using both hands they grabbed the “ears” at the top of the sacks. They twirled the sacks in the air until they were closed and threw them into a container labeled Fresh Roasted Peanuts.

On the midway, the Barkers roasted enough peanuts so the smell would catch the crowds. When somebody bought a bag for a dime or a quarter (I can’t remember the price?), the Barker reached into the “fresh roasted “ box and handed the customer a red striped bag.

You threw the shells on the ground.