Earlier today we took out the juggling gear and began a psuedo-practice session. Oh, how the hands hurt and occasionally the face, or fingers, or foot when a pin, or machete, or short knife, or bowling pin, or battle axe obeyed the call of gravity. Probably more enjoyable than the juggling was the walk down memory lane as we laughed about the old juggling days. Grandpa Sam made or shaped almost all the equipment we were using.
- The machetes were silver plated to glisten in the stage lights or sunlight.
- He cut the metal to make the short knives and made sure they were balanced for spinning during a routine.
- All of the pins were made from broom sticks and clorox bottles with colored reflector tape to make them gleam in the light.
- The rings were cut out of sturdy wood and then carefully and tightly wrapped with white medical tape. One side of the ring was colored red and the other white - this allowed for a color change during a routine. There are 2 sets of magnetized rings so you could make 3 color changes during a routine Grandpa made a nifty carrying case for each set and put round sheets of wax paper between each ring, thereby protecting the colored tape he used to decorate them.
- Then the double-bladed battle axes. He made only 3 sets. One set for Sam Gainer - who juggled all around Texas (Daniel remembers seeing him perform at Bastrop High School in the early 70's). A second set for Michael Marlin - who juggled as a partner with Cathie (the first juggling pair at the Texas Renaissance Festival in the mid-70's) and then performed in Las Vegas and many other locations around the world. The 3rd set Sam made for his wonderful son-in-law, who spun them around and wowed the crowd almost 30 years after Sam made them.
- How Sam took table legs and fashioned fire torches. He also made fire-eating torches from silver-plated marshellow pokers.
- We also recalled how Bob Blau, a vaudevillian performer, came into Cathie's life when she was 13 and started her on the trail of becoming a juggler. Cathie then taught Daniel when they were both 19 years old and in college.
- We certainly cannot leave out Grandma Joyce. She made multiple bags for carrying equipement. She sewed many costumes that we wore to perform. She went to as many performances as possible and always, always told you how great a job you did, even when you know you didnt perform your best.