Recollections The Sword Swallower By Paul Gurney As I recall the old days, a small circus sometimes came to Warrensburg, but they generally appeared amateurish and were not very well received. They could not compete with the big circuses that came to Glens Falls. Here was real show business that could bring a strong desire to join up and run away from home. At one time an aunt took the boy to watch the "101 Wild West Ranch" de -train at a railroad siding in Glens Falls at about 4 :30 one Adirondack summer morning. As the day dawned, an exhilarating entourage of elephants, camels, horses, cowboys, Indians and caged animals were shunted about and river to the site on West St. Roust-a-bouts team 'worked the great confusion into an operable entity that opened as advertised on the splash of posters that had plastered the countryside for weeks. The boys spent the afternoon in the side shows because the "Big Top" was best appreciated at night. He was completely taken-in by the performance of the sword swallower, who thrust glistening blades all the way down the esophagus and with a great flourish breathed real fire from his lips. The act was topped off by firing a .22 rifle anchored to a spindle thrust in his throat. By gosh, these astounding achievements simply had to be explored at home! A set of short, blunt nosed scissors and a short length of metal rod were greased with vaseline. Oh! Back goes the head, the mouth and throat are aligned am behold, it wasn't so difficult, after all. A glourishing bow from the waist as he stood in front of the mirror convinced the boy that he had a promising future, like Prof. Zimbo. Next came a long shiny button hook. (Some shoes were styled with button fastenings in those days). The darned hook got caught on the boy's palate, he got scared and yanked it out, tearing a bit of soft palate. A hurried but voiceless trip to Dr. Goodman's office stopped the bleeding. "Rashness attendeth youth. " The abject shame of being exposed to such an unexplainable predicament .